Elizabeth Dunbar Murray

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Elizabeth Dunbar Murray
Born(1877-10-25)October 25, 1877
DiedMay 19, 1966(1966-05-19) (aged 88)
Occupationauthor and educator

Elizabeth Dunbar Murray (25 October 1877 – 19 May 1966) of Natchez, Mississippi, was an author, director, impersonator, and conducted the Murray School of Expression.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Murray was the eldest daughter of William Forman and Mary Conway Shields Dunbar, born at her parents' home "Birdsnest" in Natchez, Mississippi.[2][3] She was the granddaughter of Judge Joseph Dunbar Shields, the author of The Life and Times of S.S. Prentiss.[4] She was the grand-niece of the historian Colonel J.F.H. Claiborne.[2][4] Elizabeth Dunbar married Alexander Murray (of Canada) on 16 April 1901.[5]

She graduated from the Natchez Female College and the Boston School of Expression.[4] She taught at both schools as well. As an author, she wrote books about Natchez local history: Early Romances of Historic Natchez[3] and My Mother Used to Say: A Natchez Belle of the Sixties.[6]


Murray was an advocate for the prosperity of Natchez through the presentation of historical accounts and pageantry.[4] She served as President of the Dramatic Club in Natchez.[7] She was a member of Natchez community organizations and authored letters to the editor of the Natchez Democrat, empowering women of Natchez and creating social impact prior to women's right to vote.[4]

The Elizabeth Dunbar Murray House

Murray directed the first play presented at the opening of Memorial Hall in Natchez on 18 April 1922.[8] She had a residence studio for her pupils in expression at her home, located at 800 North Union Street.[4] The home was built for Murray 1906 (estimated date)[9] and is located in the Upriver Residential District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.[10] Murray lived in the home until her death in 1966. She conducted the Murray School of Expression for forty five years at her home.[11]



  1. ^ Natchez Democrat, 14 December 1921, page 5.
  2. ^ a b The Journal of Mississippi History, William David McCain Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1961.
  3. ^ a b Early Romances of Historic Natchez, Natchez, Mississippi: Natchez Print and Stationery Company, 1950.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Natchez Democrat, 22 March 1917, page 36.
  5. ^ The Times Democrat, 7 April 1901, page 20.
  6. ^ My Mother Used to Say: A Natchez Belle of the Sixties, Boston: Christopher Publishing House, 1959.
  7. ^ Natchez Democrat, 5 December 1909, page 14.
  8. ^ Natchez Democrat, 26 March 1922, page 5.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form" (PDF). Mississippi Department of Archives and History. 1 December 1983. p. 35 (PDF p. 39). Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  11. ^ Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817–1967 by James B. Lloyd, University Press of Mississippi, 1981.

External links[edit]