Eve Merriam

Eve Merriam mingled poetry for children with devastating social criticism for adults, like her Inner City Mother Goose, which became one of the most banned books of all time. Merriam graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937 and began working as a radio writer while working on a graduate degree at Columbia. Her first book of poems, Family Circle, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1946. Born to a family that owned a chain of dress shops, Merriam parlayed her experience into editing and copyediting for Glamour magazine from 1947–1948 and in 1960 wrote Figleaf: The Business of Being in Fashion to challenge the fashion industry’s manipulation of women. Merriam wrote biographies of major historical and current political figures, from Emma Lazarus to Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as feminist social commentary. Much of her poetry was aimed at sparking a love of language in children, but her Inner City Mother Goose, which highlighted urban blight, ignited both controversy and a 1971 Broadway musical. She went on to write more plays, including the OBIE–winning The Club in 1976. Her final collection was the posthumous Embracing the Dark in 1995.


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Date of Birth

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Date of Death
Poet, Playwright, Writer, Editor

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Eve Merriam." (Viewed on January 18, 2020) <https://qa.jwa.org/people/merriam-eve>.


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