Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Merritt, Paulina T., 1831-1921



  • Existence: August 8, 1831 - June 23, 1921

Biographical Information

Paulina T. Merritt was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia on August 8, 1831 to John and Hannah McClung. She married George Merritt in 1852, and they settled in Indianapolis, where George ran a wool manufacturing business. George and Paulina were both dedicated philanthropists and advocates in the Indianapolis community. Paulina invested her inheritance in order to improve conditions for those less fortunate, building "small cottages for friendless, suffering families" in 1864. She established a house for soldier’s orphans with her husband. She was an advocate for reforming insane asylums, and was instrumental in Sarah Oren's election to office as the first state librarian in Indiana. Paulina Merritt also donated property to the Indianapolis Colored Women's Mutual Society, to be used by those who were sick or elderly. Together with Eliza Goff, Merritt founded the Alpha Home for Aged Colored Women in 1886. The home housed aging women who had survived captivity, and opened to men in 1928. Merritt was a member of and frequent visitor for the Benevolent Society, and was active in securing equal rights for women throughout her adult years.


MSP 108, Paulina T. Merritt papers on the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Movement, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paulina T. Merritt papers on the Indiana Women's Suffrage Movement

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 108
Scope and Contents The Paulina T. Merritt papers on the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Movement document Paulina Merritt’s activities pertaining to the suffrage movement in Indiana in the late 19th century.  It includes correspondence to elected officials, among them Senator Benjamin Harrison, concerning voting rights as well as correspondence with leaders in the women’s suffrage movement including May Wright Sewall. Also included in the collection is an autobiographical sketch of Merritt, as well as some clippings and...
Dates: 1860 - 1913; Majority of material found within 1880 - 1895