Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1893 graduation photo of Mertie Laura Graham; later wife of Edwin Osgood Grover

This is a photograph of Mertie Laura Graham, Class of 1893 at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts.  After graduation, she was involved with the American Missionary Association but is probably best known as the wife of Edwin Osgood Grover, philanthropist and first "Professor of Books" at Rollins College in Florida.

From online research, hopefully correct:

Mertie Laura Graham was born 25 January 1871 at Colebrook, New Hampshire, the daughter of William Arthur Graham and Dencie (Pratt) Graham, born in Quebec and New Hampshire, respectively.

Her paternal grandparents were Asa Davis Graham and Aurilla (Dean) Graham, born in Massachusetts and Vermont, respectively.   Her maternal grandparents were Samuel and Laura (Cummings) Pratt, born in New Hampshire and Vermont respectively.

In 1900 Mertie married Edwin Osgood Grover, who was born 4 June 1870 at Mantorville, Minnesota, where his father was a Congregational minister.  His parents were Nahum Wesley Grover and Frances Elizabeth (Osgood) Grover, born in Bethel, Maine, and Bangor, Maine respectively.  After Edwin's birth, the family returned to New England, where he was educated at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont and at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

I found a brief mention of Nahum Wesley Grover in the book History of Bethel (1768-1890), by William B. Lapham, published in 1891:

Edwin's paternal grandparents were Andrew and Rachel (Mason) Grover of Bethel, Maine.  His maternal grandparents were Alvah H. and Lucinda (Richardson) Osgood of Bangor, Maine.

Edwin's sister, Eulalie Osgood Grover, was the author of the beloved children's series, The Sunbonnet Babies and the Overall Boys.

Edwin led a full life, before and after his marriage.  He traveled widely on a shoestring in the late 1890s.  He then worked for Ginn as a textbook representative and then at Rand McNally.  He started his own publishing company and later became president of the Prang Company.

His life work's direction changed,  however, when he accepted the call in 1926 to become a professor at Rollins College in Florida.

I found an interesting biography of Edwin on a Rollins College website. The couple had two daughters and a son.  They lived a life of service and philanthropy.

Sadly, Mertie was killed in a car accident in 1936, and son Graham was killed in a train accident in 1940.  Edwin died in 1965.

See a photograph of the setting of a stone in Dr. Grover's honor in the Rollins College Walk of Fame on the occasion of his 88th birthday in 1958 here.

If you have any corrections, additions or insights regarding any of the information presented here, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Mertie Graham was a tutor at the black Grammar School in Hannibal Square in Winter Park, and Edwin started a black library in her honor after she died. Black education was not a priority in Winter Park at the time, although Rollins College always had an "interracial council" that attempted to improve attitudes toward the Hannibal Square Community.

  2. Thank you for this insight, which demonstrates the couple's humanity and commitment to their fellow man.