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16 January 2009

Murray Hall (1841 - 1901) employment agent, political mover.

Mary Anderson was born in Govan, Scotland, but early orphaned. Later her brother, her only kin, also died, and she adopted his clothes and went to Edinburgh to find work as a man. The fact of his being female-bodied was discovered during an illness.

He emigrated to New York in 1871, and lived successfully as a man, Murray Hall. He married twice, and adopted a daughter.

The first wife disappeared mysteriously in the 1870s after complaining about his flirtations and womanizing.

The second wife, Cella, also complained of his womanizing, but then the daughter, Minnie, mysteriously appeared. Cella died in 1898.

He ran an employment agency for domestic servants, and also became involved with the Tammany politicians in New York, where he was a member of the General Committee, and was a personal friend of New York State Senator Barney Martin.

He was known as a man about town. Although slight and with a rather squeaky voice, he came across as very masculine, and drank and fought within the city political in-crowd. He always wore baggy, rather too large, clothes, and an overcoat even in summer.

He suffered cancer of the left breast for many years but avoided medical attention – he said that his declining health resulted from having been been knocked down by a bicycle on Fifth Avenue. He purchased a considerable library of medical and surgery books, which he used towards self-treatment and avoiding disclosure.

He was outed as female-bodied on his deathbed, when he finally did call a doctor.

*Not the hockey player.

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