NEW YORK -- Nationally renowned feminist, poet and playwright Eve Merriam has died at age 75.
Merriam, suffering from liver cancer, died Friday at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan.
A native of Philadelphia, Merriam published more than 30 books and was perhaps best known for a controversial book of adult nursery rhymes called the 'Inner City Mother Goose.'
In 1977 Merriam won an Obie award for 'The Club,' a play about a men's smoking club in turn-of-the-century England. She performed at the White House at the invitation of President Jimmy Carter in 1978, reading from her play 'Out of Our Father's House.'
Merriam also taught the country's first college course in women's studies at New York University in 1965, according to her brother, Louis Martin.
But it was her critically acclaimed and often censored 'Inner City Mother Goose' that attracted national attention. In 1972, a teacher at Philadelphia's Hartranft School created an uproar when he read passages from the book to his eighth-grade class. And a grand jury was convened to investigate why the book was added to the libraries in the Buffalo, N.Y., school system.
Merriam was born in Philadelphia's Kensington section, the daughter of Max and Jennie Moskovitz, who owned a small chain of women's clothing stores. She moved to New York City shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937.
In New York she worked for various publications and advertising agencies before beginning her career as a playwright, author and poet. The last of her four marriages was to the late Waldo Salt, a screenwriter.
In addition to her brother, she is survived by a sister, Helen Abramson, and two sons, Guy and Dee Michel.