Papers of Sir William Lindsay Murphy

Scope and Content

  • Letters, diaries and other papers relating to Ceylon, 1911-1942
  • Photographs and press cuttings relating to Ceylon, c1910-1961
  • Letters and photographs relating to Bermuda, 1941-1947
  • Press cuttings relating to Bermuda, 1942-1945
  • Diaries kept in the Bahamas, 1945-1948
  • Correspondence relating to the Bahamas, 1945-1949
  • Appointments as Governor, awards of decorations, and photographs of the Bahamas, 1935-1959
  • Photographs relating to the Bahamas, 1941-1949
  • Printed materials and press cuttings relating to the Bahamas, 1945-1983
  • Album and scrapbook relating to the Bahamas, 1945-1949
  • Diaries, correspondence and speeches relating to the Bahamas, and to the journey to SouthernRhodesia, 1945-1949
  • Correspondence and printed material relating toSouthern Rhodesia, and to pensions, 1942-1968
  • Diaries written in Rhodesia,1951-1957
  • Correspondence relating to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, 1949-1983
  • Invitation cards; papers concerning the Capricorn Africa Society, 1951-1958
  • Papers relating to the United Rhodesia Party, the Advisory commission under Lord Monckton for the review of the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia, and to Church affairs,1958-1972
  • Correspondence, memoranda, etc. on education in Rhodesia, 1957-1979
  • Reports, lists and accounts relating to Kiltullagh School,Rhodesia, 1971-1976
  • Correspondence relating to Kiltullagh School, 1964-1983
  • Reports and correspondence on children being supported at various schoolsin Rhodesia, 1970-1977
  • Printed material relating to the new hospital inJerusalem, and to special services in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, 1952-1981
  • Printed material relating to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, 1951-1983
  • Press cuttings relating to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, 1949-1983
  • Correspondence and printed material relating to LadyMurphy's move back to England, to holidays in England, and to Ireland,1922-1983
  • Photographs of copper mines in Rhodesia, c1950s
  • Editions ofRhodesian/Zimbabwean newspapers, 1964-1980

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Lindsay Murphy (1887-1965), colonial administrator, entered the Ceylon Civil Service in 1910, rising to the rank of Principal Assistant Colonial Secretary, 1928 and Chairman, MunicipalCouncil and Mayor of Colombo, 1932-1937. He was posted to Bermuda as Colonial Secretary, 1942-1945 and became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of theBahamas, 1945-1949. He retired briefly in 1949, then served as ActingGovernor of Southern Rhodesia, 1954 and Acting Governor of SouthernRhodesia and Acting Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, Rhodesia andNyasaland, 1957. Awarded the KCMG and a Knight of the Order of St. John, he was Director of Rhodesian Selection Trust Ltd., Mufulira Copper Mines Ltd. andother companies in the same group from 1953. In 1922 he married Betty Mary Ormsby, with whom he had three sons and two daughters.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 604 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford,Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996). A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.


Three photographs were donated to the library by Lady Murphy on 9th September1986. Additional papers concerning Sir William and Lady Murphy, with related photographs, were donated to the library by Lady Murphy in August 1989.