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Series V: Objects, 1915-1967

Call Number: YCAL MSS 468, Series V

Scope and Contents

This series consists of everyday objects that provide evidence of Sara and Gerald Murphy's lifestyle. The objects' significance range from the sentimental, such as Sara Murphy's wedding shoes, to the practical, such as household items and the splatter mask worn by Frederic Murphy in World War I, to the playful, such as children's toys and costume jewelry.

The subseries Clothing and Other Accessories consists of shoes, gloves, headwear, fans, belts, and handkerchiefs. The subseries also contains a black sequined mask, illustrating the Murphys' enjoyment of costumes. In addition to Sara Murphy's white satin wedding shoes, the subseries has a number of her fans, including French paper fans with graphic designs. Several pairs of Gerald Murphy's gloves are part of the subseries, in various styles such as leather Western gloves to white suede gloves, as well as alligator leather and embroidered belts.

The Bags subseries encompasses a number of styles, such as clutches, handbags, briefcases, and duffel bags, produced by the Mark Cross Company and stored within original merchandise bags. Most notably, the Bag subseries contains an iconic “feed bag” shoulder bag designed by Gerald Murphy for the Mark Cross Company (and stamped with his initials). Gerald Murphy's monogrammed briefcases and other business-oriented items are part of the subseries. The bags largely date from the late 1930s to the 1950s and are generally in poor condition for the reason that they were actively used by the family.

The subseries Watches, Jewelry, and Eyewear is largely comprised of traveling clocks, costume jewelry, and opera glasses. The traveling clocks, which fold into leather cases, are largely French made. Pocket watches, both made by the Mark Cross Company, as well as a Cartier wristwatch are part of the subseries. The Murphys' monogrammed cigarette cases vary in materials, and include one made out of tortoiseshell and others of wood. Necklaces, bracelets, brooches and several clips are for the most part made of semi-precious stones, glass, metal, and plastic, however some are made from pearls and gold. Feathers for Gerald Murphy's hats and monogrammed buttons, cuff links, collar buttons, and collar pins provide evidence of earlier periods of dress as well as the Murphys' interest in fashion. Sara Murphy's Mark Cross leather key pouch, and a hand-painted key ring are also part of the subseries. In addition to opera glasses, eyewear in the subseries consists of a pince-nez and folding spectacles.

The Household Objects subseries contains silver accessories, barware, tableware, and picture frames. The barware in particular is notable as it relates to Gerald Murphy's reputation for mixing unique cocktails. Bottle openers, corkscrews, a measuring cup, fruit presses, juicers, swizzle sticks, and other accoutrements attest to the Murphys' hosting activities. Table linens and napkin rings also provide insight into the Murphys' style. Leather-bordered picture frames and mirrors, produced by Mark Cross Company, provide further examples of Mark Cross Company goods as well as decorations from the Murphys' homes. Sewing-related material, including a pin cushion and various needles, straight pins, and thread, are also part of the subseries.

The Children's Toys and Sports Equipment subseries represents, in particular, the interests of Patrick Murphy. Of particular significance is a Tech-Bilt etching set with original etching pens, ink roller, and plastic plates with Patrick Murphy's etching of Ernest Hemingway in Western garb (the print is located in the Other Papers subseries of the Personal Papers series). A cartridge belt, complete with bullets, knives, and a compass, reflect Patrick Murphy's interest in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Hemingway, who taught the Murphy children to ski, gave the children a set of sealskin ski brakes, which are located in this subseries.

The subseries Other Objects is broad in scope and contains Frederic Murphy's splatter mask worn during World War I and a cigar box from Gerald Murphy's painting “Cocktail.” Several items relating to the Mark Cross Company can be found in this subseries, including a lucite rendering of the Mark Cross logo as well as a plaque presented to Gerald Murphy at the centenary of the company. Mark Cross leather products, including photo albums and scrapbooks, are also part of the Other Objects subseries. Several items reflecting the Murphys' lifestyle are the flag and key for their sailing boat, the Weatherbird, as well as the printing plates and calling cards produced for the couple by Tiffany. Everyday objects found in the subseries include a miniature travel razor with razor blades, clothing labels, and whimsical dog collars in bejewelled and “black tie” designs.


  • 1915-1967

Physical Description

20.59 linear feet (26 boxes)

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection: The materials are open for research.

Boxes 93-97, 169, 229-230, and 173-198, 237 (audiovisual material) Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 170-171 (clippings): Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Boxes 199-204 and 220 (photograph negatives): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information. Preservation prints for reference use are available in the digital library.


The series is organized into six subseries: Clothing and Other Accessories; Bags; Watches, Jewelry, and Eyewear; Household Objects; Children's Toys and Sports Equipment; and Other Objects.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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