Janette S. Murray

Honored by:Winifred M. Kelley
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1874 - 1967

Janette S. Murray spent 60 years as a writer, lecturer, historian and community leader in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 1903-1963. Janette Stevenson Murray- lecturer, writer, historian and community leader for over 60 years in Cedar Rapids was born in 1874 near Traer in Tama County. Her Scottish parents were William Stevenson and Elizabeth Young Stevenson.

She graduated from Coe College in 1896 and took graduate English studies at Chicago University. She was a teacher and school principal until her marriage in 1902 to Frederick G. Murray M.D. a practicing physician in Cedar Rapids from 1903 to 1963.

In 1915-1916 she was a determined campaigner for voting rights for women. In 1917 she was appointed to a group of 12 Iowa women which established the Child Welfare Station at the University of Iowa. In 1923-1924 she was the president of the Cedar Rapids Board of Education at a time when few women in the United States held that responsibility. She was a pioneer in writing feature articles for women entitled "The Modern Mother in Home School and Community" which appeared each week in The Evening Gazette. In 1928-1929 she was again innovative in delivering 160 15-minute radio talks on child training aspects every Friday noon over KWCR.

As State P.T.A. Chairman of Parent Education she organized numerous study groups out of which came material for three 64-page booklets with the title "Stories From the Study Groups" which sold nationally. These books dealt with the pre-school child the school child and the adolescent.

During World War, II as president of the Cedar Rapids Area Branch of AAUW, Mrs. Murray chaired the effective post-war Planning Committee which held 316-meetings provided 47 speakers and involved 10,300 people. Hundreds of letters were sent to Washington urging a strong foreign policy, a just peace and the formation of a world organization where world problems could be arbitrated.

By 1947 Mrs. Murray had given more than 1500 talks on family relationships, Iowa history travel education and foreign affairs.

In 1950 she wrote "The Story of Cedar Rapids" with her husband Frederick G. Murray M.D. In 1953 she published the history of her Tama County birthplace in "They Came to North Tama." In the 60s she and her daughter Janet M. Fiske produced two books on Tama County "Hurrah for Bonnie Iowa" in 1963 and in 1966 "Bonnie Iowa Farm Folk".

In 1940, Janette Stevenson Murray was honored by her alma mater Coe College with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. In the 50s she received the national Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In 1947 she was named the American Mother for 1947 by the American Mothers Association and the Golden Rule Foundation.

Janette S. Murray died in Des Moines in 1967 and was survived by her husband and five children William, Eleanor, Shepherd, Edward, Janet Fiske and Winifred Kelley and 15 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Cedar Rapids.