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Merrill-Palmer Institute: Photographs and Audio-Visual Materials

 Collection
Identifier: UAV002602

Scope and Content

The Merrill-Palmer Institute: Photographs and Audio-Visual Materials reflect the main functions of the institute throughout its history as an independent entity and almost twenty years into its relationship with Wayne State University. The bulk of the materials center on the operation of the Early Childhood Center (formerly the Merrill-Palmer Nursery School), but also cover its programs and services, teaching and research missions, and the Institute's physical environment.

Series 1: Photographs, 1920s-1990s Contains paper prints (8x10, 4x5, 2x3, and contact sheets), film negatives, film slides, and glass lantern slides. Documents all aspects of operation.

Series 2: Scrapbooks, 1920s-1965 Documents primarily through photographs, the Merrill-Palmer Camp for Boys and Girls established in 1930. Also documents nursery school activities; teaching aspects of the Institute, including international students and faculty; community programs; and research (restrictions apply).

Series 3: Audiovisual recordings, 1946-1986 Audio recordings of various programs and conferences, including a talk given by Margaret Mead, radio advertising spots, and interviews and observations with children (restrictions apply). Video recordings and films mainly document programs and services, such as outdoor camp life, field trips, and another talk given by Margaret Mead.

Series 4: Architectural Plans and Drawings, 1890-1968. Blue-line, sepia-line, and blueprints documenting site plans, floor plans, mechanicals, and interior pieces for additions, remodels , and new construction for Merrill-Palmer buildings. Includes the Freer House, Palmer Building, dormitories, as well as some other Detroit area commercial and residential architecture.

Series 5: Memorabilia, 1920s - 1960s [RESTRICTED] Contains important objects related to Merrill-Palmer Institute's founding, building operations, teaching, and research.

Dates

  • 1920 - 1999
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1981

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Patrons must make an appointment with the AV Department prior to visiting.
Due to the fragile and/or confidential nature of some of the material, access is at the discretion of the AV archivist and Director. Some, but not all, restrictions have been noted in this guide.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.
For image reproduction, contact the AV Department. Researchers must sign a restricted use statement.

History

The Merrill-Palmer Institute was founded in 1920 by an endowment from Lizzie Merrill Palmer. Throughout its 61years of independent operation, the Institute was greatly respected and internationally known as one of the top institutions for education, training and research in Child Development. Merrill-Palmer staff conducted and published studies on families and children, operated a nursery school, children’s camps and clubs, offered marriage and family counseling, and performed community service work. The Institute accepted undergraduate and graduate students from the U. S. and internationally and taught courses and provided research and laboratory experience unavailable elsewhere. In 1981, the Institute came under the auspices of Wayne State University, merging in 2005 with the Skillman Center for Children to become the Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development.

Extent

27 Linear Feet ((2 MB, 2 SB, 8 OS, 2 slide boxes, 10 photo boxes, 7 drawers), 1 item)

Abstract

The Merrill-Palmer Institute was founded in 1920 by an endowment from Lizzie Merrill Palmer. Throughout its 61 years of independent operation, the Institute was greatly respected and internationally known as one of the top institutions for education, training and research in Child Development. Merrill-Palmer staff conducted and published studies on families and children, operated a nursery school, children’s camps and clubs, offered marriage and family counseling, and performed community service work. The Institute accepted undergraduate and graduate students from the U. S. and internationally and taught courses and provided research and laboratory experience unavailable elsewhere. In 1981, the Institute came under the auspices of Wayne State University, merging in 2005 with the Skillman Center for Children to become the Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development.

The Merrill-Palmer Institute: Photographs and Audio-Visual Materials reflect the main functions of the institute throughout its history as an independent entity and almost twenty years into its relationship with Wayne State University. The bulk of the materials center on the operation of the Early Childhood Center (formerly the Merrill-Palmer Nursery School), but also cover its programs and services, teaching and research missions, and the Institute's physical environment.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series by format.

Material within each series is not arranged (unless otherwise noted), so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes/locations within each series.

Series 1: Photographs (Drawer 1-6, Box 7-23). The bulk of the prints and film negatives are arranged by sequential number given by the donor. Some of the unnumbered prints and negatives are arranged by topic.

Series 2: Scrapbooks (Box 24-28). Arranged by size and topic.

Series 3: Audiovisual Recordings (Box 29)

Series 4: Architectural Plans and Drawings(Drawer 30). Arranged loosely by job.

Series 5: Memorabilia (Box 31, and 1 item)

Other Finding Aids

A subject and name card index to the numbered photographic negatives and prints is available on site in the AV Department.

A card catalog from the Kresge Historical Library Records refers to some of the photographs in the collection and is available on site with prior permission.

Acquisition

The records of the Merrill-Palmer Institute were placed at the Walter Reuther Library in the 1980s and early 1990s, beginning in 1982.

Other Copies

Digital copies of a small number of images from the early years of the Early Child Center and outdoor camps can be found online.

Related Materials

Merrill-Palmer Institute collections.

Portraits of Elizabeth (Lizzie) Merrill-Palmer and Thomas W. Palmer are part of the collections of the Detroit Historical Society.

Separated Materials

Icon was transferred to the vault.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Deborah Rice on July 19, 2019.
Title
Guide to the Merrill-Palmer Institute: Photographs and Audiovisual Materials
Status
Completed
Author
Processed and finding aid written by Deborah Rice.
Date
2019-07-19
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA