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A Brief Biography of Judith Sargent Murray -- Order here!

“I am Jealous for the Honor of Our Sex”
A Brief Biography of Judith Sargent Murray


By Bonnie Hurd Smith


“No one, in my view, has done more than Bonnie Hurd Smith, through the ongoing publication and assessment of the recently discovered letters of Judith Sargent Murray of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to establish the  position of this remarkable and courageous woman as one of our pioneer female intellectuals and patriots during the Revolutionary period.”
—Joseph E. Garland, Gloucester historian

“Bonnie’s book is history in its purest form…What she does is the kind of work that’s at the great universities, where editors are working on  making available to historians and scholars large quantities of original source material from the early republic…the work is selfless, and the most important work in history. It’s heroic.”
—Historian/journalist Richard Rosenfeld


As the most important female essayist of the New American Republic, Judith Sargent Murray claimed equality for women, called for quality female education, and insisted that women be allowed to earn and manage  their own money. She urged Americans to be virtuous, prosperous, and fair. She challenged the founding fathers, and opened doors for future  generations.

She was:
• The first person to claim female equality in the public prints ("On the Equality of the Sexes," 1790).
• Considered the first woman in America to self-publish a book, The Gleaner (1798).
• The first American to have a play produced in Boston (1795).
• The most important female essayist of the New American Republic, according to leading historians.
• The earliest known female American Universalist author.
• The co-founder of a female academy (Dorchester, MA).
• The only eighteenth century woman known to have kept letter books in a consistent manner.

Read Judith Sargent Murray’s remarkable story, skillfully woven together through her own words and Bonnie Hurd Smith’s mastery of Murray’s letters, told with insight, zeal, and deep appreciation for Murray’s contributions.

This highly engaging brief biography, available for instant download as an Ebook, is 80 pages plus illustrations and an index.

Book Chapters:
1.   Foundations
2.   Marriage, the War Years, and the Arrival
      of John Murray
3.   A New Addition to the Household
4.   Universalism Takes Hold, and a Writing
      Career Begins
5.   Widowed and Poor
6.   A New Marriage, Motherhood, and a
      Literary Career
7.   “The Gleaner” Champions the New Nation,
      Virtue, and Female Education
8.   The Move to “The Metropolis”
9.   Controversy and Literary Success
10. Judith’s Role as Family Educator Expands
11. Family Illness and a Loss for the Nation
12. Political Influence and New Endeavors
13. Another Journey to Philadelphia, and the
      Arrival of More Young People
14. Illness, Loss, and Uncertainty
15. Another Marriage, and a Grandchild
16. Renewed British Threats, and the Demise
      of John Murray
17. Preparing for Her Final Days and Her
      Daughter’s Future
18. The Move to Natchez

Also in the book:
• Images from the Letter Books
• Index
• About Bonnie Hurd Smith

You can order the book here!

And if for some reason you are not happy with your purchase, you have six months to return it.

But we know you will enjoy the book!
A Brief Biography of Judith Sargent Murray
A Message from Bonnie Hurd Smith

Dear Friends,

People tell me all the time when I give my talks on Judith Sargent Murray that I have “given them a gift.” I know how they feel, because she has certainly brought untold inspiration and opportunity to my life.

And so, in that spirit, I am so pleased to announce the release of my brief biography on Judith Sargent Murray. I would love to introduce her to you!

“Brief” = 80 pages, plus pictures, written in an engaging, quick-moving style and incorporating dozens of Judith’s letters. While I work on a lengthier biography for young people, this one will properly introduce you to the remarkable Judith Sargent Murray—and you will never forget her.

In a nutshell, professionally, Judith was:

• The first person to claim female equality in the public prints (“On the Equality of the Sexes,” 1790).
• Considered the first woman in America to self-publish a book, The Gleaner (1798).
• The first American to have a play produced in Boston (1795).
• The most important female essayist of the New American Republic, according to leading historians.
• The earliest known female American Universalist author.
• The co-founder of a female academy (Dorchester, MA).
• The only eighteenth century woman known to have kept letter books in a consistent manner.

She was also:
• A rigorous intellect.
• A keen observer and talented writer.
• A smart businesswoman.
• A proud patriot who challenged the new American nation to live up to its ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all.
• Unwavering in her Universalist religious views (which included equality) despite public humiliation.
• Determined to improve female education and women’s economic, political, and legal rights for future generations.
• Admired by George Washington, John Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, and many other luminaries.

Personally, Judith was:
• Passionately in love with her husband, Rev. John Murray, and his staunchest supporter (this is quite a love story…).
• A devoted mother, adoptive mother, and aunt to numerous young people, including her own daughter.
• A fiercely loyal friend and member of her extended family.
• Generous.
• Witty.
• Funny.
• Feisty.
• Resilient.
• Practical.
• Undaunted by obstacles to her gender (but annoyed that they were there).
• Quite beautiful, and one of the only women painted by both John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart.

Honestly, Judith Sargent Murray has been part of my life for over 20 years now, and I have never become bored or disinterested. I invite you to discover why!

You can learn more about my multi-year project to transcribe and publish Judith’s letters here, and read the story of how her letter books were discovered in Natchez, Mississippi, by Rev. Gordon Gibson – to whom I am eternally grateful (and so is Judith).

Judith also has her own Facebook page and Web site.

Please accept the “gift” of the remarkable Judith Sargent Murray, and order my biography today!

Your friend,

Bonnie Hurd Smith