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William Vans Murray Collection

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Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Murray, William Vans, 1760-1803

William Vans Murray was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates (1788-1790) and in the United States House of Representatives (1791-1797), and as U.S. Minister to the Netherlands (1797-1801).

Murray, William Vans, 1760-1803

William Vans Murray was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates (1788-1790) and in the United States House of Representatives (1791-1797), and as U.S. Minister to the Netherlands (1797-1801).

The collection consists of four commonplace books kept by Murray, an American diplomat and minister to the Netherlands, during the years 1786 to July of 1800. The first volume (1786-1798) begins in London, England, and continues in Cambridge, Maryland (Murray's birthplace), and Philadelphia, and includes notes on public speaking, trade, politics, Shakespeare, etc., and also mentions his future wife, Charlotte [Hughes?]. The second volume (1787-1795) includes Murray's impressions of the "political face of the moment," notes and copies of articles he had published in local newspapers, notes on treaties, land taxes, treasury reports, and distinguished foreigners; copies of letters to Thomas Jefferson; and a lengthy discussion of the Indians in Maryland, including a vocabulary, with English translations, of Nanticoke words. The third and forth volumes (1799-1800) include copies of letters to Talleyrand, George Washington, and Col. T. Pickering, home remedies for bone-setting and frozen limbs, plus recipes for glue, dye, butter, and coffee. Murray also discusses his observations of Paris and Washington (D.C), impressions of Charles Bonaparte and Robespierre, and the XYZ Affair. In addition to the commonplace books, there are letters to Robert Gilmore, Elbridge Gerry, and Sylvanus Bourne, a poem, and a few manuscript fragments.

Acquired in 1940 from unknown source. Remainder purchased from Alfred Terry in 1979 and from Heritage Book Shop in 1995 (AM1995-118, 12800, 79-187).

Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Publisher
Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
2008
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Commonplace Book (I), 1786-1798. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Commonplace Book (II), 1787-1795. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Commonplace Book (III), 1799-1800 February. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Commonplace Book (IV), 1800 February-July. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from Murray to Robert Gilmore, Elbridge Gerry, Sylvanus Bourne, 1793-1799. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

to Robert Gilmore, 1793, Elbridge Gerry, 1798, Sylvanus Bourne, 1799.

Physical Description

1 folder

Poem, bill, and letter fragment removed from Commonplace Book (I), 1795-circa 1797. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Print, Suggest