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Guide to the Thomas E. Murray family papers ARC.064

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-222-4111
library@brooklynhistory.org


Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Matthew Gorham and Nicholas Pavlik

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 01, 2011
English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Additional content created by Emily Reynolds,  , January 13, 2011

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Murray, Thomas E., (Thomas Edward), 1860-1929
Creator: Murray, Thomas E., 1891-
Title: Thomas E. Murray family papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1898-1987
Abstract: The Thomas E. Murray family papers contain materials pertaining to the lives and careers of several members of the Murray family and span the period 1860 to 1929. Materials include biographical writings, memorial albums, newspaper clippings, and several photographs. Thomas Edward Murray (1860-1929), an engineer, was second vice president and general manager of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company, later known as the Brooklyn Edison Company. Murray also established several companies of his own and held over 1,100 patents. Murray's son, Thomas E. Murray, Jr. (b. 1891), worked as an engineer at the New York Edison Company for two years before joining his father's firm, the Metropolitan Engineering Company, of which he became president following his father's death. Like his father, Thomas E. Murray, Jr. was a prolific inventor and over 200 patents were issued in his name.
Quantity: 0.42 Linear feet in one manuscript box.
Mixed materials [Box]: ARC.064 1 of 1
Call Phrase: ARC.064
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Biographical/Historical note

Thomas Edward Murray was born in Albany, New York on October 21, 1860 to parents John and Anastasia Murray. He attended public school until the age of nine, when his father passed away and he was compelled to enter the workforce. While attending night school, he worked in the drafting rooms of many architects and engineers in Albany, N.Y., completed a machinist apprenticeship, and in 1881 became an operating engineer at the pumping plant of the Albany Waterworks.

In 1887 Murray married Catherine Bradley of Brooklyn, N.Y. and was put in charge of the power station of the Municipal Gas Company of Albany. In the ensuing years he was called upon as a consulting engineer at power stations throughout the state of New York, and in 1895, Murray moved his family to Brooklyn when he was hired to oversee the formation of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company, later known as the Brooklyn Edison Company.

Murray was ultimately appointed second vice president and general manager of the company, and in this capacity he oversaw the construction of many electric power stations in New York City, including the East River Generating Station, which still supplies power to the city in the present day. Murray also established several companies of his own, including Thomas E. Murray, Inc., the Metropolitan Device Corporation, the Metropolitan Engineering Company, and the Murray Radiator Company. The holder of over 1,100 patents, Murray's many inventions included electrical protection devices, copper radiators, cinder catchers, pulverized fuel equipment, and automatic welding devices. Thomas E. Murray died on July 21, 1929 and was survived by his wife and eight children.

Murray's son, Thomas E. Murray, Jr., was born in 1891 and followed in his father's footsteps, earning a bachelor's degree in engineering from Yale University at age 19. He worked as an engineer at the New York Edison Company for two years before joining his father's firm, the Metropolitan Engineering Company, of which he became president following his father's death in 1929. Like his father, the younger Murray was a prolific inventor and over 200 patents were issued in his name. In 1950, he was appointed to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission by President Harry S. Truman, and served on the Commission until 1957. Thomas E. Murray died in 1961 and was survived by his wife Mary (nee Brady) and 11 children, including Paul Murray, who donated the materials that comprise this collection.

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Scope and Contents

The Thomas E. Murray family papers contain materials pertaining to the lives and careers of several members of the Murray family, particularly Thomas E. Murray, Sr. and Thomas E. Murray, Jr., and span the period 1860 to 1929. Items include two memorial albums published on the occasion of the elder Thomas E. Murray's death; biographical material on the elder Thomas E. Murray and Daniel Bradley; a transcript of an interview with Thomas E. Murray, Jr.'s son, Paul B. Murray; newspaper clippings pertaining to the Murray family's history; a series of landscape photographs depicting various locales in and around the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, circa 1890 to 1900; and a series of photographs depicting the manufacturing of welded mortar shells at the Murray Manufacturing Co., aerial views of the company's facilities, company employees and engineers, a group photograph in which the elder Thomas E. Murray stands center with Thomas Edison, and a signed photograph of Edison addressed to the elder Thomas E. Murray. These latter photographs date from circa 1925 to 1945.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Edison, Thomas A., (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931
  • Murray, Paul B.
  • Murray, Thomas E., (Thomas Edward), 1860-1929
  • Murray, Thomas E., 1891-

Document Type

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Subject Organizations

  • Consolidated Edison Company of New York, inc.
  • Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York.

Subject Topics

  • Electric power production -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Engineers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Inventors -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Weapons industry -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use note

Reproduction rights for photographs have not been established. Please consult library staff for more information.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Thomas E. Murray family papers, ARC.064, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Other Finding Aids note

Item-level descriptions and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the image database in the library. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Paul B. Murray, 1988.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the collection level.

The collection combines the accessions 1988.007, V1988.003, V1991.093, and V1992.024.

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