Fonds MER - Andrew Doane Merkel Correspondence Collection

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Andrew Doane Merkel Correspondence Collection

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  • Textual record

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  • 1900 - 1953 (Creation)

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Physical description

1m of textual records, which includes 1,310 letters, 700 manuscripts, 7 notebooks, 97 newspaper clippings, and 34 photographs.

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Collection consists of correspondence written by 56 Canadian authors, poets and journalists who were acquainted with Andrew Merkel, as well as publications and programmes from the literary societies in which Merkel was a central figure.

There are a roughly equal number of typewritten and manuscript letters. Letters from Merkel are predominantly typewritten, as his handwriting is poor, but other correspondents preferred manuscript or type.

The materials range in date from the early 1900s, when Merkel was a student at King's College, Windsor, N.S., to 1953. The final letters are sympathy notes to him on the death of his wife.

Subjects of the collection include visits by poets, meetings of the Song Fishermen, and the publication of their work. Correspondence between Merkel and other Canadian Press men are also present, along with drafts of articles and discussion of reporting and managerial styles. The letters were written in locations across the western world, from Paris and London to New York, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. Some of the article drafts were written as Merkel flew over the Atlantic during the Second World War.

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The original organization of the letters is unknown. Most of the documents were already arranged in rough chronological order, suggesting that Merkel may have imposed a degree of order on the files.

In the King’s Archives, Merkel’s letters are divided into roughly 70 series, with each series corresponding to one of Merkel’s correspondents, and the correspondents represented are as follows:

Abanaki Press (1949), Angus MacAskill Boat Episode Contest (1929), Molly Beresford (1929-1945), Craven Langstroth Betts (1928), Charles Bruce (1923-1946), Ethel H. Butler (1923-1946), Canadian Authors' Association (1921-1946), Canadian Newsletter (1938-1939), Canadian Press (1918-1938), Bliss Carman (1894-1945), Horatio Crowell (1922-1928), W. A. Deacon (1929-1945), James D. Gillis (1922-1949), The Habitation (1923), Haliburton House (1939-1941), The Harp of Acadia (1907-1946), The Harpsichord (1945-1946), Annie Huestis (1915-1946), John Leblanc (1943), Kenneth Leslie (1927-1945), Dorothy Livesay (1927-1932), John David Logan (1917-1925), Frank Lowe (1939-1945), Rev. Stanislaus P. MacDonald (1930-1935), Wilson MacDonald (1936-1932), Malcolm MacLeod (1918-1942), Manuscripts (sorted by author's last name) (1913-1956), Manuscripts, various (1884-1945), William E. Marshall (1916-1923), James S. Martell (1943-1946), Stuart McCawley (1929-1936), Andrew Merkel (1917-1949), Miscellaneous typescripts (1905-1951), Miscellaneous news articles (1929-1950), Elaine Morris (1923-1953), E. M. Murray [194-?], Moses Nickerson (1944-1945), Robert Norwood (1942-1945), Nova Scotia Centre - Poetry Society Bulletins (1934), Nova Scotia Drama League (1949-2004), Nova Scotia Poets Broadcast [194-?], Seamus O'Brien (1900-1945), Order of the Good Cheer (1928-1935), Parnassus (1928-1936), Pictures, snapshots, etc (1915-1945), Elsie Pomeroy (1945), E. J. Pratt (1923-1946), Thomas Raddall (1932-1934), Silas Rand (1810-1889), John Regan (1872-1945), Forbes Rhude (1898), Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943), Leila Roberts, Theodore Goodridge Roberts (1877-1953), Samuel S. Robertson (1905-1941), Andy Ross, Frederick George Scott (1861-1944), Laura E. Smith, Norma E. Smith, Song Fisherman's First Annual Convention (1929), Song Fisherman's Song Sheet (1928-1930), Bill Stewart, Tales Told Under the Old Town Clock, Syd Thomas, John Tracy, Edwin L. Williams, Sidney Williams, and Constance Davies Woodrow (1899-1937).

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Finding aids

Finding aid for the Andrew Doane Merkel Correspondence Collection available on MemoryNS, as well as in-person in the King’s Library Archives.

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General note

Journalist and poet Andrew Doane Merkel was born in New York State in the mid 1880s. He came to Nova Scotia as a boy when his father, Anglican Minister Rev. A. Deb Merkel, took over a parish in Digby. Merkel married Florence (Tully) E. Sutherland from Windsor and had three children: J. Arthur, Peggy, and Mary. Merkel spent most of his adult life in Halifax and is known to have lived on South Park Street.

Merkel was also a poet and avid historian. His first book length poem, The Order of Good Cheer, wasn’t published until 1944 although he completed it in the early 1920s. His second book length poem, Tallahasse, was published the following year. Both works illustrate his interest in Nova Scotian history; The Order of Good Cheer is about Nova Scotia’s first French settlers while Tallahasse is about Halifax during the American civil war. He published two works of non-fiction as well, Letters from the Front (1914), and Bluenose Schooner (1948). Merkel was also a member of the Halifax literary group called The Song Fishermen and often hosted meetings of the group, which included fellow writers such as Charles G.D. Roberts, Charles Bruce, Kenneth Leslie, and Robert Norwood.

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