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Merilyn B. Reeves papers

 Collection 0377-MDHC

An environmental activist, Merilyn B. Reeves (b. 1931) was active in various organizations including the League of Women Voters of Maryland, Lung Association of Southern Maryland, and the Friends of Yamill County (Oregon) between the 1960s and 2011. Her work included testifying in front of Congress for the Clean Air and Safe Water Acts, working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Chesapeake Bay Program, and leading the advisory council for the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Site (Washington State). Reeves was an advocate for a well-informed public and actively worked at increasing public participation in politics and environmental work. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches, certificates, publications, newspaper clippings, articles, photographs, and videotape footage.


  • 1962-2016
  • Majority of material found within 1971-2002

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


2.00 Linear Feet (One record storage box and one file storage box)

Scope and Contents

The Merilyn B. Reeves Papers cover the period from 1962 to 2016; the bulk of the materials date from 1971 to 2002. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches, publications, newspaper clippings, articles, photographs, and videotapes related to Reeves's work as an environmental activist included serving as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Lung Association of Southern Maryland, the Friends of Yamhill County, the Hanford Nuclear Advisory Board, and the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Biographical / Historical

Merilyn B. Bronson Reeves was born in 1931 near Burley, Idaho. She attended Utah State University where she met her husband of 61 years, Henry Milton “Milt” Reeves. She worked as a teacher until the birth of her first child. Her husband’s work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caused the family move to Texas, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Maryland. In South Dakota, Reeves took an interest in conservation issues and joined the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. She also received her Master’s in Education from Northern State Teachers College (now Northern State University) in 1961.

In 1967, the family moved to Laurel, Maryland. While living in Maryland, Reeves was very active in the environmental movement. Through the League of Women Voters of Maryland, she acted as a lobbyist in the state legislature and served on a number of different advisory capacities, including chairing Maryland’s Hazardous Substances and Low Level Nuclear Waste Council and the Pauxent River Public Advisory Committee on water quality planning. She was a member of the League of Women Voters National Board, President of the Lung Association of Southern Maryland, and a member of the American Lung Association National Board. Some of the honors that she has received include Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay by Maryland Governor Harry Hughes, USEPA Citizen’s Excellence in Community Involvement, and an achievement award by the Natural Resources Council of America.

In 1983, Milt and Merilyn retired to Amity, Oregon, where she continued her environmental work by joining the Friends of Yamhill County and the Hanford Nuclear Site Advisory Board.


The papers were arranged into four series.

Series 1
Autobiography and Biography
Series 2
Series 3
Subject Files: Citizen Action on Environmental Issues
Series 4
Photographs and Audiovisual Materials

Processing Information

The Merilyn B. Reeves Papers were processed in April 2018. All metal paper clips were removed. Photographs were separated and put into plastic sleeves. Newspaper clippings were separated using acid-free paper and if a photocopy was available, the originals were discarded. The papers were placed in acid-free folders and in acid-free boxes. Two books were removed, one cataloged in Marylandia book collection, the other cataloged in Special Collections

Guide to the Merilyn B. Reeves papers
Processed by Nancy Harrison Gage.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
The finding aid was sponsored by Merilyn B. Reeves.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742