A Guide to the John Murray Papers, 1883-1999 Murray, John, Papers Ms2008-036

A Guide to the John Murray Papers, 1883-1999

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2008-036


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Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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© 2008 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Emily Cook, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms2008-036
Title
John Murray Papers, 1883-1999
Physical Characteristics
1 box; 0.5 cu. ft.
Creator
John Murray
Language
English
Abstract
The John Murray Papers document the participation of John Murray, a Virginia Tech chemistry professor from 1942 to 1971, in Virginia's ornithological community. Collected materials include manuscript articles, scholarly correspondence, and bird watching logs which focus largely on Montgomery County, Virginia.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the John Murray Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: John Murray Papers, Ms2008-036 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The John Murray Papers were donated to Special Collections in 2000.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the John Murray Papers occurred in July, 2008.


Biographical Information

John Wolcott Murray was born in 1909 to Harris King Murray and Arabella Prime Murray of Flushing, New York. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University in 1930, Murray received his Ph. D in Chemistry from John Hopkins University in 1933. In 1939, Murray wed Ruth Terborgh. The union produced two children: John Harris Murray and Beulah Mae M. Fincham.

Murray taught chemistry at Virginia Tech from 1942 to 1971 and was promoted to full professor in 1954. In addition to his knowledge of chemistry, Murray was an ardent lover of birds. Murray published many articles and a yearly inventory, "A Checklist of the Birds of Montgomery County, Virginia," in the Journal of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, The Raven, while also participating in local Christmas Bird counts. In 1994, Murray furthered his ornithological studies by logging 55 new species of birds during a trip to the Amazon Rain Forest.

Following the loss of his first wife after 51 years of marriage, Murray married Nancy Slocum whom he met at the age of 85. While living at Warm Hearth Community, Murray continued to study nature and was named "Volunteer of the Year" in 1994 for his services in the creation and maintenance of a trail system at the community. John Murray died on August 19, 2002.

Scope and Content

The John Murray Papers document the participation of John Murray, a Virginia Tech chemistry professor, in Virginia's ornithological community. Collected materials include manuscript articles, scholarly correspondence, and bird watching logs. Major correspondents are John J. Murray of Lexington, VA; Charles Handley, Jr., the assistant curator of the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian Institute; Fred R. Scott, editor of The Raven; and faculty from Virginia Tech's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. Salient topics consist of the yearly Christmas Bird Count sent to the Audubon Society and the publication and alteration of "A Checklist of the Birds of Montgomery County, Virginia." Most provided bird sightings cover the area inside Montgomery County, Virginia, but some included sightings come from more tropical areas. The collection also includes a picture of the founders of the American Ornithologist's Union from 1883, given to John Murray by A. L. Dean.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by subject matter. Items within subject headings appear chronologically.

Contents List

Box-folder 1:1
Article Drafts, 1944-1975
Box-folder 1:2
Hawk Watching Logs and Instructions, 1976-1988
Box-folder 1:3
Montgomery County Bird Records and Sightings, 1960-1973
Box-folder 1:4
Montgomery County Bird Records and Sightings, 1974-1981
Box-folder 1:5
Christmas Bird Count Background, Planning, and Statistical Information, 1958-1999
Box-folder 1:6
Christmas Bird Counts and Follow-Ups, 1955-1994
Box-folder 1:7
Correspondence and Data on Research and Publications (especially "A Checklist of the Birds of Montgomery County, Virginia"), 1944-1988
Box-folder 1:8
Bird Chart (February through December), n.d.
Box-folder 1:9
"Virginia Bird Notes" and Bird List by Charles (C. O.) Handly, Jr., 1951
Box-folder 1:10
Miscellaneous Materials, 1883-1976
  • Photograph of the Founders of the American Ornithologists' Union, 1883
  • Portion of Birds Observed in Montgomery County,Virginia By Ellison A. Smyth, Jr., 1912
  • Photograph of Ralph M. Brown, 1955
  • List of Birds Seen on Florida trip, 1976