Sir James Murray

Sir James Augustus Henry Murray was born February 7th, 1837 in Denholm in Scotland. From 1855 to 1885 he worked as a grammar-school teacher. In 1862 he married the infant school music teacher Maggie Scott. Two years later their daughter Anna was born who died soon afterwards of consumption. Murray’s wife fell ill as well and Murray tried to take care of her as good as he could. Only three years after the birth and death of their daughter Maggie died as well. Murray had loved her deeply and it was not an easy time for him. ‘A marriage, a birth, two deaths – all in three short years! … and I was left alone in London, doing uncongenial work.’
One year later he met George Ruthven who introduced him to his daughter, Ada Ruthven. Murray and Ada got along very well and in the same year they got married. Ada Ruthven was his companion and helpmeet for the rest of his days. She was very supportive and much more in tune with his social and intellectual needs. Together they had six sons and five daughters.
During this time Murray was already very interested in the English language. He even wrote an article for the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the English language in 1878 and served as president of the Philological Society (1878–80, 1882–84). From 1879 until his death in 1915 he worked on the now called ‘Oxford English Dictionary’. He was the third editor of this dictionary. It was the biggest dictionary in that time in England which he worked on with all his might.
Because of his achievements as lexicographer and editor he was knighted in 1908. On July 26th, 1915 he died in Oxford, Oxfordshire.
(Winchester, p.78-79)

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