Merwin House collection

Collection Type

  • Manuscripts


1716-1985, undated

Location Note

HGO-02-105-A-E-403; HGO-02-105-A-F-104; HGO-02-105-A-E-106\n \n



Browse Collection


The Merwin House collection (MS041) contains material which reflects the personal and social lives of the Doane, Merwin, and Wilson families who inhabited the Merwin House in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The majority of the collection is comprised of genealogical material focused on Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965) and her family line. The collection is arranged in three series.

In 1966, Historic New England acquired the Merwin House in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, through the bequest of Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965). The papers within the house at the time of acquisition formed the bases of the collection: Merwin House collection (now MS041).

Update: 2013-2014
In 2013-2014, through a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13: "Family Manuscript Collections: Expanding Online Access to New England Heritage Project"), twenty-six Historic New England manuscript collections of family papers were re-evaluated and processed/reprocessed to meet current archival standards and "best practices;" corresponding finding aids were created/updated to be DACS-compliant and converted into electronic Microsoft Word document form; and the finding aids were made accessible/searchable online through the use of the Minisis M2A archival database of the Minisis Collections Management System. The Merwin House collection (MS041) was part of the grant project.

Prior to the 2013-2014 collection processing, the Merwin manuscript collection (now MS041) was comprised of two legal-size file boxes (approx. 0.83linear ft.): one box contained journals and notebooks and one box contained a collection of letters, clippings, and other documents. During processing, the collection was arranged according to record type; folder titles were created; and brief research was done to create a biographical/ historical sketch and genealogy. Preservation issues were identified and basic preservation methods were applied, as applicable; papers throughout the collection were removed from envelopes (if applicable), unfolded, flattened, and related pages were noted with corresponding information in brackets ([x-1/3], [x-2/3], [x-3/3]; and oversize material was rehoused appropriately (or materials were interleafed within file boxes), as applicable. The collection was rehoused (in acid-free folders and boxes), numbered, labeled, barcoded, and stored accordingly; subsequent accessions were tracked and noted with their corresponding items; and related collections held by Historic New England and other repositories were researched and noted. A DACS-compliant, electronic 2010-2013 Microsoft Word document finding aid was created (with corresponding paper finding aid) and entered into the collection record in the Minisis M2A online database.

NOTE: Processing/updating the collection and making the finding aid accessible online were made possible through grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13), the Bedford Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.


Descriptive Terms

application forms
black-and-white photographs
business letters
bylaws (administrative records)
clippings (information artifacts)
family papers
financial records
fliers (printed matter)
journals (accounts)
leaflets (printed works)
legal documents
letters (correspondence)
magnifying glasses
marriage certificates
membership cards
organizations (groups)
personal correspondence
research notes
stock certificates
family papers

Physical Description

Family papers: 1.42 linear ft. (1 file box, 1 carton) plus 3 oversize folders

Finding Aid Info

An electric finding aid is available through Historic new England's Collections Access Portal. A paper finding aid in the Library and Archives.

Custodial History

1966 (December 12) - Bequest of the Merwin House, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and all its contents from Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965)

Collection Code


Collection Name

Merwin House collection

Date of Acquisition


Reference Code



Correspondence; contracts, deeds, and indentures; diaries, journals, and notebooks; ephemera and memorabilia; financial records; genealogical material; membership applications and certificates; photographs; printed material; clippings; etc.; of the Doane and Merwin families of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Acquisition Type


Credit Line

Bequest of Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane) Merwin (1878-1965), 1966


Berkshire Hills (Berkshire county, Massachusetts) [hills]
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Cape Cod (Barnstable county, Massachusetts) [peninsula]
Eastham (Barnstable county, Massachusetts)
Madison (New Haven county, Connecticut)
Maryland (United States)
Massachusetts (United States)
Missouri (United States)
New York City (New York state)
North Carolina
Paris (Ville de Paris department, Île-de-France, France)
Plymouth (Plymouth County, Massachusetts)
South Lee (Berkshire county, Massachusetts)
Stockbridge (Berkshire county, Massachusetts)
Tarporley (Cheshire, England, United Kingdom)
Virginia (United States)

Record Details

Material Type

family papers

Other People

Adamson, John
Adamson, Rebecca
De Leon, T. C. (Thomas Cooper), 1839-1914
Doane, Alfred A. (Alfred Alder), 1855-
Doane, Elisha, 1762-1832
Doane, Elizabeth Adeline (Wilson), 1846-1932
Doane, James
Doane, John, approximately 1590-1685
Doane, Maria Foster, 1793-1843
Doane, William Edward, 1793-1843
Dresser, Clarissa (Dowd)
Dresser, Francis
Driver, Matthew, 1740-1798
Faveroll, Saloage
Fish, Phineas, 1785-1854
Fuller, Edward Albert
Gale, Lydia Hammond
Garter, Albert Woods
Hopkins, Stephen
Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Major, Nettie Leitch
Martinengo, Albert
Martinengo, Catherine
Merwin, Edward Payson, 1870-1936
Merwin, Marie Vipont deRiviere (Doane), 1878-1965
Perry, Newman K., 1881-1905
Reed, Eleanor Cochran
Stevens, C. Ellis (Charles Ellis), 1853-1906
Webb, Edward
Wilson, Adeline Driver (Stevens), 1819-1891
Wilson, Elizabeth (Doane), 1871-1956
Wilson, Thomas
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924

Other Organizations

Bunker Hill Monument Association
Doane Family Association of America
Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames
National Society Magna Charta Dames & Barons
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Plimoth Plantation, Inc.
Stockbridge Casino Company (Stockbridge, Mass.)
Stockbridge Library Association (Stockbridge, Mass.)


·This collection is available for research.
·Unrestricted except for #1.8, 1.15, and 1.20, which contain fragile material and require handling by Library and Archives staff only.
·Note: due to age and other conditions affecting materials, the whole of the collection requires handling with care.

Conservation Note

See Scope and Content note.

Description Level


Location Note

HGO-02-105-A-E-403; HGO-02-105-A-F-104; HGO-02-105-A-E-106

Accruals Note

Accruals are not expected.

Language Note

Materials in English; some in French.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification.] Merwin House collection (MS041). Historic New England, Library and Archives.

Processing Information

·2014 March: Originally processed by Emily Whitmore, intern; with assistance from Bridgette A. Woodall, project archivist; and Jennifer Pustz, museum historian

Rules and Conventions

This finding aid is DACS-compliant.

Historical/Biographical Note

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.


Material within MS041
"Merwin House History," accessed March 31, 2014, http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/merwin-house/merwin-house-history
Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (Ancestry.com)
Alfred Alder Doane, comp., The Doane Family and their Descendants 3rd ed. (1976), originally published in Boston, 1902



The collection is arranged in three series: Series I. Correspondence. Series II. Diaries, journals, and notebooks. Series III. Other family papers.

*Collection housing/storage code: #x.x=file box (i.e., #1.2= file box 1, folder 2); C=carton; FB=folio box; FF=fragile files; MB=multi-purpose box; OB=oversize box/folder; OV=oversize volume; VF=vertical files/flat files

Reparative Language in Collections Records

Historic New England is committed to implementing reparative language description for existing collections and creating respectful and inclusive language description for new collections. If you encounter language in Historic England's Collections Access Portal that is harmful or offensive, or you find materials that would benefit from a content warning, please contact [email protected].