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Merk Gives Last Lecture Of Career This Morning

To Retire After 39 Years


Frederick Merk will give his last Harvard College lecture this morning in Harvard Hall at 9 a.m.

Merk, Gurney professor of History and Political Science, will retire in June, he has taught American History here for 39 years, and plans to engage in research and writing after his retirement.

History 162, his course on "The Westward Movement," will not be given next year. The course, popularly known as "Wagon Wheels," follows the frontier and its influence on Americans.

Michael Karpovich, Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, whose retirement was previously announced, will also give his last lecture this morning.

Frank B. Freidel, Jr., professor of History, will give both History 61a and 61b next year. Since 1922 Merk had given the first part of the course, "The Growth of the American Nation." He shared the course for many years with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Francis Lee Higginson Profesor of History, emeritus.

Taught with Turner

A slight figure, with a thin voice, Merk is well known for his precise, factual lectures, lightened by occasional whimsical jokes.

In 1922 Merk joined Frederick Jackson Turner in the "Westward Movement" course. Some thirty yers erlier Turner had introduced the concept of the "frontier" as the dominant factor in American History.

Like Turner, a native of Wisconsin, Merk did his early work in history there and came to the University for graduate study under Turner in 1916. He was appointed a tutor at that time.

Attracted Many Nieman Fellows

Many of his students later became professional historians, and his course has attracted three-fourths of the journalists on Nieman Fellowships who have attended the University during the past two decades.

As a teacher he has had a vast personal influence on many men who have studied with him, and nearly every book dealing with the West lists Merk among the acknowledgements.

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