Frederick Merk

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Frederick Merk
Born(1887-08-15)August 15, 1887
DiedSeptember 24, 1977(1977-09-24) (aged 90)
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin
Scientific career
FieldsAmerican History
InstitutionsHarvard University
Doctoral advisorFrederick Jackson Turner
Doctoral studentsJohn Morton Blum, Paul Wallace Gates, Rodman W. Paul, Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Bradford Perkins, Elting E. Morison

Frederick Merk (August 15, 1887 – September 24, 1977) was an American historian. He taught at Harvard University from 1924 to 1956.


Frederick Merk was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1887.[1] He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1911 and then worked for five years at the Wisconsin State Historical Society. In 1916 he went to Harvard University to study under the direction of Frederick Jackson Turner.[2] Upon Turner's retirement in 1924, Merk took up his position with Turner's support. He taught at Harvard until 1956, and oversaw several dozen graduate students.[3]

Scholarly impact[edit]

John Morton Blum, one of Merk's graduate students after World War II, recalled of his mentor that Merk emphasized integrity, "an integrity of mind and process, of the way in which to understand and to write history, an integrity by his standards so severe that perhaps no one of his students could ever achieve it, but a quality he made so important that all of them would try."[4]


  • Thwaites, Reuben Gold; Tilton, Asa; Merk, Frederick, eds. (1912). Civil War Messages and Proclamations of Wisconsin War Governors. Madison: Wisconsin History Commission. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  • Merk, Frederick (1916). Economic History of Wisconsin During the Civil War Decade. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  • Turner, Frederick Jackson; Merk, Frederick (1922). List of References On the History of the West. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  • Merk, Frederick (1950). Albert Gallatin and the Oregon Problem; A Study in Anglo-American Diplomacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. OCLC 273263.
  • Merk, Frederick; Merk, Lois Bannister (1972). Slavery and the Annexation of Texas. New York: Knopf. OCLC 633971086.
  • Merk, Frederick; Merk, Lois Bannister (1983). Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. OCLC 681405368.
  • Merk, Frederick (1985). History of the Westward Movement. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. OCLC 470801839.


  1. ^ John Mack Faragher, "Foreword," in Frederick Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History, Revised Edition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963, 1995): xi.
  2. ^ John Morton Blum, "A Celebration of Frederick Merk (1887-1977)", The Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 1978: 446-453.
  3. ^ Faragher, "Foreword" in Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History, p. xi.
  4. ^ Blum, A Celebration of Frederick Merk, 448.

External links[edit]