Monday, April 09, 2018

Our Founder in 1942

Eight years after launching the Merrill Anderson Company, our founder was on a roll: he was elected president of the New York Financial Advertisers.
Good looking, wasn't he?

That wasn't Merrill's first appearance in The New York Times. Using Times Machine we found this item in an April 29, 1923 report on an AAU gymnastic meet.

Indian club swinging, popular in Victorian times, was losing favor in the 1920's, but it endured long enough to be a gymnastics event at the 1932 Olympics.

Our founder may not have been a gold medal club swinger, but he was a champion high jumper. And he captained the track team at Amherst.


Jim Gust said...

Great catch.

This is why blogs are so much better than social media. They have permanence.

Eileen Broer said...

I recall Merrill Anderson as a consummate gentleman. I realize in looking back that he was the first true gentleman of the Eastern elite class that I, a girl from a working class family in Philadelphia, had the pleasure of meeting.

My first job after graduating from the College of Mt. St. Vincent in 1969 was Executive Secretary to the EVP and Creative Director (Dan Hodges) at Merrill Anderson Company. Dan ran the advertising department, which produced print and radio ads for financial institution clients. Someone else ran the publications arm of the business.

The offices were located on the first two floors of Mr. Anderson's townhouse at 132 East 39 St in Manhattan. Merrill was retired by then and he lived on the top (third) floor. He took a liking to me and invited me up to visit him in his home a few times for a chat.

I recall being awed that the walls of his home were covered in books. He even gave me one of them, which I still have -- "Women are Here to Stay". sub-titled, "The Durable Sex in its Infinite Variety Through Half a Century of American Life" by Agnes Rogers, published twenty years earlier, in 1949. It was yellowed and falling apart even then, but Mr. Anderson knew I was leaning into the newly defined direction of being a "women's libber" and would appreciate having it. I have taken this book along with me through many moves since then, and it went into storage when I lived in China for a few years. I am loath to part with it, as it puts me in mind of the man who recognized my potential and nurtured it at the start of my career. (I went on to become the first woman VP of three Fortune 500’s.)

I got married while I worked at Merrill Anderson, and Mr. Anderson impressed and surprised me by gifting me with a set of beautiful blue linen place mats with matching napkins from Saks Fifth Avenue.

The company experienced a major transition in 1972 when we moved out of Merrill's brownstone and into a suite of offices on one floor of One Park Avenue. I did not see Merrill again after that.

One more item of interest re Merrill Anderson Company: When I was promoted to Media Director in 1971, I was told that Joseph Heller had held that job previously, and that he wrote his novel, “Catch 22”, while he was working at Merrill Anderson.

Eileen Broer,