Some Other Mercks

A family link to these Mercks has not been established.

Engel Apotheke

The name Merck is associated with a lot of famous people, other than you and me. Perhaps the most well known are those connected to the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company from Germany, Merck KGaA. In 1668, the Engel-Apotheke in Darmstadt was purchased by Friedrich Jacob Merck (1621-1678), son of Johann Merck (1573-1642) a bailiff from Schweinfurt. The company was turned over to his nephew upon his death, then from father to son. That company remains Merck family property to this day.

Johann Heinrich Merck (1741-1791) was born at Darmstadt a few days after the death of his father, the chemist. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father but became an author and critic. He established a reputation as a military adviser and was a significant contributor to the German literary climate. He was a good friend to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose genius he was first to recognize. His grandson, Heinrich Emanuel Merck, led the growth of Merck KGaA in industrial chemical production.
Heinrich Emanuel Merck (1794-1855) initiated the move to industrial production after he took over his father’s pharmacy in 1816. He succeeded in isolating and preparing pure alkaloids that the scientific community was particularly interested in due to their medical effect. Their large-scale production and exports led to the establishment of a subsidiary, Merck & Co., in the United States under George Merck, Sr. (1867-1926), a grandson of Heinrich Emanuel Merck. Following the confiscation of properties after World War I, Merck & Co. became an independent company which holds the rights to the name in North America; outside this area the company operates as Merck Sharpe and Dohme. In turn, Merck KGaA holds the rights elsewhere and operates in the United States under the umbrella brand EMD.

George W. Merck, Jr. (1894 – 1957) was an American scientist who became president of Merck & Co. after the death of his father, George Merck. Before World War II, he served (unpaid) on the Munitions Board's Chemical Advisory Committee. At the height of the war , he was an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt who appointed him to direct all the Government's sprawling research on biological warfare. For this he was later awarded the Medal for Merit. Merck later acted as a consultant to Defense Secretary Lovett. His public-duty commitments ranged from the executive council of the American Cancer Society and the board of visitors of the chemistry and biology departments at Harvard. He was an early Eisenhower backer and a former state treasurer for the New Jersey G.O.P. He founded the Vermont Forest and Farmland Foundation which later became the Merck Forest and Farm Center, a conservation and educational forum for agriculture and forestry.

Baron Ernst von Merck (1811-1863) was a German entrepreneur, politician and government minister. A major street, Merckstrasse, is named after him in the city of Hamburg, Germany. The Merck Planten und Blomen Park now occupies the grounds of the former zoological garden created under his leadership in 1861. Recordings of the Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton Orchestras, and others, are now sold from concerts they played at the Ernst-Merck Halle in Hamburg.

A large number of Mercks reside in South Carolina and the Southeast part of the United States. They descend from immigrant Andrew, Balthasar and Conrad Merck families who arrived in the United States in 1764 among a group of Palatines seeking the promise of religious freedom. These refugees fled the war-ravaged Rhine Valley during a period when the religion of the people was dictated by the rulers of the state. They settled in the American colonies at a time when English law permitted only protestants to settle in the colonies. The favorable treatment they received in England where they first fled, plus the free transportation and land they received when they arrived in the colony, led many of these settlers to side with the British during the rebellion which started just a short time after they arrived. More about the South Carolina Palatines.
Baulser Van Buren Merck (1863-1949), born in Alabama, was in the group who made the rush for the first homesteads in Oklahoma. After becoming unhappy with the dust in Oklahoma, he moved to Collegeport, Texas where he resided for over 40 years. A descendant of the the Palatine Mercks who settled in South Carolina, he was among those who migrated west. More about him.
Marie Merck (1861-1909), daughter of a Munich banker, became the wife of Max Planck on 31 March 1887. Max Planck is considered the founder of the quantum theory. He was a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Berlin. In 1918 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. His work on quantum physics and the formula now known as Planck's radiation formula was the basis for further development by Einstein, Poincare, Bohr, Dirac and others. An accomplished musician, he often would entertain guests, such as his good friend Einstein, by playing music with them at his home. Their son Erwin was executed by the Gestapo in 1945 for his part in the attempt to assassinate Hitler on 20 July 1944.
Albert W. and Katharine E. Merck, enthusiastic advocates for excellence in public and private education, have given $15 million to Harvard in 2003 to strengthen teacher training and instructional technology. The Mercks' devotion to teaching have long been dedicated to the advancement of numerous schools and universities. Albert Merck began his early career at Merck & Co., founded by his family in 1891. While serving on the company's board of directors, he earned master's degrees from Columbia University Teachers College and Rutgers University in the 1960s. He was elected to the New Jersey legislature as a Republican representative in the early 1970s, and served as the chair of the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education. Albert Merck spent several years teaching political science at Rutgers and Drew universities. He has been a trustee of the Bonnie Brae School for Boys, Newark State College (now Kean College), Westminster Choir College, Drew University, and St. George's School. The Mercks have also been generous supporters of Katharine Merck's alma mater, Bennington College, to which they donated a total of $15 million in 2002 and 2004. (From articles in Harvard University Gazette, 3 June 2003, and, 9 Aug 2004)
John W. Merck, Jr., is a Lecturer and Associate Director of the Earth, Life and Time Program at the University of Maryland. He describes himself as a morphology-based vertebrate systematist and paleontologist. He was born in Athens, Georgia. See his website.

This page was last updated 16 May 2007.