Box icon Periodicals published by John Murray

Medical and Philosophical Commentaries (1773-1795)

In 1773 John Murray started publishing Britain's first regular medical review journal. 'Medical and Philosophical Commentaries' publicised and reviewed the latest publications, discoveries and improvements in medicine.

It went on to print news from medical societies in France, Denmark, Russia, and America, as well as news from Great Britain.

Distinguished Edinburgh physician Dr Andrew Duncan the elder edited the journal until publication ended in 1786.

Murray's Magazine (1887-1891)

Volumes of Murray's Magazine

Sixty issues of this one shilling (£2 in modern currency) monthly magazine were published by John Murray between January 1887 and December 1891. Although enjoying some critical praise the magazine was not commercially successful. Only 5,000 copies per issue were printed during the final last year.

'Murray's Magazine' had two editors. First was Edward Augustus Arnold (1857-1942) who edited between January 1887 and April 1890. Then William Leonard Courtney (1850-1928) edited it between May 1890 and December 1891.

Broad ranging but conservative
Murray's Magazine was aimed at the educated middle class and contained broad ranging, but conservative, articles on social, political and cultural topics, as well as literary criticism and reviews. Following a long absence John Murray had began republishing fiction with Emily Lawless's 'Hurrish. A study' (1886). With 'Major Lawrence' F L S Lawless also provided Murray Magazine's first serial story.

Murray's Magazine also published Thomas Hardy's short story 'The Waiting Supper' (1888). However, Murray and Arnold rejected his 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' due to the frequent references to immoral situations. It was eventually serialised in 'The Graphic' (July to December 1891).

Murray's Magazine's most highly acclaimed novel was Margaret Louisa Woods' 'Ester Vanhomrigh' (1891). Other notable literary and article contributors include; William Ewart Gladstone, Mary St Leger Kingsley (writing as Lucas Malet), Sir Austen Henry Layard, Axel Munthem, Violet Paget (writing as Vernon Lee), Morley Roberts, Theodore Roosevelt and Samuel Smiles.

National Library of Scotland holdings

  • 10 complete volumes (1887-91), NLS shelfmark U.410
  • Thomas, Sue 'Indexes to fiction in Time' (1879-91) shelfmark HP2.81.874
  • The quarto (1896-98) NLS shelfmark M.99.e.6-9

You can consult these in the National Library of Scotland manuscripts reading room.

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Topics in the archive

In publishing:

'The Review is the greatest of all his works, and it is all his own creation; he prints 10,000, and fifty times ten thousand read its contents in the East and West.'
– Robert Southey, 1817.

Who's who?

Key figures in Murray publishing: