Margaret A. Murray

Dates: 
1863-1963

British Egyptologist; she was born Calcutta, 13 July 1863, daughter of James C. M., an English businessman living in India, and Margaret Carr; she at first intended to go in for a nursing career, and in fact had to act as sister-in-charge of Calcutta General Hospital during an epidemic when only twenty-one, but abandoned this when she did not qualify in England, being too small for acceptance; she became the first full-time woman in Egyptology when she had been trained by Petrie (q.v.); she entered University College London, 1894, and studied under J. H. Walker (q.v.), F. Ll. Griffith (q.v.), and Petrie, becoming a junior lecturer in 1898; she was made lecturer 1899; Fellow of University College, 1922; Assistant Professor 1924- 35; Hon. DLitt, 1931; FSA (Scot.); FRAI; she assisted Petrie in his excavations in 1902; excavated in Malta, 1921-3; megalithic remains in Minorca, 1930-1; Nabatean Remains at Petra, 1937; joined Petrie and Mackay (q.v.) at Tell Ajjul, Palestine, 1938; her other great interests were in the field of witchcraft and folklore, she was President of the Folk- Lore Society, 1953-5; she published her first article in PSBA, 1895; her bibliography, see below, although not complete, lists over 80 books and articles on ancient Egypt, Guide to the collection of Egyptian antiquities in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art, 1903; The Osireion, 1904; Ancient Egyptian Legends,1904; Saqqara Mastabas, 2 vols. 1905, 1937; Elementary Egyptian Grammar, 1905; Elementary Coptic Grammar, 1911; The Tomb of Two Brothers, 1910; Index of Names and Titles in the Old Kingdom, 1908; Handbook of Egyptian Sculpture, 1930; Egyptian Temples, 1931; Coptic Reading Book, 1933; The Splendour that was Egypt, her bestselling work, 1949; Egyptian Religious Poetry, 1949; Seven Memphite tomb chapels, with H. F. Petrie, 1952 in addition she wrote sections in Petrie’s archaeological reports and was also responsible for a number of the plates in them; she published her last book, The Genesis of Religion, 1963, at the time of her centenary party which was held at University College London; she died in Welwyn, Herts., 13 Nov. 1963.