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Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray (1894-1962) Papers

Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray (1894-1962) Papers

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Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Murray, Josephine Lee Rantoul, 1894-1962
Title:Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray (1894-1962) Papers
Quantity:3 linear feet (6 boxes)
Abstract:This collection contains the personal papers of Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray, including personal correspondence, childhood records, diaries and journals, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and photographs. It contains several months of correspondence from Henry A. Murray, Jr. and several personal childhood diaries.
Collection Number:MSS 472

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence
A. Letters To and From Friends
B. Henry A. Murray Letters
C. Letters While in Europe

SERIES II. Writings
A. Diaries
B. Notebooks and Journals

SERIES III. Photographs, Ephemera, and Genealogy

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the personal papers of Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray, including personal correspondence, childhood records, diaries and journals, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and photographs. It contains several months of correspondence from Henry A. Murray, Jr. and several personal childhood diaries. The collection has been organized into three series and arranged chronologically within the subseries.

Series I. Correspondence consists of three subseries. Subseries A. Letters To and From Friends consist of letters from friends and family and includes drafts of letters she wrote in pencil to same. Two primary sets of correspondence consist of letters from male friends, Gordon Grant and Bill, and to a lesser degree, Wally. Bill's letters, from Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, Glacial National Park, and Montreal, also contain news of his adventures and travels. Other letters are her drafts to friends, family and "Harry," as well as letters from her Aunt Elsie in Manchester-by-the Sea, Massachusetts. There are also a number of newspaper clippings of crew teams at Harvard, of the Saltonstall family, and assorted memorabilia. Subseries B. Henry A. Murray Letters contain over 125 letters written to Josephine from Henry while he was in New York pursuing his medical studies. The letters begin in October, 1915 and continue until their marriage in May, 1916. Subseries C. Letters While in Europe contain letters written while she was on an extended stay in Europe (England, France, Switzerland, and Monte Carlo) with her husband and daughter from June, 1937 to March, 1938. One collection of letters is written to her mother and another to her mother-in-law. There is a small collection of letters to other family members, which include postcards to Mrs. Neal Rantoul that may have been from other family members traveling with Mrs. Murray. A 1924 wireless letter while aboard the S.S. Scythia was sent to family in Beverly Farms informing them of safe passage.

Series II. Writings consists of two subseries. Subseries A. Diaries includes her personal diaries beginning in 1909 when she was 15 years old until 1916, the year of her marriage to Henry. Included in the later diaries are such memorabilia as Gordon Grant's metal name tag, sports schedules, and handwritten prayers. Also included in the pages are photographs of Harry and notes from him. Subseries B. Notebooks and Journals contain two notebooks in which she glued personal invitations to parties and events in Boston, Brookline, and other locations. She writes commentaries for each describing her experience of the event and others in attendance. There are also a number of partially completed journals with inspirational and religious quotations, poems, and school notes. One of the two travel journals written in 1909 describes a voyage from New York to Paris and then onto London. One notebook contains information about her wedding, attendees, gifts, and wedding party, as well as a domestic inventory.

Series III. Photographs, Ephemera, and Genealogy includes a photograph album she kept and several loose photographs, for the most part, unidentified. There is one photograph of her at three months of age taken with her mother. There is also a genealogy with photographs of the Saltonstall family and six of her report cards from The Misses May's School signed by her mother.

Biographical Sketch

Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on August 12, 1894. She was the daughter of Neal Rantoul (1870-1956) and Lucy Saltonstall Rantoul (1871-1947). Her father, Neal Rantoul was an 1892 graduate of Harvard, an investment banker in Boston, and former senior partner of F.S. Mosely Company. Her mother was the daughter of William Gurdon Saltonstall and Josephine Lee Saltonstall. She was a cousin of Senator Leverett Saltonstall and granddaughter of Salem Mayor, Robert S. Rantoul. Her younger sister, Lucy Saltonstall Rantoul (1913-1958), was married to Richard K. Thorndike.

Josephine grew up in Boston's Back Bay as well as the family home on West Beach, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. She attended the Miss May's School and in 1912 was presented at Boston's Copley Plaza Hotel. On May 30, 1916 she married Dr. Henry "Harry" Alexander Murray, Jr. (1893-1988) of New York City. Dr. Murray attended Groton Prep School and Harvard College where he was captain of the crew team. He was a well-known clinical psychologist and member of the Harvard faculty where he was a professor of clinical psychology. As one of the founders of personality psychology, he was also responsible for the development of the Harvard Psychological Clinic.

After their marriage, the Murrays lived in New York City for several years before moving to Beacon Hill, Boston. They had one daughter, Dr. Josephine Lee Murray (1921-2012), a well-known pediatrician and philanthropist who lived in the Boston area.

Josephine traveled extensively in Europe and was also involved in many charity and social service organizations. In 1944 she became a trustee of Radcliffe College and also served on their governing council from 1950-1961. She died unexpectedly on January 14, 1962.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Belmont, August
Belmont, Bessie Morgan
Curran Theresa
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882
Grant, Gordon
Hooper, Mrs. William
McCall, Harry, Capt.
Murray, Henry A. (Henry Alexander), 1893-1988
Rantoul, Charlotte
Rantoul, Josephine Lee, 1894-1962
Rantoul, Lucy Saltonstall, 1871-1947
Rantoul, Neal, 1870-1956
Saltonstall, Elizabeth Sanders, 1825-1887
Saltonstall, William Gurdon, 1831-1889
Thorndike, Lucy
Timmerman, Louis Felix
Phillips Exeter Academy
S. S. Samaria
S. S. Scythia
The Misses May's School
American National Red Cross
Letter writing
World War, 1939-1945
Beverly Farms (Mass.)
Boston (Mass.)
Journals (Diaries)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Josephine Lee (Rantoul) Murray Papers, MSS 472, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by the estate of Dr. Josephine Lee Murray (acc # 2013.011).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Carol Gray, December 2013.

Related Material

"Funeral Services Thursday for Mrs. Henry A. Murray Jr." Boston Globe. ProQuest Historical Newspapers, 16 Jan. 1962. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

"Mrs. Lucy S. Rantoul." Daily Boston Globe 08 Nov. 1947: 5. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Boston Globe (1872-1981). Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

"Murray, Henry Alexander." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008, Margaret Alic, Paul Roazen, and "Murray, Henry A." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.. 2013. "Murray, Henry Alexander." HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2008. Web. 1 Nov. 2013.

"Neal Rantoul." Boston Globe 28 Aug. 1956: 22. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Boston Globe (1872-1981). Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

The Radcliffe Quarterly February (1962): 4. Radcliffe Archives. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

Harriet C. Rantoul Papers, 1800-1960, MSS 449

Rantoul Family Papers, 1800-1950, MSS 450

Robert S. Rantoul Papers, 1817-1920, MSS 448

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