NEWPORT, R.I. – The life and work of Rhode Island’s first female Superior Court Justice Florence Kerins Murray – popularly known as both “The Newport Judge” and “Island Girl” – will be the featured topic when the Museum of Newport Irish History hosts another in its Michael F. Crowley Lectures on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m.
Salve Regina University adjunct history professor Marian Mathison Desrosiers, who wrote her doctoral dissertation on Justice Murray, will present the lecture at La Forge Casino Restaurant, 186 Bellevue Ave. The presentation will include a video interview Desrosiers filmed with the late Justice Murray in 2001.
The event is free for Museum members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are required. Please call or e-mail Ann Arnold at 401-841-5493 or email@example.com
for more information.
Newporters may remember Justice Murray from her 20-year service as “The Newport Judge” on R.I. Superior Court, or for her two decades of tenure as the first woman Supreme Court Justice in Rhode Island. Most are not aware of the broad range of professional achievements and civic contributions of this Fifth Ward-raised member of the Kerins and Sullivan clans.
Among other accomplishments, Justice Murray taught in a one-room school house, was one of the first women to attend Boston University Law School, was the youngest lieutenant colonel in the Women’s Army Corp, and was a member of the Newport School Committee that built three new schools in the mid-20th century.
Despite the scope of her accomplishments, Justice Murray referred to herself as an “Island Girl,” and she chose to live in Newport and give back to the community that shaped and nurtured her.
Desrosiers is an independent scholar and adjunct professor of history and humanities at Salve Regina, where she earned her Ph.D. She is an executive board member of the National Council for Social Studies and a two-time Fulbright Scholar.
She has researched and written on 19th century Irish immigration, women in positions of leadership during wartime and in the judiciary, among other topics.
Following the lecture, a reception with light hors d’oeuvres will be held.