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Jean Merrill Papers

Identifier: DG0694

Scope and Contents

The collection contains typescripts for five titles by Jean Merrill (some titles with Ronni Solbert). The published materials are arranged alphabetically by title and within each title according to the probable order in which they were created.

Four of the five titles in the collection are picture books. Many of Ms. Merrill's stories teach humanistic values and how to resolve conflicts. The Black Sheep (1969), is the story of a black sheep who must learn how to find worth in his own differences. The Elephant Who Likes to Smash Small Cars (1967) is the story of an elephant who smashes cars and hurts others to get what he wants. Ms. Merrill also has an interest in fairy tales and tales from the Far East. Red Riding (1968) is the story of Little Red Riding Hood told from the perspective of a little girl named Katy. She tells the story to her friend Tony, who tries to embellish the story as she is telling it. High, Wide, and Handsome (1964) is based on a Burmese folktale. It is the story of a lazy monkey, pig, and fox who try to outwit a hound out of his fancy clothes and shoes by betting they can tell the most unbelievable story. They are surprised when the hound is able to outwit them instead. There are press sheets as well as typescripts for this title.

The fifth title in the collection is Ms. Merrill's most famous story, The Pushcart War (1964). It is a humorous story about pushcart owners who try to keep their space and overcome obstacles in a city filled with big truckers. There is a bound typescript for this title.


  • 1964-1969

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

Biographical / Historical

Jean Merrill was born on January 27, 1923 in Rochester, New York. She received her bachelor's degree in 1944 from Allegheny College and her master's degree in 1945 from Wellesley College. She worked as a feature editor for Scholastic Magazines from 1945-1949 and as an editor for Literary Cavalcade from 1950-1957. She also worked as an editor and consultant for the Bank Street College of Education from 1965- 1971. She has contributed to the "Bank Street Readers" series (Macmillan, 1964), "Adult Reader" series (R& D Corporation 1968), and the "Discoveries" series (Houghton Mifflin, 1973).

Ms. Merrill's career includes numerous awards for her writing. She has received the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award twice, once in 1963 for The Superlative Horse (1961), and again in 1965 for The Pushcart War (1964). The Pushcart War also received the Boys' Clubs of America Award in 1965. She also received the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award in 1975 and the Sequoyah Award in 1977 for the Toothpaste Millionaire (1972). Ms. Merrill also received a Fulbright grant at the University of Madras in 1952. Many of her stories have been adapted for radio, stage production, opera, and film. The Toothpaste Millionaire was aired in 1974 as an ABC Afternoon Special. The Superlative Horse was also aired nationally on NBC's Vegetable Soup.


Major Authors and Illustrators, pp. 1672-1674.


.30 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material was donated by Jean Merrill from 1967 to 1969.

Related Materials

The Ronni Solbert Papers (DG0916) have related dummies, illustrations, and proofs for some of the titles in this collection, as well as other titles by Jean Merrill (see separation list).

Separated Materials

The following items were moved to the Ronni Solbert Papers (DG0916):

Artist's sketch dummies for The Tree House of Jimmy Domino (1955), Boxes (1953), A Few Flies and I (1969), and Shan's Lucky Knife (1959).

An ozalid dummy from The Tree House of Jimmy Domino (1955).

Two illustrated page proofs from A Few Flies and I (1969).

Dust jacket with illustrated end papers for Blue's Broken Heart (1960).

Illustrations for The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars (1967), Henry, the Hand-Painted Mouse (1951), and Emily Emerson's Moon (1960).

Fourteen preliminary dust jacket illustrations and eleven preliminary title page illustrations for A Few Flies and I (1969).

Jean Merrill Papers
In Progress
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Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001