Judith Sargent Murray Society
JSM's dates: 1751-1820
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A Brief Biography of Judith Sargent Murray

Bonnie Hurd Smith's
brief biography of
Judith Sargent Murray
is available as a
downloadable EBook!

You can easily order it
, print it out, and

EXCITING NEWS! Bonnie's section on Judith is part of the online Oxford University Bibliographies in American Literature!

CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION: Letter Books, Essays, Poems, Quotes


About The Letter Books Project
Sample letters


Universalist Catechism

(published privately, 1782)

Desultory Thoughts upon the Utility of Encouraging
a Degree of Self-Complacency, Especially in Female Bosoms

(published in the Gentleman and Lady's Town & Country Magazine, 1784)

On the Equality of the Sexes
(published in the Massachusetts Magazine, 1790)

On the Domestic Education of Children
(published in the Massachusetts Magazine, 1790)

The Gleaner
(published in the Massachusetts Magazine, 1792-94; in book form with new entries, 1798)
     No. I
       The Gleaner/Mr. Gleaner (aka Judith Sargent Murray) introduces
       "himself" to "his" readers.
       On female abilities, using historical and present-day examples.
       This essay is a continuation of "On the Equality of the Sexes."
     No. LXXXIX
       Essay continued.
     No. XC
       Essay continued.
     No. XCI
       Essay continued.
     No. LX
       On Thanksgiving Day.
       Judith Sargent Murray explains why she chose a male persona.
       Judith Sargent Murray funded The Gleaner by selling advance subscriptions to some
       of the most prominent citizens in the United States, including George Washington
       and John Adams.

The Repository
(published in the Massachusetts Magazine, 1792-94)
     No. I
       On the power and influence of the written word.
     No. II
       On death, dissimulation, and spring.
     No. III
       On what the author looks for in a friend.
     No. IV
       On overcoming criticism.
     No. V
       On God as "the Vine" -- a Universalist essay.
     No. VI
       On friendship, especially between women and men.
     No. VII
       On the "spirit of genuine philanthropy" in the "religion of Jesus."
     No. VIII
       On the author's regretting her inability to care for more orphaned children.
     No. IX
       On not yielding to public criticism.
     No. X
       On the strength of friendship.
     No. XI
       On maintaining serenity.
     No. XII
       On the basis of Christianity -- a Universalist essay.
     No. XIII
       On nature, its ability to "expand and elevate the mind," and God's plan.
     No. XIV
       On the rights of living creatures to be free from harm by humankind.
     No. XV
       On the freedom of living things and immortality.
     No. XVI
       On how women who have given birth out of wedlock should not be
       ruined or abandoned, nor should their children.
     No. XVII
       On condemning violence against Loyalists, and encouraging a
       peaceful resolution with Great Britain rather than war.
       Written in 1775, but published in 1794.
     No. XVIII
       On the loneliness caused by an absent husband.
     No. XIX
       On the serenity of deep and "equal" friendship.
     No. XX
       On abolishing the practice of dueling.
     No. XXI
       On the death of an infant sister.
     No. XXII
       On the death of a close friend.
     No. XXIII
       On convincing a dying friend of God's universal salvation.
     No. XXIV
       On the joy of motherhood.
     No. XXV
       On curiosity, especially in females, as an admirable trait.
     No. XXVI
       On facing death with calmness and faith.
     No. XXVII
       On the dangers of praise and self-love.

The Reaper
(published in the Federal Orrery, 1794)
     No. I
       The Reaper introduces herself to her readers.
     No. II
       The Reaper learns a lesson in compassion from her young daughter.
     No. III
       The Reaper describes an acquaintance she considers the ideal man.
     No. IV
       The Reaper reviews a recent evening she spent at the "theatre-hall"
       in Boston attending a children's dance recital.
     No. V
       The Reaper cautions her readers about the love of fame and its
       potentially damaging effects.


Lines Occasioned by the Death of an Infant
Judith expresses her feelings about the death of her newborn son.

Lines Written while Rocking a Cradle
Judith reminisces about her daughter's infancy.

On Blending Spirit with Matter

Quotes from Judith Sargent Murray's essays and letters


Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths, a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history -- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.