Box icon John Murray III (1808-1892)

Portrait of John Murray III

John Murray III's early education at the prestigious English public school, Charterhouse was followed by enrollment at Edinburgh University. Here he became interested in geology and mineralogy. White at Edinburgh, he attended a dinner in which Sir Walter Scott was revealed as the author of the 'Waverley' novels. As it took everyone there by surprise, he gleefully wrote about this revelation to his father John Murray II.

Following his studies he travelled extensively on the continent and this was the basis of his development of the first successful modern guidebooks - Murray's Handbook for Travellers series. The success of this series helped him build a family home at Wimbledon, named 'Newstead', but affectionately nicknamed 'Handbook Hall' by others.

Murray III became a co-partner with his father from 1836 and was head of the family and house rom his father's death in 1843 until his own death in 1892. In running the business he was assisted throughout by his nephew Robert Cooke.

Murray III published many notable authors including explorer David Livingstone, biographer Samuel Smiles, geologist Sir Charles Lyell and naturalist Charles Darwin. Murray, although successfully publishing the works of Darwin and Lyell, actually disagreed with much of their theories and wrote, under the pseudonym 'Verifier', his own opposing geological arguments in 'Scepticism in Geology' (1877).




NRA Name: Murray, John (1808-1892), publisher.

The National Register of Archives (NRA) contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history in archival holdings in the UK and overseas. You can find more information on the National Register of Archives name authority catalogue.

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'Kind Mr Murray, The king of Publishers.'
– Letter from Paul Du Chaillu to Murray, 8 February 1862.



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