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Samuel Merrill Bixby

  • Birth 27 May 1833 Haverhill, Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
  • Death 11 Mar 1912 Fordham, Bronx County, New York, USA
  • Burial Unknown
  • Memorial ID 32932141

Samuel Merrill Bixby was the son of George and Sabina (Merrill) Bixby. He was the husband of Mary E. (Traphagen) Bixby. They were married September 2, 1861. He was a manufacturer of shoe-blackings and shoe dressings.

The New York Times
March 12, 1912, Page 516
BIXBY.--Samuel Merrill Bixby whose name has been associated with the shoe polishing industry of this country for many years, died yesterday afternoon at his home at 2411 Creston Avenue, Fordham. Mr. Bixby was almost seventy-nine years old. In his life he had met every turn of fortune. He was successively a pioneer store keeper in the West before the Civil War, a peddler in New York City in the 185Os; he met failure in the retail shoe business and finally started out with $75.OO in money and heavy debts in 1876, and laid the foundations of the present large Bixby industry. Mrs. Bixby who was Miss Mary E. Traphagan of Haverhill, New Hampshire, whom he married in 1862, survives him. He had no children and the three sons of a cousin are at present connected with the Bixby industries.
Mr. Bixby was greatly interested in church work. He was a Sunday school superintendent and a choir leader. He is the author of a number of hymn tunes which are well-known.

King, Moses
King's Handbook of New York City, c1893, Page 98O
S. M. Bixby & Company, manufacturer of fine shoe-blackings and shoe dressings - Located at 194 and 196 Hester Street, adjacent to the busiest part of Broadway, one block from Canal and Centre Streets

S. M. Bixby, compiler
Church and Home Hymnal: containing hymns and tunes for church service, for prayer meetings, for Sunday schools, for praise service, for young people, children and special occasions, c1893

S. M. Bixby, compiler
Evangel Songs: words and music, suitable for all services of sacred song, c1894

History of "Bixby's Home Songs" -
In the late 18OO's Samuel Merrill Bixby founded 'S. M. Bixby & Co.' to manufacture and distribute several popular household products including laundry blueing, mucilage glue, and shoe cleaners and polish. The innovative company became successful in part due to its subsequent invention of the first liquid shoe polish, and in obtaining a patent on this invention in 1893. As the company grew, S. M. Bixby's extended family invested additional monies in the fledgling business. Because Mr. Bixby was childless, his cousin's young son also was invited to join the company so that a family member would participate. That young man, Henry Dyke Bixby, was the grandfather of the founder of Fieldstone Music. He stayed with the company from about 191O until the company was sold to a competitor after S. M. Bixby's death in 1923. To help promote his business, S. M. Bixby decided to create one of the country's first merchandise loyalty reward programs. In 1892, because he liked to perform music and wished to encourage others to do so around their family's piano, Mr. Bixby funded the compilation and creation of two different booklets of "Home Songs". These booklets each contained 64 pages of traditional secular songs, and S. M. Bixby & Co. mailed them back to customers in exchange for two $.O2 stamps plus five labels from Bixby shoe polish bottles. These first two song booklets became very popular and the company commissioned and distributed two more similar 64-page booklets in the subsequent years. By popular demand, these four "Home Songs" booklets later were combined into a bound 256 page book that could be separately purchased through traditional music distribution retailers. Then in 19O9, a greatly expanded "Bixby's Home Songs" book was compiled and issued in a 576 page version that contains 48O different songs, including the first 256 pages of the "Home Songs" that had been published earlier.

Family Members


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  • Created by: Mary Jane Haight-Eckert
  • Added: 14 Jan 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32932141
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Samuel Merrill Bixby (27 May 1833–11 Mar 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32932141, ; Maintained by Mary Jane Haight-Eckert (contributor 46560908) Unknown.