Skip to main content

Merle J. Duryea collection

 Collection — Folder: S395
Identifier: S0395

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photostats along with original postcards and other documents pertaining to Charles E. Duryea's invention of the first automobile in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1892.

On January 1, 1939, Merle J. Duryea, son of Charles J. Duryea, prepared a list of 19 documents as proof of his father being the inventor of the first automobile. These documents cover the time period from 1892 through 1937. Notes are written on the backs of most of the items, along with the stamped signature of Chas E. Duryea and "M.J. Duryea, 17 Farmington Avenue, Longmeadow, Mass." Charles E. Duryea died on September 28, 1938. Based on the two signatures of the father and son, it appears that the notes were written by the son, Merle J. Duryea. There is a list of documents numbered 1 through 19 giving the description of each item. According to Mary C. Clune, Ph.D., who wrote in 1930: "his crowning achievement was the selection of the internal combustion engine with spray carburetor and advanced electrical ignition which seems to have been brought about by his aviation studies and worked out on the motor vehicles; that his first motor vehicle made a self-propelled pulling test on April 19, 1892..."


  • 1892-1939

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Merle J. Duryea was the son of Charles E. Duryea, who died on September 28, 1938. Charles invented the first gasolene motor vehicle in America, which was able to run by its own power on April 19, 1892. Charles E. and J. Frank Duryea were brothers who lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. Frank helped his brother with his invention of an automobile.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in numberical order, which Merle J. Duryea assigned to the documents he contributed.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Merle J. Duryea on 1939/01/28.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed 2014/05/22 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield.
Merle J. Duryea collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.