Built by Association: Lindley Murray

Lindley Murray’s English Grammar (8th ed. 1802) inscribed (to Samuel Miller) by “the author.”

Lindley Murray is best known as “the father of English grammar.” But before he earned that title, he practiced law in New York. In fact, he acted in the 1760s as the legal mentor of John Jay, who would later become the first Chief Justice of the United States. In 1785, Murray emigrated from New York to York, England. He gave up the practice of law and began writing grammar books in 1795. Over the next 50 years, he became the best-selling author in the world, with some 15 million copies of his literacy books then in print.

This copy of Murray’s Grammar is inscribed by the author to the noted Presbyterian theologian Samuel Miller (1769–1850) of Princeton Theological Seminary. Although the book contains the Miller family’s bookplate commemorating the donation, the university discarded the book in 2005.

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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