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Guide to the Murphy Family Papers
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Collection Overview
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The Murphy Family Papers, 1842-1910 (bulk 1850-1880), document the lives of the Murphy family before and after their arrival to the San Jose, California area. The records consist of correspondence, indentures, legal paperwork, bills, receipts, and maps of property that the family owned. This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. Martin Murphy, Jr.’s Papers, 1842-1885 (bulk 1850-1880); Series II. Murphy Family Miscellaneous Papers, 1846-1870 (bulk 1850-1870); and Series III. Murphy Family Friends, Relatives, and Business Associates, 1850-1889 (bulk 1850-1880).
The Martin Murphy family emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1820. In 1828, Martin Jr. (b. 1807) and his sister joined them. After a period in Missouri and in the Sacramento Valley, the family arrived in the San Jose area in 1844. They came to California with the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party, a pioneer wagon train that came to California over the Sierra Nevada two years before the journey of the Donner Party in 1846-1847. Shortly after arriving in Santa Clara, Martin Murphy, Sr. bought Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche in San Jose. Eventually, it came to be known as the “Twenty-One Mile” house and was a popular stop for travelers going between Santa Clara and San Jose. The Murphy family became landowners of vast territories in the San Francisco Bay Area through purchasing land owned by various old, californio families. Martin Murphy, Jr. eventually took up residence in Sunnyvale. Father of several sons, he was an advocate of education and an early financial supporter of Santa Clara College. Murphy's sons were among the earliest students at the college.Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.
4.27 linear feet, 7 boxes
Materials in Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives & Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.
Collection is open for research.