Mayor Declares May 1 “Judith Sargent Murray Day”


Gloucester, MA’ On Friday May 1, the Sargent House Museum will host an evening birthday celebration for Judith Sargent Murray, in honor of this revolutionary American woman writer and thinker. Murray, born in Gloucester on May 1, 1751, would be 258 years old if she were alive today. The birthday celebration will feature a keynote address at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist church in Gloucester by Roz Barnett, a distinguished author and researcher on women’s work and family lives. It will be followed by cake and champagne, and a short dramatic reading of a selection from Murray’s life-long collection of letters at the museum.

On Saturday May 2 the Museum will offer free admission to visitors who bring birthday cards for Judith Sargent Murray. The Museum encourages families to bring daughters and others to the museum to help us celebrate Judith’s birthday.

Dr. Barnett is a Senior Scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and Executive Director of its Community, Families & Work Program. Her articles have appeared in both academic journals and in general publications like The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Working Woman. She is the recipient of several national and International awards, including the Radcliffe College Graduate Society’s Distinguished Achievement Medal, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s 1999 Goldsmith Research Award. In 2008, Dr. Barnett was awarded the 2008 Anne Roe Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This award was created in 1979 and named for Anne Roe, a leading researcher concerned with the development of careers for women.

Rockport native the Rev. Sarah Clark, a Unitarian Universalist minister who has an extensive background in theater arts will present the dramatic reading of Judith Sargent Murray’s letters in the Museum.

About the Sargent House Museum and Judith Sargent Murray
The mission of the Sargent House Museum is to engage the public in the life, times, writings and home of Judith Sargent Murray, pioneering advocate of women’s education and equality.

A beautiful example of high-style Georgian domestic architecture, the house was built in 1782 for John Stevens and Judith Sargent (Stevens) Murray (1751-1820). Gloucester native, playwright, poet and essayist, Judith Sargent Murray was a pioneering voice in her own lifetime for the education of women and girls.
Murray was born in Gloucester into a prominent seafaring family and through years of dedicated work gained recognition during her lifetime in literary and political circles. She was married twice, first to John Stevens, a merchant sea captain who built the house, and then to the Reverend John Murray, first minister of an organized Universalist congregation in America. She is noted as one of this country’s earliest feminist writers, a recognition she secured with the 1790 publication of her essay “On the Equality of the Sexes.”