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Lindley Murray Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-198

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of letters written by Lindley Murray and other family members between 1785 and 1822. Series 1 contains letters which were originally assembled in Friends Historical Library and catalogued as SC/85. It includes letters written by Lindley Murray between 1785 and 1822. These primarily concern the publication of his English Grammar, the question of its acceptability for use at the Ackworth School, and the issue of the use of fiction in the work. Also included are two letters from Lindley Murray, his nephew, on the subject of the American political climate.

The remaining series came to Friends Historical Library by transfer of the New York Yearly Meeting records in 1997. Series 2 contains letters from Lindley Murray (1745-1826) to family members. In particular, there are 39 letters to his brother, John Murray of New York City, which concern family and financial matters and Quaker issues. Series 3 is composed of personal letters from other family members.


  • Creation: 1785-1830


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Biographical / Historical

Lindley Murray, Quaker author and grammarian, was born in Pennsylvania in 1745, the son of Robert and Mary Lindley Murray. His mother was a birthright Quaker, and his father was a convinced Friend. Lindley Murray was educated as a lawyer and practiced in New York City, marrying Hannah Dobson in 1767.

Due to ill health, he moved to England in 1785. He resided in York and devoted the remainder of his life to publishing grammar books and religious tracts. He died in 1826.

His brother, John Murray, was born in 1758 and settled in New York City, where he died in 1819. A successful merchant, he was a member of New York Monthly Meeting and married Catherine Bowne at Flushing in 1783.

John Murray's son, Lindley Murray, was born in 1790 and lived in New York City. A member of New York Yearly Meeting, he worked as a book seller. In 1813, he married Eliza Cheeseman. In 1829 they aligned with the Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends. He died in 1847.


0.25 linear ft. (1 box)

Language of Materials



Lindley Murray, Quaker author and grammarian, was born in 1745 in Pennsylvania and resided in England for many years while publishing grammar books and religious tracts. The collection is primarily composed of letters written by Lindley Murray and other family members between 1785 and 1822.


The collection is divided into three series:

  1. Correspondence formerly in the Murray Manuscript collection
  2. Correspondence transferred from New York Yearly Meeting;
  3. Family Correspondence, transferred from New York Yearly Meeting.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession information

Series 1 is composed of letters from three sources: Gift of A.A. Merritt, 1920; Gift of Friends House Library, 1959; and Purchase from Julia Sweet Newman, 1974. Series 2 and 3 contain letters transferred from New York Yearly Meeting (Haviland Record Room) in 1997 as part of the deposit of the NYYM records.

Related Materials

See also:

  1. Published material by Lindley Murray, see Library catalogue
  2. The English Reader, published 1816, Philadelphia, available on microfilm

Processing Information

The collection is sorted according to the original provenance. Series 1 is composed of letters previously catalogued as a Small Collection (SC/85). The additional material was deposit of NYYM records in 1997. The two groups of papers were combined in 1997 into a single group of related family papers. Refoldered and stored in one box in Record Group 5.

Correspondence of Elizabeth Moger (Keeper of the Records, New York Yearly Meeting, 1979-1980) concerning reference questions on the Murray correspondence is included in the administrative folder, stored with the collection.

Lindley Murray Papers, 1785-1830
Susanna Morikawa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Updated outdated, harmful terminology related to enslavement, except where it appears in a title, quotation, or subject heading.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA