Merkel, Andrew Doane, 1884-1954

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Merkel, Andrew Doane, 1884-1954

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Journalist and poet Andrew Doane Merkel was born in New York State in the mid 1880s. He came to Nova Scotia as a boy when his father, Anglican Minister Rev. A. Deb Merkel, took over a parish in Digby. Merkel married Florence (Tully) E. Sutherland from Windsor and had three children: J. Arthur, Peggy, and Mary. Merkel spent most of his adult life in Halifax and is known to have lived on South Park Street.

For almost forty years Merkel worked as a journalist in the Maritimes. He worked for the Philadelphia North American, the Sydney Record, and was news editor of the Saint John Standard from 1908 to 1910. In 1910 he moved to Halifax to become editor of the Halifax Echo where he remained for seven years before moving to Montreal to join the Canadian Press as Maritime News Editor in 1917. He returned to Halifax shortly thereafter, and became Superintendent of Canadian Press’ Atlantic Division from 1919-1946. By the time Merkel retired in 1946 he had covered a range of regional, national, and international stories that included Marconi’s transmission from Cape Breton, the sinking of the Titanic, war, and the first airplane flight in the British Empire. He retired to Port Royal where he purchased a large property adjacent to the Port Royal Habitation; he hoped to establish a radio station and tourist attraction in the area. He returned to Halifax after the death of his wife in the early 1950s and died in Halifax in 1954.

Merkel was also a poet and avid historian. His first book length poem, The Order of Good Cheer, wasn’t published until 1944 although he completed it in the early 1920s. His second book length poem, Tallahasse, was published the following year. Both works illustrate his interest in Nova Scotian history; The Order of Good Cheer is about Nova Scotia’s first French settlers while Tallahasse is about Halifax during the American civil war. He published two works of non-fiction as well, Letters from the Front (1914), and Bluenose Schooner (1948). Merkel was also a member of the Halifax literary group called The Song Fishermen and often hosted meetings of the group, which included fellow writers such as Charles G.D. Roberts, Charles Bruce, Kenneth Leslie, and Robert Norwood.


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