Murray, George Gilbert Aimé

Gilbert Murray (1866-1957) was educated at Merchant Taylors' and St John's College, Oxford. He won a fellowship at New College, Oxford (1888) and the following year accepted a professorship of Greek at Glasgow (held until 1899) where, as a teaching device, he began his translations of Greek drama, which went far in popularizing the Hellenic tradition. In 1905 he returned to New College as a fellow, and in 1908 was appointed regius professor in Oxford; he retired in 1936. He was a keen Liberal and internationalist: without renouncing his teaching he was a delegate for South Africa at the League of Nations in Geneva, from 1922 as a member (for eight years chairperson) of the Committee on Intellectual Co-operation, he founded the League of Nations Union, for which he was chairperson of the executive council (1923-38), and later was joint president (1945-47, 1949-57) and president (1947-9) of the United Nations Association. In the 1920s he unsuccessfully stood three times for Parliament for Oxford University; Harrod--who met him via his son Basil, and was a frequent visitor to his house--was his election agent. In a leaflet prepared for one such occasion, Harrod described Murray as follows:

"Professor Murray has combined in a unique way achievements of the highest distinction in scholarship and letters with a knowledge of practical experience of public affairs. [... He] has, perhaps more than any living man, succeeded in interpreting Greek literature and humane studies to large numbers who have had no chance of a university education. Professor Murray, whose Liberal opinions were known earlier in his career, has since the war carried on an active campaign of writing and public speaking throughout the country in the interest of peace. [...] While himself a Liberal, Professor Murray has been for ten years chairperson of the League of Nations Union, which is a non-party society. In that capacity he has worked day by day in the closest connection with Conservatives as well as with members of the Labour Party, while he served on the British Delegation at Geneva on the nomination of the Labour Government."

See list of letters .

Source: DNB ; R. F. Harrod, "Gilbert Murray: A Personal Recollection", The National and English Review, July 1957, pp. 25-27; Harrod, electoral leaflet for the 1929 election, signed by more than 50 personalities at Oxford (in HPBL 72734/141-142).


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