Robert Merriman Plaque

In honor of the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, I believe a plaque should be placed outside the former residence of Robert Hale Merriman, a Berkeley graduate student during the early 1930s who was among the first Americans to lead and give his life in the fight against Fascism.
During the Spanish Civil War, Merriman was the commanding officer of the Lincoln Battalion, which consisted of over 3,000 American volunteers. He disappeared after a battle in April 1938, presumably executed by General Francisco Franco's Nationalist forces. Merriman was also notably the inspiration for Robert Jordan, the protagonist of Ernest Hemingway's famous novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.
While attending Cal shortly before leaving for Spain, Merriman lived in an apartment just north of campus at 2517 Virginia Street. I found this address in both the official 1933 Register of Students and a memoir by Marion Merriman, Robert's wife and then-roommate. After visiting the building in person, I have confirmed that it perfectly matches Marion's vivid description.
I think a plaque outside this building is certainly in order to commemorate one of the most heroic Berkeley residents in history. Both the property owner and the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project have agreed to assist with the project and have estimated that the plaque will cost between $950-$1000 to manufacture and install.


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Milton Zerman 
Berkeley, CA
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