Manuscript Group 220
MERLE H. DEARDORFF COLLECTION
19.5 cu ft.
Merle Henry Deardorff (b. 1890, d. 1971), was a Warren, Pennsylvania banker
who developed a lifelong interest in American Indian culture. A 1911 graduate
of Dickenson College, Deardorff developed close relationships with Senecas living
on the Cornplanter Reservation in Warren County and regularly corresponded with
such contemporary authorities on Indian culture and folklore as William N. Fenton,
Donald H. Kent, George S. Snyderman, Paul A.W. Wallace, and John Witthoft. The
collection consists primarily of copies of early maps, research notes, published
articles, correspondence and transcripts of diaries and journals pertaining
to American Indian life and culture from the colonial period to 1970. There
are extensive materials relating to the Senecas of the Cornplanter Grant of
western Pennsylvania, the Kinzua Dam controversy, and to such prominent Seneca
leaders as Cornplanter, Governor Blacksnake, Handsome Lake, and Red Jacket.
Additional Deardorff correspondence will be found among the George S. Snyderman
Papers (APS Manuscript Collection 51) and the William N. Fenton Papers (APS
Manuscript Manuscript Collection 20), both held by the American Philosophical
Society. For related types of materials at the Pennsylvania State Archives,
see also the Paul A.W. Wallace Collection (Manuscript Group 192) and the Donal
H. Kent Collection (Manuscript Group 395).