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Judith Sargent Murray

Judith Sargent Murray

(1751–1820)

Occupation: Writer Class: The Better Sort Political scale : 6 or 7 Allowed in the OSH? No.


  • You are a talented writer, with a strong sense of justice. You feel that men and women should be educated equally.


  • You receive a typical “female” education in reading, writing, sewing, and religion but you are jealous of your brother’s extensive classical education.

You follow your heart and start writing. You use a male penname, “Mr. Vigilius,” for your essays, and a female penname, “Constantia,” for your poetry.

  • You and Sarah Wentworth Morton both start using the name “Constantia”

around the same time, and get into a dispute in the papers about it. She backs down in a few months and chooses a new penname.

  • You become so well-loved that by 1798, you are comfortable revealing to the world that both Mr. Vigilius and Constantia are you.
  • In your male penname, you write a series of essays called “The Gleaner.” These essays, printed in newspapers, are commentary on daily life and on society. They often include aphorisms and advice not unlike Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” – this was a popular style at the time. Occasionally, you discuss your belief that women should be educated as well as men in your essays.
  • By writing essays you are abandoning the traditional feminine sphere. Although you have a devoted following, you are considered to be a shocking woman.
  • You become one of the most successful writers of your time in your genre.
  • In 1798 you publish a book of Gleaner essays. You conduct an aggressive subscription campaign (at the time, it was common to purchase books on subscription – basically pre-ordering before the book is printed), and your book is very successful.
  • You and your father are both members of the emerging Universalist movement, a liberal Christian movement. Your second husband, John Murray, is the minister of your church.


Social NetworkEdit

  • George Washington (reader)
  • John Adams (reader)
  • Henry Knox (reader)
  • Mercy Otis Warren (reader)
  • John Stevens (first husband)
  • John Murray (second husband),
  • Sarah Wentworth Morton (rival)

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