In the person of “Robert Merry,” Samuel Griswold Goodrich welcomed readers to Robert Merry’s Museum; it set the intimate tone for the magazine. Because “Uncle Robert” referred to potential readers as those “who have black eyes, and those who have not black eyes,” readers often referred to their own eye colors when they wrote to the magazine’s popular letters column.
“Address to the Reader” (from Robert Merry’s Museum, January 1841; p. 1)
Robert Merry, surrounded by children

Kind and gentle people who make up what is called the Public, permit a stranger to tell you a brief story. I am about trying my hand at a Magazine; and this is my first number. I present it to you with all due humility, asking, however, one favor. Take this little pamphlet to your home, and when nothing better claims your attention, pray look over its pages. If you like it, allow me the privilege of coming to you once a month, with a basket of such fruits and flowers as an old fellow may gather while limping up and down the highways and by-ways of life.

I will not claim a place for my numbers upon the marble table of the parlor, by the side of songs and souvenirs, gaudy with steel engravings and gilt edges. These bring to you the rich and rare fruitage of the hot-house, while my pages will serve out only the simple, but I trust wholesome productions of the meadow, field, and common of Nature and Truth. The fact is, I am more particular about my company than my accommodations. I like the society of the young, the girls and boys; and whether in the parlor, the library, or the school-room, I care not, if so be they will favor me with their society. I do not, indeed, eschew the favor of those who are of mature age—I shall always have a few pages for them, if they will deign to look at my book. It is my plan to insert something in every number that will bear perusal through spectacles.

But it is useless to multiply words: therefore, without further parley, I offer this as a specimen of my work, promising to improve as I gain practice. I have a variety of matters and things on hand, anecdotes, adventures, tales, travels, rhymes, riddles, songs, &c.—some glad and some sad, some to make you laugh and some to make you weep. My only trouble is to select among such variety. But grant me your favor, kind Public! and these shall be arranged and served out in due season. May I specially call upon two classes of persons to give me their countenance and support—I mean all those young people who have black eyes, and all those who have not black eyes! If these, with their parents, will aid me, they shall have the thanks and best services of


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