Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The G. & C. Merriam Company booksellers and publishers was established in 1831 in Springfield, Massachusetts by brothers George and Charles Merriam. They were the sons of Daniel Merriam of the Merriam family printers and booksellers in Worcester, Massachusetts. The G. & C. Merriam Company primarily published law books, editions of the Bible, and schoolbooks. After the death of Noah Webster in 1843 his estate sold the sheets of An American dictionary of the English language to the firm J. S. & C. Adams. Subsequently, G. & C. Merriam Company purchased the rights from J. S. & C. Adams and simultaneously gained the right to publish revisions. A new and revised edition of the American dictionary was published in 1847.
A small collection of business records regarding the G. & C. Merriam Company. The collection is comprised principally of business correspondence in addition to receipts, invoices, orders for Webster's dictionary, booksellers' promotional materials, and an insurance claim. A majority of the correspondence discusses purchase requests with book lists and shipping arrangements. Blelock & Co., E. and L. Merriam, Elizabeth Davis Truman, Merriam and Cooke, and Eratus H. Pease are notable correspondents among the several booksellers represented in the collection. Some letters are written on printed book announcements or book lists such as an 1837 letter from Chauncey Goodrich. Letters from missionaries notably J. H. Chandler and Edward M. Dodd requesting dictionaries for schools or individual converts are included. A personal note dated 1856 probably to George Merriam from L. B. Towsley concerning the American Sunday School Mission is written on one of the mission's newsletters. An insurance claim dated 1860, by San Francisco insurance underwriter John C. Hoyt provides a detailed account of twenty-eight Webster's dictionaries that sustained water damage aboard the ship Asa Eldridge en route from New York to San Francisco. There are two folders of paid receipts one concerns the G. & C. Merriam Company and the other is for Merriam, Chapin & Company. Promotional materials and price lists from other booksellers are included in the collection. Some printed ephemera are also in the collection in the form of hanging cards with measurements ranging from 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" to 10 1/2" x 6 3/4". These cards were probably the work of George Merriam, who believed in disseminating his favorite principles and ideas by distributing them to the public. The cards have biblical quotations and in some cases rules to live by such as "The art of living together." Each card has "G. & C. Merriam Springfield, Mass." printed at the bottom.
Sold by Eclectibles (Tolland, Connecticut), 2015-2017.
Sold by Robert C. Meyers (eBay), 2017.
Sold by David Katz, 2017.
A list of books wanted by the Amherst Anti-Slavery Social Library sent by Warren S. Howland to the G. & C. Merriam Company dated February 23, 1838 is housed in the oversize Miscellaneous Manuscripts. See: Misc Mss (Large) Box 3 Folder 3 for more information.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Donna Brandolisio
- Finding Aid Date
- February 2017
- Access Restrictions
This collection is available for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.