Collection Description 35,000 Items (164.5 linear feet) Access: Some restrictions. Contact curator. James Ingram Merrill was born in New York City on March 3, 1926, and grew up in Manhattan and Southampton. He was the son of Charles Merrill, co-founder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, and his second wife, Hellen Ingram. He began writing poems at as a child, and at age sixteen, while he was in prep school, his father had a book of them privately printed under the title Jim’s Book . Merrill’s studies at Amherst College were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945. Another book, The Black Swan , was privately printed in 1946 while he was still in college. Following his graduation in 1947, he taught for a year at Bard College.