Monday, June 10, 2013

Dr. Charles Hope Merz, Physician, Historian and Author

Dr. Charles Hope Merz was a leading physician in Sandusky, beginning his practice in Sandusky in 1899. He was the son of Karl Merz, well known music educator who taught at Oxford Female College and Wooster College. Charles Hope Merz was born in Oxford, Ohio on November 7, 1861. He graduated from the Western Reserve College of Medicine in 1885. An article in the November 26, 1900 issue of the Sandusky Daily Star reported that Dr. Merz had just placed an X-Ray machine in his office. At the time, it was the only apparatus of its kind in Sandusky. The machine was powered by six storage batteries. Sandusky residents were amazed that the doctor could see through one’s flesh to view their bones. The x-ray machine was expected to be helpful in surgical operations, and in locating foreign objects in patients.

In 1911, Dr. Merz was instrumental in arranging for Harry Atwood making a landing in his airplane in Erie County. Besides being an aviation enthusiast, he was very fond of driving his automobile. The September 16, 1936 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Dr. Merz had purchased his first automobile on June 7, 1904, and he had been driving for 32 years. The Erie County Auto Club believed that Dr. Merz held the record for the number of years of automobile driving in Erie County, Ohio in 1936.

Dr. Merz also was an outstanding Masonic scholar who wrote several books on that and other subjects, and served as editor of the Masonic Bulletin in Sandusky for nearly 28 years. He was a charter member of the National Masonic Research Society of Iowa, and an honorary life member of the Cincinnati Masonic Library Association. In 1892 Dr. Merz wrote a book about the history, etiology, diagnosis and treatment of influenza.  He also was a member of the National Association of Railway Surgeons. Dr. Merz married Sakie Emeline Prout, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the Sandusky Library, in 1892. Dr. Charles H. Merz died on October 14, 1947. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery.

The son of Dr. and Mrs. Merz, also named Charles Merz, was editor of the New York Times from 1938 until 1961. His editorials against American neutrality in the years prior to World War II and in opposition to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s affected the way many Americans viewed current events of the time. Charles Merz also authored three books: Centerville, U.S.A., The Great American Bandwagon, and The Dry Decade.  Charles Merz, the author and editor, died in New York City on August 31, 1977.

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