Eunice Guthrie Murray

21st January 1878 -26 March 1960


Eunice Guthrie Murray was born on the 21st January 1878 at Moore Park, Cardross, the youngest daughter of three to David Murray, a Glasgow lawyer (who with David Maclay and John Spens founded the Glasgow law firm Maclay Murray and Spens), and Frances Porter Stoddard, the daughter of an American family living in Port Glasgow.

Eunice was a lifelong supporter of civil rights, a leading light of the Scottish Suffragette movement and in 1918 Eunice became the first woman to stand in a parliamentary election in Scotland, as an independent candidate in Glasgow for the Bridgeton constituency, although she was unsuccessful, coming third.

Despite her defeat , Eunice was to continue to champion woman’s rights throughout her life, either through her writing or in person, for example in 1938, she chaired a Status of Woman conference in Glasgow, at which Helen Fraser was one of the speakers (Helen was one of the leading lights in the national suffragette movement along with Emmeline Pankhurst). Eunice was the author of many works including Scottish Women of Bygone Days (1930); A Gallery of Scottish Women (1935).

In 1923 she was elected on to Dunbartonshire county council, and in the same year she became the first president of the local Scottish Women's Rural Institute. It was during this tenure that Eunice made an impassioned plea for Scottish folk museums which she saw as an essential feature of a peaceful and civilised society, and being familiar with Continental folk museums, regretted their absence in Scotland. But she did not restrict herself to campaigning on local issues, for she was involved with the National Trust for Scotland soon after its inception, serving on its council and executive committee from 1931, and donating generously to many of its appeals.

Eunice left an indelible impression on all who met her, particularly the woman of all ages, creeds and religions that she fought so hard to represent. She is often quoted, with perhaps her most famous quote being: “Women have a two-fold calling, for not only are we as wives and mothers the guardians of the future, but we are also the custodians of the past.”

Eunice Murray, who never married, was appointed MBE in 1945. She died on 26 March 1960 from a stroke brought on by cardiovascular degeneration, at the family home, Moore Park in Cardross.

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