Murray's Family Library

Murray's Family Library was a series of non-fiction works published from 1829 to 1834, by John Murray, in 51 volumes. The series editor was John Gibson Lockhart, who also wrote the first book, a biography of Napoleon.[1] The books were priced at five shillings;[2] Murray's approach, which did not involve part-publication, is considered a fundamentally more conservative business model, and intention, than used by the contemporary library of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.[3]

Original LibraryEdit

Volume Year Author Title
I (2 vols.) 1829[4] John Gibson Lockhart[1] The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte[5]
III 1829[6] John Williams The Life and Actions of Alexander the Great[5][7]
IV, X, XIII, XIX, XXVII, XXXVIII 1829–31 Allan Cunningham[8] Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors and Architects[5][9]
V, VI and IX Vol. V August 1829[6] Henry Hart Milman[10] The History of the Jews[5]
VII, LI 1829[6] Anonymous (a number of authors;[6] Robert Ferguson)[9][11] The Natural History of Insects[5]
VIII 1829 Anonymous (S. Dunham Whitehead)[6] The Court and Camp of Buonaparte[5]
XI 1830[6] Washington Irving The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (abridged)[5]
XII 1830[6] Robert Southey The Life of Nelson, third edition[5]
XIV 1830[6] Anonymous (William Macmichael and others; memoir of Caleb Hillier Parry by his son W. C. Parry)[6][12] Lives of Eminent British Physicians[5]
XV, XLVIII, XLIX, L 1830[13] George Robert Gleig The History of British India[5][9]
XVI 1830[13] Walter Scott Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft[14]
XVII 1830[13] Francis Bond Head Life of Bruce the African Traveller[14]
XVIII 1830[13] Irving Companions of Columbus[9]
XX, XXXII Vol. XX 1831[13] Anonymous, (Edward Smedley)[15] Sketches from Venetian History[9][16]
XXI 1831[13] Francis Palgrave History of England[9]
XXII, XXXIV, XXXVII Vol. XXII 1831 Patrick Fraser Tytler Lives of Scottish Worthies[9]
XXIII 1831 Anonymous (John Barrow)[13] Family Tour through South Holland[9]
XXIV 1831[13] David Brewster Life of Sir Isaac Newton[9]
XXV 1831[13] Sir John Barrow, 1st Baronet The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of HMS Bounty[9]
XXVI (2 vols.) Vol. XXVI December 1831[13] John James Blunt Reformation in England[9][17]
XXVIII (3 vols.) 1832[13] John Lander and Richard Lander, editor Alexander Bridport Becher[13] Adventures in the Niger[9]
XXXI 1832[13] Anonymous (Charles Edward Dodd)[13] The Trials of Charles I, and of some of the Regicides[18]
XXXIII 1832[19] Brewster Letters on Natural Magic[9]
XXXV 1832[19] Sir John Barrow[19] Life of Peter the Great[9]
XXXVI 1832[19] Henry Nelson Coleridge Six Months in the West Indies[9]
XXXIX (2 vols.) 1834[19] Irving[19] Sketch Book[9]
XLI (6 vols.) 1834[19] Alexander Fraser Tytler[19] Universal History[9]
XLVII 22 September 1834.[19] Crofton Croker[19] Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, 2nd edition illustrated by Daniel Maclise[9][20]

Subsequent additionsEdit

In 1834 Murray sold out to Thomas Tegg.[21] Further volumes were added to the Library, under Tegg's management. There was a total of 80 volumes, by 1847.[22]

Volume Year Author Title
LII Daniel Defoe History of the Plague[9] Notes by E. W. Brayley[22]
LIII (2 vols.) Cyrus R. Edmonds Life and Times of George Washington[9]
LV Irving Knickerbocker's History of New York[9][22]
LVI (3 vols.) John Wesley A Compendium of Natural Philosophy[9]
LIX (2 vols.) Philippe-Paul de Ségur Bonaparte's Campaigns in Russia[9]
LXI 1837 Richard Alfred Davenport[23] Life of Ali Pasha, of Tepelini[9]
LXII Charles Macfarlane[24] Lives and Exploits of Banditti and Robbers[9]
LXIII Davenport[23] Sketches of Imposture, Decepture and Credulity[9]
LXIV 1838 Davenport[23] History of the Bastile[9]
LXV James Francis Hollings Life of Gustavus Adolphus[9]
LXVI Richard Thomson[22] Chronicles of London Bridge[9]
LXVII Charles Bucke Life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough[9]
LXVII 1839 Thomas Roscoe The Life and Writings of Miguel de Cervantes (1839), based on Martín Fernández de Navarrete.[25][26]
LXIX 1839 Hollings Cicero's Life[22][27]
LXX (2 vols.) 1840 Bucke Ruins of Ancient Cities[28][29]
LXXII 1840 William Edmonstoune Aytoun Life and Times of Richard I[22][30][31]
LXXIII 1840 Samuel Green Life of Mahomet[22][32][33]
LXXIV (2 vols.) Davenport Narrative of Perils and Sufferings[22][34]
(3 vols.) 1841 John Chetwode Eustace Classical Tour through Italy, 8th edition[22][35]
LXXIX Davenport Lives of Individuals who have Raised Themselves from Poverty to Eminence or Fortune[36]
LXXX 1842 Anonymous (William Johnson Neale) History of the Mutiny at Spithead and the Nore[37]


  • Scott Bennett, John Murray's Family Library and the Cheapening of Books in Early Nineteenth Century Britain, Studies in Bibliography Vol. 29, (1976), pp. 139–166. Published by: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. Stable URL:


  1. ^ a b Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Lockhart, John Gibson" . Dictionary of National Biography. 34. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ Robert A. Gross; Mary Kelley (2010). An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840. UNC Press Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-8078-3339-1. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  3. ^ N. N. Feltes (15 May 1989). Modes of Production of Victorian Novels. University of Chicago Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-226-24118-0. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  4. ^ Bennett, p. 162.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Philip Massinger (1830). The plays of Philip Massinger, adapted for family reading and the use of young persons. p. 3. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bennett, p. 163.
  7. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1900). "Williams, John (1792-1858)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 61. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  8. ^ Whyte, Hamish. "Cunningham, Allan". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6918. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad London catalogue; Robert Bent (1839). The London Catalogue of Books. p. 75. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  10. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Milman, Henry Hart" . Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  11. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Ferguson, Robert (1799-1865)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 18. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  12. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Parry, Caleb Hillier" . Dictionary of National Biography. 43. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bennett, p. 164.
  14. ^ a b Mrs. Marcet (Jane Haldimand) (1831). Bertha's visit to her uncle in England. J. Murray. p. 288. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  15. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Smedley, Edward" . Dictionary of National Biography. 52. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  16. ^ Sketches from Venetian history. John Murray. 1831. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  17. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Blunt, John James" . Dictionary of National Biography. 5. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  18. ^ The trials of Charles the First: and of some of the regicides. J. Murray. 1832. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bennett, p. 165.
  20. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Maclise, Daniel" . Dictionary of National Biography. 35. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  21. ^ Barnes, James J.; Barnes, Patience P. "Tegg, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27102. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i Appendix to the Bibliographer's manual of English literature.Containing an account of books issued by literary and scientific societies and printing clubs; books printed at private presses; privately printed series; and the principal literary and scientific serials. 8 August 1864.
  23. ^ a b c Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1888). "Davenport, Richard Alfred" . Dictionary of National Biography. 14. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  24. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Macfarlane, Charles" . Dictionary of National Biography. 35. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  25. ^ Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain) (1858). Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge: Second supplement. Knight & co. p. 448. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  26. ^ Catalogus Librorum Impressorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae in Academia Oxoniensi B. Bandinel. Typogr. Acad. 1851. p. 808. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  27. ^ The Quarterly Review (London). John Murray. 1839. p. 26. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  28. ^ Charles Bucke (1840). Ruins of Ancient Cities, 2: With General and Particular Accounts of Their Rise, Fall and Present Condition. Thomas Tegg. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  29. ^ Hugh James Rose; Samuel Roffey Maitland (1840). The British Magazine and Monthly Register of Religious and Ecclesiastical Information, Parochial History, and Documents Respecting the State of the Poor, Progress of Education, Etc. J. Petheram. p. 239. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  30. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1885). "Aytoun, William Edmonstoune" . Dictionary of National Biography. 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  31. ^ Bodleian Library; Alfred Hackman; Henry Cary; Arthur Browne (1851). Catalogus Librorum Impressorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae in Academia Oxoniensi. e Typographeo academico. pp. 58–. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  32. ^ Samuel Green (1840). The Life of Mahomet Founder of the Religion of Islam and If the Empire of the Saracens: With Notices of the History of Islamism and of Arabia. T. Tegg. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  33. ^ The Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c. W.A. Scripps. 1840. p. 351. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  34. ^ The Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c. W.A. Scripps. 1840. p. 695. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  35. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Eustace, John Chetwode" . Dictionary of National Biography. 18. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  36. ^ Bent's Literary Advertiser and Register of Engravings, Works on the Fine Arts. Hodgson. 1841. p. 95. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  37. ^ Samuel Halkett (1926). Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature. Ardent Media. p. 86. GGKEY:XNNP1DZ3NZG. Retrieved 30 September 2013.