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Diaries, journals, and notebooks


Series II. Diaries, journals, and notebooks, 1832-1947, undated (#1.13-1.14, C.1.5-C.1.7, C.1.14-C.1.18, C.1.20-C.1.24), contains diaries, journals, notebooks, letters, genealogical resource material, and clippings regarding the Doane, Merwin, and Wilson families. Included in the series are a handwritten and typewritten genealogy of Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin's (1878-1965) ancestors compiled by Lydia Hammond Gale; a handwritten diary possibly belonging to Elisha Doane (1762-1832); a handwritten and typewritten journal relating to Elizabeth Adeline (Wilson) Doane's (1846-1932) family history and genealogy; a partial journal (author unknown) containing an undated account of events in Paris, France; and a collection of notebooks. Some of the notebooks contain handwritten transcriptions and/or notes referencing such works as the History of the American People by (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (U.S. President, 1913-1921); Belles, Beaux and Brains of the '60s [1860s] by Thomas Cooper De Leon; and Stevens Genealogy: Some Descendants of the Fitz Stephen Family, in England and New England by Charles Ellis Stevens. Other notebooks contain information collected over several years regarding family histories and genealogies, which focus on the descendants of the John Doane (1590-1685) and the Thomas Wilson (dates unknown) families in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia. The notebooks focused on the descendants of John Doane (1590-1685) also contain clippings, letters, and other material related to Elizabeth Adeline (Wilson) Doane (1846-1932) and William Edward Doane (1842-1923). The series is arranged alphabetically by record type; notebooks are arranged alphabetically by title and/or topic.

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Collection Name
Merwin House collection
Collection Code
1832-1947, undated
Acquisition Type
Date of Acquisition
Physical Description
Journals (1 file box, 1 carton)
Collection Type
Description Level
Credit Line
Bequest of Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965), 1966\n
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Around 1825, Francis Dresser and Clarissa (Dowd) Dresser built the late Federal-style house known today as the Merwin House in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Clarissa Dresser was from Madison, Connecticut, and moved to South Lee, Massachusetts, in 1832 to teach school. Francis Dresser died only fifteen years after marrying Clarissa, leaving her with four small children. With the introduction of the railroad in the 1850s, Stockbridge transformed from a quiet, rural community to a leisure destination for wealthy New Yorkers looking to escape the noise and congestion of the city.

Between the Civil War (1861-1865) and the First World War (1914-1918), artists, writers, financiers, and industrialists flocked to the rural hills of western Massachusetts for seasonal escapes. During this time, Stockbridge flourished; summer residents built elaborate mansions and were entertained by a golf course, casino, and other cultural attractions.

In 1875, William Edward Doane (1842-1923) and Elizabeth Adeline (Wilson) Doane (1846-1932), wealthy New Yorkers, purchased the house from the Dresser family to use as a summer retreat. The Doane family grew to include two young daughters, Elizabeth Wilson (Doane) Wilson (1871-1956) and Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965). After William Doane died in 1923, Elizabeth Doane and her daughter, Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (known as Vipont), continued to summer at the house.

Vipont married three times during her life. Her first husband, Ensign Newman K. Perry, died tragically in an accident while serving in the Navy in 1905, just two years after their wedding. In 1909 Vipont married Edward Webb, but their nine-year marriage was apparently never publicized until they divorced in 1918. In 1923, the same year her father William Doane died, Vipont married Edward Payson Merwin, a New York stockbroker with family roots in North Carolina.

Following Elizabeth Doane's death in 1932, Vipont and Edward Merwin decided to live in the house on a more permanent basis. After the sudden death of Edward Merwin in 1936, Vipont continued to live in the house for nearly thirty years. She lived there with two servants, Catherine and Albert Martinengo. The Martinengos became Vipont's close friends and companions during these years. Vipont Merwin died in 1965 and is buried in the family plot in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Record details

Material Type
journals (accounts)
Stockbridge (Berkshire county, Massachusetts)
Places (Buildings)
Merwin House (Stockbridge, Mass.)
Location Note
HGO-02-105-A-E-204 ;HGO-02-105-A-F-104

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