Lindley Murray


Portrait of Lindley MurrayLindley Murray was an popular American author and Quaker who wrote eleven school textbooks on English Grammar. His best known book was English Reader (1799) that served as a prescriptive text for English usage. He drew heavily, without attribution, from the British grammarians Bishop Robert Lowth (1762) and J. B. Priestley (1761). The English Reader dominated the American market for readers for over a generation from 1815 into the 1840s. It began to be replaced in 1836 the McGuffey Readers, a series of reading texts.

In another of his books, English Grammar (1795) Murray offered advice for English usage. He intended the book for use in a women’s Quaker school near York, England. The book went through many editions, and was used in many English and American schools for teaching spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It included sections on: orthography, etymology, syntax, parsing, grammar, logic, idioms, prepositions, figures of speech, punctuation, and versification.

Murray was the eldest son of a Quaker merchant. He was raised in Manhattan, in an area eventually named after Murray’s wealthy family--Murray Hill. Lindley was forced into exile after the American Revolution because he was a British loyalist. He moved to York in England, where he began pursuing his writing career.

Writings of Lindley Murray, Arranged Chronologically

Murray, L. (1787). The power of religion on the mind.

Murray, L. (1787) Extracts from the writings of divers eminent authors, of different religious denominations; and at various periods of time, representing the evils and perncious effects of stage plays, and other vain amusements.

Murray, L. (1787). the power of religion on the mind in retirement, sickness, and at death; Exemplified in the testimonies and experience of men distinguished by their greatness, learning, or virtue.

Murray, Lindley (1795). English grammar adapted to the different classes of learners. With an appendix, containing rules and observations, for assisting the more advanced students to write with perspicuity and accuracy.

Murray, Lindley, (1797). English Exercises: Adapted to the Grammar Lately Published by L. Murray: Consisting of Exemplifications of the Parts of Speech, Instances of False Orthography, Violations of the Rules of Syntax, Defects in Punctuation, and Violations of the Rules Respecting Perspicuity and Accuracy: Designed for the Benefit of Private Learners, As Well As for the Use of Schools.

Murray, Lindley, (1798). The beauties of prose and verse selected from the most eminent authors.

Murray, Lindley (1799),. The English Reader: or, Pieces in Prose and Poetry, Selected from the Best Writers Designed to Assist Young Persons to Read with Propriety and Effect; to Improve Their Language and Sentiments; and to Inculcate Some of the Most Important Principles of Piety and Virtue.: With a Few Preliminary Observations on the Principles of Good Reading.

Murray, Lindley, (1800). Sequel to The English Reader Or, Elegant Selections in Prose and Poetry. Designed to Improve the Highest Class of Learners in Reading.

Murray, Lindley (1812) Selections from Bishop Home's Commentaries on the Psalms,

Murray, Lindley (1815) Biographical Sketch of Henry Tuke.

Murray,, Lindley (1815). Compendium of religious faith and practice: designed for young persons of the society of friends

Murray, Lindley, (1817) On the duty and benefit of a daily perusal of the scriptures.

Writings about Lindley Murray

American Authors (1938). 1600-1900. "Murray, Lindley." The H. W. Wilson Company, New York.

Moon, George Washington (6th edition) (1879). Bad English exposed: A series of criticisms on the errors and inconsistencies in Lindley Murray and other grammarians. London: Hatchards, Piccadilly. Google Books. com:

Monaghan, Charles The Murrays of Murray Hill.

Frank E. (1826). Life F of Murray, New York: W. H. Egle .

Frank E. (1826) Memoirs of the life and writings of Lindley Murray, in a series of letters written by himself, with a preface and a continuation by Elizabeth Frank (York, 1826).