Daniel Alexander Payne Murray

Daniel Alexander Payne Murray

Daniel Alexander Payne Murray

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Daniel Alexander Payne Murray (1852-1925) Assistant librarian, Library of Congress; bibliographer, author, politician, and historian was the son of a freed slave. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 3, 1852. In 1861, he went to work at the United States Senate Restaurant managed by his brother who was also a caterer. Murray became the personal assistant to the Librarian of Congress, Ainsworth Rand Spofford at the age of nineteen. On April 2, 1879 he married Anna Evans with whom he had seven children. By 1881 he had risen to become assistant librarian. He joined the professional staff of the Library of Congress in 1871. He was eighteen years old, and only the second black American to work for the Library. Ten years later Murray was named assistant librarian, a position he held for forty-one years. Murray married educator Anna Jane Evans, and the couple became a major force in the social and civic life of the District of Columbia.

Murray began to compile a collection of books and pamphlets authored by African Americans at the request of Herbert Putnam, the successor to Spofford. The collection was to be an exhibition for the 1900 Paris Exposition on "Negro Authors". In 1900 Murray published a list of the collections' holdings to date and appealed for additions to the list through donations.

Within several months, his list had grown to eleven hundred titles. The Library of Congress's "Colored Authors' Collection" originated from his efforts. Now known...
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