Welcome! You are about to "meet" an extraordinary
woman who changed American history.
The Judith Sargent Murray Society, founded in 1996 by Bonnie Hurd Smith, is dedicated to
honoring the life and legacy of the eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and
playwright who was among America's earliest champions of female equality, education,
economic independence, and political engagement.
Bonnie introduces Judith on YouTube!
Judith Sargent Murray was the:
• First to claim female equality in the
public prints (1790)
• First woman in America to self-publish a book,
(The Gleaner, 1798)
• First American to have a play produced in
• Most important female essayist of the
New American Republic, according to leading
• Earliest known American Universalist author
• Co-founder of a female academy
• The only eighteenth century woman known to
have kept letter books in a consistent manner
Join the Judith Sargent Murray mailing list
by "liking" her on Facebook!
Bonnie's entry on Judith is now part of
Oxford University's online Bibliography
of American Literature!
"Your book has arrived. Bravo! Bravo! What a
monumental, worthy, welcome piece of work.
You did it and it looks great. And what long-range
value it will have - there's no way to measure
how far and lasting its reach will be, and all
because you did it. Warmest congratulations
and fond regards." —David McCullough, Pulitzer prize-winning
author, upon receiving Bonnie Hurd Smith's book The Letters I Left Behind
“No one, in my view, has done more than
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
woman as one of our pioneer female intellectuals
during the Revolutionary period.”
—Joseph E. Garland, Gloucester historian "The idea of the incapability of women is ...
inadmissible ... To argue against facts,
is indeed contending
with both wind and tide;
and, borne down by accumulating
examples, conviction of the utility of the present plans
will pervade the public mind, and not a
will be heard." —Judith Sargent Murray as her
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