Merrill, Owen P.

O.P. Merrill papers, 1926–1981.
14 boxes, plus 7 oversize boxes ( linear feet).
About Owen P. Merrill

Owen P. Merrill (1909-1989) was a noted yacht designer, yachtsman, and sailmaker. As a young man, Merrill worked for Olin Stephens at Sparkman & Stephens in Scarsdale New York. In 1931, he was a member of the crew aboard Dorade which won the Transltlantic Race and the Fastnet race. He also worked for the H.B. Nevins yard in City Island, New York. Initially a chief bosun in the U.S. Coast Guard Temporary Reserve, he skippered Edlu in the “off-shore yacht patrol” in the early part of World War II. Later, he joined the Naval Reserve and commanded a 110′ wooden subchaser. Following that assignment, he served as navigator aboard an LSD and Fleet Tanker, seeing action at Luzon’s Leyte Gulf and Lingayen Gulf, as well as Okinawa. After the war, he worked in Philadelphia for Thomas Bowes, designing small steel commercial vessels. In 1952, he went into the sailmaking business in Delanco, New Jersey , which he continued into his late 60s.

About the collection

This is a collection of the personal and professional papers of O.P. Merrill. Materials include: photographs and slides of sailboats (many of Comet class boats) with Merrill sails and photos of sailing races (specific vessels include Brilliant, Dorade, Tradescantia, Edlu, and Barfly); photo albums of 1936 Bermuda Race and the crew of Edlu; photo album of 1926-1932 New York Yacht Club cruises; photo album of model yacht and toy boat races in Bristol Harbor (and letter from N.G. Herreshoff to Merrill dated 1931); photo album of a San Francisco Chamber of Commerce cruise, 1929; a photo album from a trip to Portugal and Spain, 1954; log book of the yacht Dorade kept during the 1932 Bermuda Race; and a travel journal from Merrill’s trip to Italy in 1978. Plans in the collection include: folded plans for subchasers (designed by Luder’s Marine Construction Co. and Sparkman & Stephens), 1941-1942; rolled boat plans by Merrill and others; these include sloops, dinghies, Penguins, Dusters, Comets; plans by Merrill for various types of sails for small craft. Records related to Merril’s business include: business correspondence, including letters from vendors and customers; outgoing correspondence (1961-1965); bills and receipts; product flyers and brochures; files on materials and equipment; financial records, including tax forms, check stubs; Merrill Sails agreement of partnership (between Merrill and Charles W. Lyon, Jr.); dissolution agreement between Merrill and Lyon; a looseleaf binder of sail specifications for Merrill Sails; and several sailcloth sample books and some loose sail cloth samples. Additional materials in the collection include: personal correspondence, 1941-1943, primarily from Merrill’s parents (Mr. and Mrs. Edward K. Merrill); personal financial papers, including health records, financial investments, tax returns; Merrill’s high school diploma and grammar certificate, mid 1920s; diaries 1927-1930; address books; and ephemera. Printed materials include yearbooks for various classes of sailboats and several bound volumes of Transactions of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

  • Naval architecture–Designs and plans
  • Sails
  • Yacht racing
Types of material
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Financial records
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Ships plans
  • Ships’ logs
Reference files
  • Comet Class
  • O.P. Merrill [check -- my list says "C.P. Merrill" -- is it just a typo?]
  • Sailmakers
This entry was posted in Naval Architecture, Photo-rich Collections, Plan Collections, Sailboats, Sailboats and Sailing, Sailmaking, Schooners and Sloops, Ship Models, Sub Chasers. Bookmark the permalink.

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