MERRIAM, Charles [1806-1887] -- American publisher
His father, Dan Merriam, with his uncle Ebenezer published a newspaper in West Brookfield, Mass., 1789-92, and they also conducted a printing business and book store, and became widely known as the publishers of law books, Perry's Dictionary and an octavo Bible.
Charles attended the district schools of West Brookfield and worked on the farm until 1820;
was apprenticed to William Goodwin, a printer in Hartford, Conn., 1820-23,
and on his father's death in 1823,
returned to West Brookfield and completed his apprenticeship with the firm of E. & G. Merriam.
He attended the academies at Monson and Hadley, Mass., 1826-27,
taught school in South Brookfield, and worked at his trade in Philadelphia, Pa., 1827-29,
and was a journeyman printer and afterward foreman in the office of T. R. Marvin, Boston, 1829-31.
In the latter year his brother George sold his interest in the West Brook field firm,
and with his brother Charles established the book-printing and bookselling business
of G. & C. Merriam in Springfield, Mass.
Among other books they published Webster's Dictionary,
having bought the copyright of J. S. and C. Adams, of Amherst, Mass., in 1845.
They issued the dictionary first in 1847 and sold it for $6.00,
and made such a success of the enterprise that
between 1845 and 1895 the Webster heirs received nearly $300,000 as royalties.
He retired and sold out his share in the firm in 1877.
He gave $50,000 to missions and other philanthropic subjects,
a public library and book fund to West Brookfield, his native place,
and contributed $5,000 toward the establishment of a public library in Springfield.
He was married, Aug. 11, 1835, to Sophia,
daughter of Col. Solomon Warriner, of Springfield, who died in 1858,
and secondly, to Mrs. Rachel Gray, the widow of Dr. James Harrison Gray.
He died in Springfield, Mass., July 9, 1887.
[Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans]
- Brother: ¤MERRIAM, George