“Our souls are by nature equal to yours”

JUDITH SARGENT MURRAY (1751-1820) was born to a ship-owning family in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Although her younger brothers were tutored at home to prepare for college, Judith received no formal education. Self-taught, she read books from her father’s library and boldly pursued the intellectual life as essayist, poet and playwright, writing on topics like politics and religion.
In her essay On the Equality of the Sexes she argued that women should have the opportunity to receive an education equal to that of men. She was also one of the few women of her time to save her letter books; most women did not think their letters serious enough to be worth saving. In 1984, 20 volumes of 5,000 letters by Murray were discovered in Natchez, Miss. in a house near her daughter’s where she died.
While Murray did not—indeed could not—lead the charge for equality of the sexes in the male-dominated society of the time, she was an inspiration to the many who would follow in her footsteps.
To celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary the Sargent House Museum in Gloucester has joined with the Cape Ann Museum and the Terra Foundation of American Art to present a special exhibition Our Souls Are by Nature Equal to Yours (September 28, 2019 — March 31, 2020). The John Singleton Copley painting (pictured above) on loan from the Terra Foundation will be on view. On January 25, 2020, at 3pm, Judith Sargent Murray biographer Sheila Skemp of the University of Mississippi will give a talk titled First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence.

Bonnie Hurd Smith is an author and the founder of The Judith Sargent Murray Society. She describes the contributions of Judith Sargent Murray in this VIDEO. See other posts about Murray HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

posted December 10th, 2019 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Murray, Judith Sargent

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