Box icon Politics and society

The birth and growth of the Murray publishing house spanned a political and social era that saw Britain go through a period of rapid and widespread change. Agrarian society was replaced by industrial, nation state by Empire, and the long march to the emancipation of women and the working-class began.

Political opinions

Political and social change is often debated, discussed and detailed in correspondence and in print. Murray publications and authors were often at the heart of this. Murray's involvement with politics and politicians was secured from 1809 with the launch of the 'Quarterly Review' journal. From then on, Murray correspondents and authors included many politicians and Prime Ministers such as Sir Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone.

The conservative Murrays also corresponded with a range of political opinions from the likes of social campaigner Caroline Norton, abolitionist William Wilberforce, and philosopher and advocate of women's rights John Stuart Mill.

Reflecting a changing society

All aspects of a changing society were represented by Murray publications, from the works of great economists like Thomas Malthus to Maria Rundell's 'Domestic Cookery', one of Murray's most successful works of the 19th century. Another of Murray's bestselling authors was Samuel Smiles, whose books sought to inspire the working classes through tales of thrift, duty and perseverance.

Murray correspondence and publications reflect the changes in society, both political and social, as much through the everyday gossip and scandal as through the writings of the great thinkers and campaigners of the time.

Who's who in politics and society

portrait image Duke of Argyll
'Divine design' advocate
portrait image Benjamin Disraeli
Prime Minister
portrait image Caroline Lamb
Byron's infamous lover

portrait image Caroline Norton
Determined campaigner
portrait image Robert Peel
Prime Minister
portrait image Maria Rundell
Domestic goddess

portrait image Samuel Smiles
Self-help guru

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