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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: A/M571; M-129
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Merrill, Kenneth Griggs
Title: Papers of Kenneth Griggs Merrill, 1918-1919
Quantity: 1 folders
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Letters and photographs of aviator Amelia Earhart donated by Kenneth Griggs Merrill, business executive and writer.
Business executive and writer Kenneth Griggs Merrill was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 9, 1891. The son of John Francis and Anne Humphrey (Davy) Merrill, he was educated in Chicago public schools and took night courses at Northwestern University in creative writing and advertising.Hired in 1911 as a clerk for the M. B. Skinner manufacturing company of Chicago, he advanced through the organization, and within 22 years became its president. Merrill married Helen Shapley in 1925; they had five children. In 1928, the Skinner company moved to South Bend, Indiana, where KGM lived the rest of his life. After his presidency (1933-1960) he was chairman of the board until his retirement in 1961. Merrill wrote numerous articles on salesmanship and advertising, as well as short stories and other articles of general interest. He died on August 15, 1963.Merrill met Amelia Earhart shortly before World War I. He is the "Ken" referred to several times in Letters from Amelia, by Jean Backus (Boston: Beacon Press, 1982); see pp. 32-45. For additional biographical information see The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 51 (1969: pages 529-30).
This collection consists of two photographs, and two letters from Amelia Earhart to Kenneth Griggs Merrill. The photographs are of Merrill and Amelia Earhart paddling a canoe, and of Merrill, Earhart, and Harry Baumann standing on a shore. The two autograph letters, signed, both written from Northampton, Massachusetts (where Earhart was living with her mother Amy and sister Muriel), discuss 1) Earhart's poor health and [sinus] operation, the Armistice celebration in Canada, the peace conference, and the German character (12/26/1918, 8 pages) and 2) the difficulty of her work for Armenian relief (3/13/1919, 8 pages).