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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 advertisements. Also included are papers written by her husband, George Merritt.


  • 1860 - 1906
  • Majority of material found within 1880 - 1895


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Materials in this collection are in the public domain.

Biographical or Historical Information

Paulina T. Merritt was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia on August 8, 1931 to John and Hannah McClung.  She married George Merrit in 1852, and they settled in Indianapolis, where George ran a wool manufacturing business. Paulina invested her inheritance in order to improve conditions for those less fortunate, erecting “small cottages for friendless, suffering families” in 1864.  With her husband, she established a House for Soldier’s Orphans.  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.  Merritt member and frequent visitor for the Benevolent Society, and was active in securing equal rights for women though out her adult years.


0.226 Cubic Feet (1 legal-size half-width manuscript box)


This collection includes correspondence and other materials documenting Paulina T. Merritt’s involvement in the Indiana women’s suffrage movement.


Correspondence has been grouped as “incoming” or “outgoing” and then arranged choronically.  Other materials have been grouped according to format or content.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Lori Birrell, Manuscript Librarian at the Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester, on February 6, 2012.

Processing Information

All materials have been placed in archival housing.
Paulina T. Merritt papers on the Indiana Women's Suffrage Movement
Under Revision
Stephanie Schmitz
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description was first completed 2012-09-03.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States