THE MURRAYS OF MURRAY HILL by Charles Monaghan

THE MURRAYS OF MURRAY HILL

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A carefully researched history of the prominent Quaker family for whom the Murray Hill section of Brooklyn is named. The Murrays, a devout, perpetually energetic family, first settled in Brooklyn in the 1760s. During the latter half of the 18th century the Murrays became connected, through marriage, with a number of influential Manhattan families. They enjoyed great success as merchants, only to see their position in society challenged, and their family fragmented, by the revolution. Some members of the family became well-known for their patriotism; others, including the eldest son, Lindley, were led by their loyalist sympathies to choose exile. Monaghan, a longtime editor and critic, persuasively argues that the little-known Lindley was in fact terrifically influential in his time: His school textbooks sold, in the period up to 1840, some 12.5 million copies in the US. It’s not only the success of Lindley’s textbooks that makes him important; the implicit anti-slavery tenets of the books (inspired by Lindley’s embrace of the ideas of such Enlightenment figures as David Hume) shaped American opinion in the North in crucial ways. A lively portrait of a fascinating family, their milieu, and their influence on their turbulent age.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1998
ISBN: 0-9662430-0-5
Page count: 166pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998