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MURDOCH, MARIAN E.

MURDOCH, MARIAN E. (9 Oct. 1848-28 Jan. 1943) served with FLORENCE BUCK as joint ministers of the First Unitarian Society of Cleveland, 1893-1899.

Born in Garnavillo, Iowa to Judge Samuel and Louisa (Patch) Murdoch, Marian attended Evanston College for Women, Fayette College (Iowa), The University of Wisconsin (1868-1869), and Boston University's School of Oratory and Literature (1875). Murdoch taught in Dubuque, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska before entering the Meadville Theological School in 1882. When Murdoch received a B.D. degree in 1885, she became the first woman to earn this degree from Meadville. She returned to do post-graduate work in 1891, then studied for a year in England at Manchester College and Oxford University.

Murdoch was ordained on 1 Sept. 1885 in Humboldt, Iowa where she performed her first duties as a minister over the next five years. In 1893 Buck and Murdoch were called by the First Unitarian Society of Cleveland to serve as joint ministers of the First Unitarian Church (Unity Church). During their tenure the church prospered, growing to 80 members.

In 1899 Buck and Murdoch resigned in order to travel and study in Europe. Returning to the U.S., Murdoch lived in Geneva, IL. from 1904-1906, joined Florence Buck in Kenosha, WI. in 1906, then moved to California in 1911 where she was actively involved with All Soul's Unitarian Church.

Murdoch was a published poet and author of The Hermit Thrush, as well as a teacher of art, literature, and public speaking. She died in Santa Monica.


Morton, Marian. Women in Cleveland: An Illustrated History (1995).