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Samuel Merrill collection

Identifier: L106

Scope and Contents

The collection consists principally of Samuel Merrill’s Civil War papers, including his letters to his wife and sister in Indianapolis from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina (1862-1865). Also included are his war diary (1863), orders, clothing and equipment records, as well as other official military papers (1862-1865). The collection also contains business papers of Merrill and his family (1850-circa 1900), including papers of his father, essays on Indiana’s state capitals, and the early schools of Indianapolis. Also of note, the collection includes an 1898 oration by James Cooley Fletcher in memory of William Carter White.

The oversize folder (OB151) includes two oversize letters in which Merrill writes to his wife Emily and details his experience in the Civil War with the 70th Indiana Regiment during December 1864.


  • 1850-1924


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

Samuel Merrill, Jr. was born on May 30, 1831 to Samuel (1792-1855) and Lydia Jane (Anderson) Merrill (1802–1847) in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was an Indianapolis banker, lawyer, and bookseller who married Elizabeth Douglas Young (1807–1888) in 1849 after his mother's death. Merrill had nine siblings: Jane (1819–1911), Priscilla (1821–1845), Catharine (1824–1900), Sophia Condict (1828–1830), Julia Dumont (1828–1830), Elizabeth (1833–1834), Mary (1835–1917), Anna Maria (1835–1917), and James William (1842–1843). He attended Wabash College and took over the family bookselling and publishing business, Merrill and Co., in 1855 after the death of his father. Merrill married Emily "Emma" White (1838–1920) in 1859 and they had five children, including: Charles White (1861–1920), Anna Ellsworth (1862–1951), Mary (1865–1893), Samuel III (1868–1948), and Emily Catharine (1877–1877).

Merrill enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, serving as captain of Company K, 70th Indiana Regiment under Benjamin Harrison in 1862. He was promoted to major in 1863 and lieutenant colonel in 1864, and finally mustered out on June 8, 1865 in Washington, D.C. Merrill returned to the bookselling business after the war's end and renamed it Merrill, Meigs, and Company after a few years, then Merrill, Hubbard and Co. during the 1870s. The name was changed again in 1883 to Bowen-Merrill Company. Merrill was appointed U.S. consul general to India in Calcutta (Kolkata) by President Benjamin Harrison and served in that position from 1889 to 1893. Merrill retired from the business sometime in the 1880s. The publishing company was named Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1903, after long-time director, William Conrad Bobbs. In 1900, Samuel and Emily Merrill were living with his sister Anna in Marion County, and he was working as a farmer. By 1910, the couple had retired to Long Beach, California. Samuel Merrill died on September 3, 1924 in Long Beach, California and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.


Items in the collection. "Samuel Merrill." 1850 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." 1860 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." 1870 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." 1880 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." 1900 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." 1910 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995. Accessed April 26, 2022. "Samuel Merrill." U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. Accessed April 26, 2022.

"Col. Merrill Dies on Coast." Indianapolis Star, September 4, 1924. Accessed April 26, 2022. ProQuest. "Samuel Merrill." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed April 26, 2022.

"Mrs. E. W. Merrill Dies." Indianapolis Star, March 30, 1920. Accessed April 26, 2022. ProQuest.

Wikipedia. "Bobbs-Merrill Company." Accessed April 26, 2022.


0.35 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation by Susan M. Ketcham on 1925/03/14 and Anna Merrill Foster on 1937/09/24.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Brent Abercrombie during February 2011. EAD finding aid revised 2022/04/26 by Brittany Kropf.
Samuel Merrill collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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