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Murray H. Hall
(ca. 1831 - 1901) U.S.A.

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Murray Hall (born Mary Anderson in Scotland) was a New York politician and employment agency proprietor. She lived for years dressed as a man nd had been married twice. She died of untreated breast cancer and her secret was discovered only after her death.


Murray H. Hall, the woman who masqueraded as a man for more than a quarter of a century, and the secret of whose sex came out only after her death last Wednesday night at 145 Sixth Avenue, was known to hundreds of people in the Thirteenth Senatorial District, where she figured quite prominently as a politician. In a limited circle she even had a reputation as a "man about town," a bon vivant, and all-around "good fellow."

She was a member of the General Committee of Tammany Hall, a member of the Iroquois Club, a personal friend of State Senator "Barney" Martin and other officials, and one of the most active Tammany workers in the district.

She registered and voted at primaries and general elections for many years, and exercised considerable political influence with Tammany Hall, often securing appointments for friends who have proved their fealty to the organization - never exciting the remotest suspicion as to her real sex.

She played poker at the clubs with city and State officials and politicians who flatter themselves on their cleverness and perspicacity, drank whisky and wine and smoked the regulation "big black cigar" with the apparent relish and gusto of the real man-about-town.

Furthermore, Murray Hall is known to have been married twice, but the woman to whom she stood before the world in the attitude of a husband kept her secret as guardedly as she did.

The discovery of "Murray Hall's" true sex was not made until she was cold in death and beyond the chance of suffering humiliation from exposure. She had been suffering from a cancer in the left breast for several years, as Dr. William C. Gallagher of 302 West Twelfth Street, who attended her in her final illness, discovered; but she abjured medical advice for fear of disclosing her sex, and treated herself.

When she felt that life was at a low ebb she sent for Dr. Gallagher, the awful fear of exposure being supplanted by the dread of death. He made an examination and found that the cancer had eaten its way almost to the heart, and that it was a matter of only a few days, when death must ensue.

He kept this information from the patient, fearing the shock might hasten death. He deceived himself, for "Murray Hall" knew as well as Dr. Gallagher that the end was near. In years gone by, from time to time, "Murray Hall" had purchased volume after volume of works on surgery and medicine until she possessed a good medical library. Those books were studied, and the knowledge gleaned, no doubt, served to a good purpose in avoiding detection.

Three months ago most of this library was sold to C. S. Pratt, a book seller at 161 Sixth Avenue. The books found a ready sale among Mr. Pratt's customers, and there was only one left in his shop when a reporter called there yesterday. This was a volume on "The Science and Art of Surgery," by John Eric Erichsen, and was published in 1881.

The flyleaf of the book contained this inscription written a feminine hand in a lead pencil. "Cella Lin Hall, 128 Second Avenue, N.Y." Cella was the name of Murray Hall's second "wife," who died July 7, 1898. Her name was in all the books in Murray Hall's collection, but, according to all the book sellers along Sixth Avenue who knew her. It was the "husband" who made the purchases.


Source: excerpt from The New York Times, January 19, 1901

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