Eva Moskowitz was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia who ran a small chain of women's dress shops. As a child, she began writing poems and was deeply impressed by the Gilbert & Sullivan musicals her parents took her and her siblings to see. She contributed poems to her high school magazine and weekly newspaper. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937, she moved to New York City for graduate study at Columbia University but then went to work writing for radio. She chose the pen name Merriam from the famous dictionary. She became fashion copy editor for Glamour magazine and a freelance writer. Her first collection of adult poetry, Family Circle (1946) won the Yale Younger Poets Prize. In addition to her adult poetry, she also wrote picture books and many poetry books for children. In 1951, she and historian Gerda Lerner wrote a musical revue, "Singing of Women." Eve Merriam's controversial book Inner City Mother Goose (1969) inspired two musicals. She published more than 40 books in her career and articles on a wide variety of subjects in publications such The New York Times, Newsweek, and The New Republic. She married four times and had two sons and a stepdaughter.