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John Merlin Hunter papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.169

Scope and Content

The John Merlin Hunter papers are from Hunter’s experiences working with universities in foreign countries under the auspices of either Michigan State University or the Ford Foundation. With the exception of the Family Correspondence series, the collection is professional in nature and contain little personal information. The two largest series come from Hunter’s experiences in Argentina and Brazil. The collection contains many documents written in Spanish or Portuguese.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1974


Language of Materials

Some materials are in Spanish and Portuguese.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

John Merlin Hunter was born in Champaign, Illinois on December 1, 1921. He received two Economics degrees from the University of Illinois, a B.S. in 1943 and an M.S. in 1947. Hunter received a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1949 and 1951, respectively.

Hunter served as a graduate instructor at Tufts University from 1949 to 1950. In 1950 he joined the Department of Economics at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University). From 1955 to 1956, Hunter and his family spent a year in Saigon, Vietnam as part of the MSU Vietnam Project. The family enjoyed the experience of living overseas and spent time in several other foreign countries. From 1958 to 1960, Hunter served as director of the Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Económica for the Ford Foundation at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. In July 1962 Hunter worked for one year as a program specialist for the Ford Foundation in Córdoba, Argentina. From July 1967 to July 1968 he was in Brazil working with the Brazil Project on a project in Rio de Janeiro.

Hunter met his wife, Kathryn Einbecker, and the two married in Boston in 1948. A year after moving to East Lansing, the Hunters gave birth to their first daughter, Judith, and two years later in 1953 to twin daughters, Virginia and Cynthia. The family traveled with Hunter around the world with the young girls receiving much of their early education overseas.

Hunter retired from MSU in 1984.


5 Cubic Feet

Series Description

I. Argentina, 1962-1966, 68 folders

This series contains correspondence with colleagues and with the Ford Foundation about the status of the project in Argentina. It also contains notes and reports on revising the economics curriculum in universities. The majority of the documents are in Spanish. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

II. Brazil Project, 1964-1974, 72 folders This series contains many writings and reports dealing with Hunter’s experiences in Brazil. The files relate to accrediting economics programs and the structure of Brazilian higher education. Many of the documents are in Portuguese. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

III. Colombia, 1958-1960, 1969, 5 folders

This series contains correspondence and reports dealing with Hunter’s position in the Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Económica. Many of the documents are written in Spanish. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

IV. Ford Foundation, 1966, 8 folders This series contains correspondence with Darrell Fienup, Program Director in Agriculture in the Buenos Aires office, about projects for the Ford Foundation. The series also contains several folders of materials relating to the PPEA, Projeto Pro Económica Agrária. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

V. Vietnam Project, undated, 11 folders This series contains several newsletters and informational items from the group American Friends of Vietnam. The items are mostly publications giving updates on the situation in Vietnam along with terminology sheets. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

VI. Family Correspondence, 1955-1968, 28 folders

This series contains typescripts of letters written by the family members during their stays overseas. The correspondence describes daily life, problems in getting households set up in different countries, and what the children studied at school. This series is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

Papers were donated by John M. Hunter.

Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

John Merlin Hunter Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
P. Vescio
April 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US