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Abby Shute Merchant papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00102

Scope and Contents

The Abby Shute Merchant Papers consist of .5 linear ft. and consist of a small amount of biographical material plus typescripts of eight plays authored by Merchant, 1912-40.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1912-1940


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright ownership is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Abby Shute Merchant was born on February 3rd, 1882 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Lewis H. and Hannah van P. Merchant. After graduating from Gloucester High School, she earned an A.B. from Smith College in 1904. She then worked as an editor, first at Munsey's Magazine, 1904-06, and for Craftsman in 1909. She then edited a variety of titles for Street and Smith Publishers, 1909-12. From 1913-15, she took "an advanced course in dramatic technique" with George Pierce Baker at Harvard where she met Mark W. Reed. In 1915 and 1916 she was director and co-owner with J.A. Crafton and Mark Reed of The Prairie Playhouse, in Galesburg, Illinois, one of the first attempts to take the "little theatre movement" to rural regional theatres to use repertory techniques in community setting. She returned to New York and worked as a playwright often working collaboratively with Mark Reed. Abby and her sister Helen (Smith class of 1899) retired to Tryon, North Carolina circa 1949.

Abby Shute Merchant died in Tryon, North Carolina on July 27th, 1982.


0.438 linear feet (1 container)


Playwright. Typescripts of plays, some with explanatory notes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Abby Shute Merchant donated typescripts of seven of her plays to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1952. The eighth script came from Virginia Otis Locke in 2013.

Separated Materials

Additional materials about Abby Merchant are available in the Smith College Archives

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2015.



Abby Shute Merchant papers
Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:15-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063