Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Merrill mss., 1886-1916, consist primarily of letters from poet Stuart Fitzrandolph Merrill, 1863-1915, to his mother, Mrs. George Merrill (Emma Fitzrandolph (Laing) Merrill, addressed in these letters as "Dear Cornelia"). Other letters present are to "Cretin," and to Merrill's brother William, both in French and from Merrill; and two letters from Merrill's wife Claire to his sister-in-law Pauline Merrill and to his mother, both in French.

Merrill was born in New York, but spent his early years in Paris where his father served as Councillor at the American Legation from 1866-1884. Merrill spent the next few years in New York, attending Columbia Law School, but returned to France in 1887 and eventually moved there permanently. Most of his published work is in French and he is considered a member of the French Symbolist movement. In 1908 Merrill was traveling in Belgium, met the Rion family, and in the summer of that year married Claire Rion, then 18 years old. Merrill died suddenly, December 1, 1915, in Versailles.

Most of the letters were written during the years 1914- 1915, from Versailles, and relate both the literary scene in France and the war situation. They also discuss Merrill's health problems and his marital situation, in great detail. The two earliest letters, written in 1886, are to Merrill's brother, William Laing Merrill.

Other items in the collection include a signed note to Emma F.R. Merrill acknowledging the receipt of Merrill's one quarter share of the estate of George Merrill, dated February 23, 1909; a bank book, cancelled checks, and a list of Merrill's securities, 1891-1907; five snapshots of Merrill with friends, taken during the last years of his life, and a cabinet photograph of Merrill taken in London, ca. 1890; clippings from French newspapers, 1911-1914, that Merrill sent to his mother; clippings from various sources, 1915- 1916, about Merrill's death and his place in French literature; three issues of Mercure De France, 1913 and 1916; and one issue of La Plume, 1903.

Collection size: 162 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.