Cyclopædia of American Biographies (1903)/Munn, Orson Desaix

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MUNN, Orson Desaix, publisher, was born in Monson, Mass., June 11, 1824; son of Rice and Lavinia (Shaw) Munn; grandson of Reuben and Hannah Mun, and a descendant of Benjamin Mun who in 1637 was a resident of Hartford, Conn., and that year joined an expedition against the Pequot Indians and was at the attack on the fort at Groton, Conn., where a great number were killed. Benjamin Mun served in the army, fighting Indians until he was exempted from military service on account of his old age, in 1665. Orson D. Munn was graduated at Monson academy in 1840; was a clerk in a book store at Springfield, Mass., 1840-42, and a clerk in a country store in Monson, Mass., 1843-46. He removed to New York city in 1846, and in connection with Alfred E. Beach, a former schoolmate, purchased the Scientific. American, then six months did, from Rufus Porter, the founder, for less than $1000. It was soon placed on a paying basis by the new firm of Munn & Co. They established the Scientific American Supplement in 1876, and an Architect and Builders' edition in 1885. The publishing house which Mr. Munn founded in 1846 established offices in New York and Washington in 1850, procuring letters patents for new inventions, and more than 150,000 cases passed through their agency before 1902. The following well-known inventors were among their many noted clients: Prof. S. F. B. Morse, Elias Howe, Thomas Blanchard, A. B. Wilson, Peter Cooper, Commodore Stevens, Cyrus H. McCormick, R. J. Gatling and R. P. Parrot. Mr. Munn was married in August, 1849, to Julia Augusta, daughter of Plin Allen of Monson, Mass., and their sons, Henry M. and Charles Allen, after leaving school, entered the offices of Munn & Co., where they became important factors.