Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Bobbs-Merrill mss., 1885-1957, consist of the papers of the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., located in Indianapolis, IN. Founded by Samuel Merrill, Sr. in 1850, what was initially a bookstore gradually expanded into a publishing house under his son, Samuel Merrill, Jr., and subsequent partners following the Civil War. The name went through several permutations: Merrill, Meigs, and Company; the Bowen-Merrill Company; and finally Bobbs-Merrill, named in part after director William Conrad Bobbs, in 1903. Bobbs-Merrill published works of many significant authors, including James Whitcomb Riley, Ayn Rand, Irving Bacheller, John Erskine, Ring Lardner, and L. Frank Baum. The company's vast array of publishing topics included regional literature, international publishing, cooking and etiquette, travel, business, law, children's literature, and the history of literary criticism. Bobbs-Merrill was purchased by the Howard W. Sams Company in 1959, which was in turn acquired by Macmillan in 1985.

The collection has been organized by the following series: I. Author Files; II. Editorial Files; III. Curtis Brown Files; IV. Readers' Reports; V. Promotional Files; VI. Business Records; VII. Miscellaneous Files. The largest series, Author Files, contains correspondence, promotional and production materials, readers' reports, and other items pertaining to the works of authors published by Bobbs-Merrill. Editorial Files contain statements, royalty agreements, orders, contracts, invoices, estimates, copyright, CIP forms, permissions and notes pertaining to publications. The Curtis Brown Files feature materials pertaining to Curtis Brown, Ltd., the British publishing arm of Bobbs-Merrill. A specific series of Readers' Reports is included for authors not listed in the original Author Files. The series of Promotional Files includes general promotional materials for the years 1938-1959, as well as for juvenile works. Business Records include bound Royalty Reports from 1898-1917 and Royalty Records from 1919-1939. Miscellaneous Files are divided into subseries which include: Printed Materials; Chronological Files, containing mainly correspondence received by Bobbs-Merrill for the years 1900-1959; Title Indexes; Photographs of company presidents; and Artwork for various publications.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 1964

See also the Vawter mss.

Collection size: 131,056 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.