Jean F. Merrill

Biographies | Jean F. Merrill

Miss Jean F. Merrill, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Earl Merrill and former resident of Lake Road, Webster, is listed in Who’s Who of American Women and Contemporary Authors as a contemporary writer. She graduated from Webster High School in 1940, Allegheny College in 1944, Wellesley College with a master’s degree in creative writing in 1945, and studied at the University of Madras, India during 1952-1953 on a Fulbright grant for research in Indian folk literature.

Miss Merrill has been assistant feature editor and feature editor of Scholastic Magazine, associate editor and editor of Literary Cavalcade, associate editor of Bank Street Readers, published by Bank Street College of Education, and has done freelance writing of film reviews, articles for children’s books, children’s stories for many magazines and a television drama “The Claws in the Cat’s Paw.”

She has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia to gather information for the children’s books which have been published by leading American publishers. Titles of her books are: Henry, the Hand-Painted Mouse, The Woover, Boxers, The Tree House of Jimmy Domino, The Travels of Marco, A Song for Gar, The Very Nice Things, Blue’s Broken Heart, Shan’s Lucky Knife, Emily Emerson’s Moon, The Superlative Horse, Tell about the Cowbarn, Daddy, The Pushcart War, High, Wide and Handsome, Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars, and Few Flies and I.

Dunn, Esther. Webster Through The Years, Webster: Webster Town board, 1971, p. 257.

Updated Information

Jean Merrill was born in Rochester January 27, 1923 to Earl and Elsie Merrill. She received the Lewis Carroll Shelf award in 1963 for Superlative Horse and in 1965 for Pushcart War. Other favorites were Black Sheep in 1969, Toothpaste Millionaire in 1972 and The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars in 1992. Most of her books feature underdogs who overcome the odds.

Her most famous book was The Pushcart War. In the introduction to the first edition published in 1964, she wrote: “We cannot have peace in the world until all of us understand how wars start.

Jean died August 2, 2012, leaving Ronni Solbert, her illustrator and companion of almost 50 years.

The Pushcart War
The Toothpaste Millionaire
The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars


  • Merrill, Jean. Pushcart War. New York: New York Review of Books, 1964, Introduction.
  • Vitello, Paul. “Jean Merrill, a Writer of Children’s Underdog Tales, Dies at 89.” New York Times (New York), August 12, 2012, Section A, p. 18.
  • Wikipedia, “Jean Merrill.” Accessed June 14, 2020. Note: this source has a list of her books