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Special Collections: Guide to the Merle B. Shaw Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
January 2004
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Merle B. Shaw Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1914-1975 (inclusive); 1922-1950 (bulk).
Provenance: Unknown.
Collection Number: MS 460.
Box Numbers: 1 (formerly Boxes 1386-1387).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of one archival record carton.
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free record carton. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed. Photographs have been housed in polypropylene sleeves and remain with the relevant documents.
Preferred Citation: Merle B. Shaw Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
The collection contains research materials and papers of Merle B. Shaw, a paper technologist whose career was spent at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C.
Merle B. Shaw was born in Windham, Maine, in 1891. He graduated in 1910 from Windham High School and in 1911 from North Yarmouth Academy. He then enrolled in the University of Maine at Orono, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1915. He first worked in Massachusetts on heavy chemicals, TNT, and other explosive materials. He then went to Columbia University to work briefly with Professor Ralph H. McKee, a former head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Maine, on various war problems.
Shaw served in the Chemical Warfare Service in World War I, working on poison gases and in ordnance on explosives. Following his discharge from the Army, he went to work in 1919 for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington. There he worked for the rest of his career in the Paper Section, doing research on paper and paper products. He was especially involved in developing paper for use in currency and research on paper resistance to wear and weather exposure, especially in war maps for use in World War II. He was the author or co-author of numerous articles published by the Bureau of Standards or in paper trade journals.
Merle Shaw retired from the Bureau in 1949. He returned to Maine in 1975 and died in 1977.

Scope and Content Note
The collection consists primarily of drafts and published articles reflecting Shaw’s long career in the Paper Section of the National Bureau of Standards.
The papers were unarranged at the start of processing so the processing archivist imposed an order on the materials. The collection opens with a small group of general materials from Shaw’s career, including his thesis, copies of talks he gave on papermaking, research articles by Shaw and others, and a bound volume of Shaw’s scientific papers, 1919-1950. Former colleagues at the Bureau of Standards presented this volume to him in 1951.
The bulk of the collection is made up of Shaw’s files on various research topics with which he was involved. The emphasis is on use of alternative materials to make paper, paper used in currency, and strength and durability of papers for various uses. The files are arranged in rough chronological order and follow the order of the list of articles written by Shaw contained in Folder 5. The files contain research proposals for publication by the Bureau of Standards, research authorization requests, drafts of articles by Shaw, published articles on the topic, and correspondence among colleagues. Some files contain samples of papers, experimental papermaking materials, and photographs.
Box List
Box 1
1 Isoureas from phenols and cyanamides: a thesis submitted ... for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering by Merle Branard Shaw, University of Maine, 1915
2 Talks on papermaking, 1920’s, 1930’s
3 Research articles on paper by Shaw and others, 1923-1975
4 Scientific papers of Merle B. Shaw, 1919-1950
5 Publications of which Merle B. Shaw has been author or co-author
6 Correspondence, 1936-1939, re installation of paper machine at University of Maine
7 Experimental production of roofing felts, 1920’s
8 Research papers on various fibers as sources of paper, 1922-1952
9 Rubber latex in paper, 1923-1924
10 Comparative study of paper fillers, 1924
11 Hydrogen ion concentration as means for controlling acidity in papermaking processes, 1925-1926
12 Alternative materials for papermaking: esparto grass, used mail pouches, etc., 1925-1927
13 Research papers, etc., on currency paper, 1926
14 Caroa fiber as paper material, 1926-1927
15 Currency paper research, 1926-1929
16 Redeemed paper currency as source of paper, 1927
17 Papermaking tests on stock obtained from printed waste paper, 1927-1928
18 Currency paper research, 1927-1928
19 Paper for currency and postage stamps, 1928, 1941
20 Currency paper, 1930
21 Rayon as a papermaking material, 1930
22 Commercial caseins, 1930-1933
23 Paper deterioration and library storage, 1931-1934
24 Sulphite mill acid plant, 1914; Effects of sulphur dioxide on paper, 1932
25 Optical characteristics of paper, 1935
26 Paper for war maps, 1937-1946
27 Tests of raw cotton as a papermaking material, 1939-1940
28 Experimental manufacture of base papers ... to indicate condition of stored explosives, 1941
29 Experimental currency paper, 1941-1945
30 Melamine resins in paper, 1943-1945
31 Strength bonding, strength development: lithographic papers, 1945-1948
32 Offset papers made from fibers: lithographic papers, 1947-1950
33 Guar, 1945-1949
34 Light sensitive papers, 1946-1948
35 Watermarks, undated

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/23/2015
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