Merwin, Decie

About the author

Decie Merwin (1894–1961) was an American author and illustrator, born Emma Martine Merwin in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Her family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in the early 1900s, and Decie was educated at Knoxville High School, later studying art at the New School of Design in Boston. She began drawing when she was very young, and said: “I used to carry a pad or a notebook wherever I went, so that I could sketch whatever caught my fancy.”

She moved to New York in 1925, and worked as an illustrator of children’s books. She illustrated at least 68 books, and wrote several of her own. Her husband, Jack Bechdolt, whom she married in 1934, was an author, and with him, she wrote and illustrated Dulcie and her Donkey (1944). She also wrote children’s books of her own on non-horsey subjects, including Parachute Pup and Pinktails.

She wrote two horse stories, Robin and Mr Jones (1953) and Somerhaze Farm (1958, reprinted in the UK as Holiday Summer). Holiday Summer is set in England, where Decie lived for some months. She developed a particular fondness for Kent and Sussex, and it was here that she presumably acquired the background for Holiday Summer, combining it with riding and horses, which she had loved since a child.

Jack and Decie lived in New York for many years.

Finding the books
Holiday Summer is very easy indeed to find, and cheap in the UK. Under its original name,
Somerhaze Farm, the book can be found reasonably easily in the US, though most copies are
ex library. Robin and Mr Jones is not easy to find. Dulcie and Her Donkey is rare, and often
expensive.

Links and sources
Many thanks to Alexina Van Pelt for supplying all the biographical information, and the photographs.
Photographs: Decie in 1917; Decie and Jack in 1934

The back of this picture said it was their wedding day – Decie & Jack Bechdolt, 1934
Decie Merwin – 1917

Bibliography (horse books only)


Dulcie and Her Donkey

(Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin)
EP Dutton, New York, 1944

Robin and Mr Jones

Oxford University Press, New York, 1953, hb, illus the author
(NB this is listed as being printed in New York – presumably an overseas office of OUP).

“Here is a horse story in which everyone has a horse. But mostly it is about eleven-year-old Robin Reed, to whom the prospect of spending the summer with her maiden aunt seemed very dull indeed. That is, until one day when she fell out of the apple tree just in front of a pony and his startled rider. The pony was introduced as Mr. Jones, and when Robin was asked if she would like to ride him, it seemed as though greater happiness were not possible – until she discovered that riding real horses is not the same as riding the merry-go-round ones!”   

Holiday Summer

First printed as Somerhaze Farm
Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1958
Collins Seagull, London, 1960
Children’s Press, 1966, 1968
Reprinted 1968

Mary Lee Wade, from Virginia, wasn’t keen on the idea of an English holiday on a farm, but the Randall family soon change her mind.

Written and illustrated by Decie Merwin

Parachute Pup
J. B. Lippincott Co, New York, 1941
Welcome, Child
Oxford University Press, New York, 1944
Time for Tammie
Oxford University Press, London, New York,1946
Pink-Tails
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1950
Rafferty Red
Abelard Press, New York, 1952
Robin and Mr. Jones
Oxford University Press, New York, 1953
Where’s Teresa?
J B Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, PA ,1956
Mostly the Meldons
J B Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1957
Somerhaze Farm (Holiday Summer)
J B Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1958
Scottish Treasure Mystery
J B Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1960

Illustrated by Decie Merwin

St. Nicholas, July 1918
Various, The Century Company 1918
Ernest Poole: The Hunter’s Moon
The Macmillan Co, New York, 1925
Rusticus: Bucolic Beatitudes
Little, Brown & Co Boston, Mass, 1925
Unknown: Small Wares Being Marked Down
Little, Brown & Co, Boston, Mass, 1925
Louise Connolly: Mrs. Chatterbox and Her Family
The Macmillan Co, New York,1927
MacGregor Jenkins: Puttering Round
Little, Brown & Co, Boston, Mass, 1927
Nancy Byrd Turner: Magpie Lane
Harcourt, Brace & Co, New York, 1927
Beulah Folmsbee: Guki the Moon Boy and Other Plays
Harcourt, Brace & Co, New York, 1928
Rose Ryleman: Gay Go Up
Methuen, London, 1929
Margery Gordon: A Magic World, Compilor Decie Merwin
Appleton & Co, New York 1930
Mabel Louise Robinson Blue Ribbon Stories
Periodical/Newspaper The Macmillan Co. New York 1932
Rose Ryleman: The Easter Hare, and Other Stories
Methuen London, England 1932
Warren W. Read: Comparative Essays Present and Past
Nobles and Noble New York 1933
Julia Letheld Hahn: Everyday Friends – The Child Development Reader
Houghton Mifflin Boston, Mass 1935
Katharine Adam:s Scarlet Sheath The Macmillan Co. New York 1936
Ruth Simrall Mackoy: Cabin in the Sunshine
Johnson & Hardin, Cincinatti, OH 1936
Sir Walter Scott: Ivanhoe
Harcourt, Brace & Co, New York, 1936
Jack Bechdolt: John’s Dragon
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1937
Jack Bechdolt: Bandmaster’s Holiday
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1938
Jack Bechdolt: Saturday Magic
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1940
Jane Quigg: Betsy Goes A Visiting
Oxford University Press, London, New York 1940
Eleanor Weakley Nolen: The Cowhide Trunk
Oxford University Press, London, New York 1941
Jack Bechdolt: The Vanishing Hounds
Oxford University Press, London, New York 1941
Ethel Calvert Phillips: Brian’s Victory
Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston, Mass, 1942
Katharine Haviland Taylor: Nursery Night
J B Lippincott Co, New York, 1942
Katherien Wigmore Eyre: Susan’s Safe Harbor
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1942
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Dulcie: or Half-a-yard of Linsey-wool
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1943
Katherine Wigmore Eyre: Spurs for Antonia
Oxford University Press, London, New York, 1943
Ida Berry Riggs: Little Champion
The Macmillan Co, New York, 1944
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Dulcie and Her Donkey
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1944
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Dulcie Sews a Sampler
E P Dutton & Co, Inc. New York, 1945
Mildred Lawrence: Susan’s Bear – a Story Parade Picture Book
Grosset & Dunlap, 1945
George H. Shapiro: Seventeen to Sing
Oxford University Press, New York, 1946
Ivy O. Eastwick: Fairies and Suchlike
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1946
Werner: Wings of the Morning
Grosset & Dunlap, 1946
Jack Bechdolt: Trusty: The Story of A Police Horse
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1947
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Fairy Kittens
Oxford University Press, New York, 1947
Jeanette Perkins: Brown Little Book of Bedtime Songs & Prayers Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Nashville, TN, 1947
Rebecca Caudill: Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story)
John C. Winston Co, Philadelphia, PA ,1947
Walter R. Brooks: Jenny and the King of Smithia
Grosset & Dunlap, New York, 1947
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Dulcie and the Gypsies
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1948
Jack Bechdolt: Greg Sheridan, Reporter
E P Dutton & Co, Inc, New York, 1949
Rebecca Caudill: Schoolhouse in the Woods (Fairchild Family Story) (v. 2), Winston Co, Philadelphia, PA ,1949
Barbara Nolen: Luck and Pluck
DC Heath and Company, 1950
Edna Louise Sterling: English is Our Language No 4
DC Heath, Boston, Mass, 1950
Margaret Joyce Baker: Four Farthings and a Thimble
Longmans, Green & Co, New York, 1950
Margaret Joyce Baker: A Castle and Sixpence
Longmans, Green & Co, New York, 1951
Rebecca Caudill: Up and Down The River (Fairchild Family Story)
Winston Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1951
Robin Palmer: Wise House
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1951
Sara Westbrook Brewton, Ed: Christmas Bells are Ringing
The Macmillan Co, New York, 1951
Jack Bechdolt & Decie Merwin: Oliver Becomes a Weatherman
Julian Messner, Inc, New York, 1953
Elizabeth Hoffman Honness: Mystery of the Diamond Necklace
J B Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1954
Katherine Niles: The Angel in the Hayloft
Dutton, New York, 1954
Schmitt/Hannon: First Picture Dictionary of Little Catholics Catechetical, 1955
Alvena Seckar: Misko
Oxford University Press, New York, 1956
Louis Untermeyer: The Singing World
Harcourt, Brace & Co, 1958
Rebecca Caudill: Schoolroom in the Parlor (Fairchild Family Story)
Winston Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1959
Ivy O Eastwick: Traveler’s Joy, Poems
David McKay, New York, 1960