Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, a young boy named Bruce Murray moved with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began his fascination with the art of photography at the age of twelve with a "dollar Brownie" camera and a developing kit.
After finishing school, the young man was employed as a driver for the old Philadelphia newspaper, The Public Ledger. He always made time to read the headlines about the bitter fighting of the conflagration that had become known as World War I. He felt he would like to be closer to the news side of his paper but his daily duties consisted of rushing photo negatives and news copy from photographers to the newsroom. It gave young Bruce an idea of newspaper speed that he would never forget.
One day he observed another vehicle that had over-turned, trapping its occupant inside. Along with other bystanders, he lifted the vehicle and extricated the injured driver, but the physical effort was so great that Murray was sidelined for a time. While recovering, the young driver began haunting the picture room of The Ledger. It was an era when the newspapers were making greater use of the ever-improving art and technology of photography and before long Murray was accepted as a full-fledged photographer.
For over four decades his work with The Ledger, and later The Evening Bulletin, earned him recognition as one of the best in his field. In the years between the two World Wars, he photographed hundreds of stirring events and world-famous figures. Many times Murray risked life and limb to get the photograph he wanted. Nicknamed "The Old Master," he won many awards for his work. His subjects varied from presidents and generals to children and flappers, as well as judges and composers to everyday people and landscapes.
The sports world, though, always had a certain fascination for Murray. He particularly loved baseball and enjoyed spending time at the Philadelphia A's Shibe Park or the Phillies' Baker Bowl. He was also part of the spring training camp scene every year in Florida. Murray made movies for the A's and still photographs for the newspapers.
In addition to his ingenious photography, Murray had a wry sense of humor and a great facility for making friends. The late Connie Mack was one of them. Mr. Mack, the famous manager of the Athletics for over half a century, was a retiring man, given to social formalities. Mr. Mack bestowed upon Mr. Murray a rare Mack accolade of addressing him by his first name, "Bruce." Seldom was anything that "Bruce" asked, denied him by Mr. Mack.
Murray was there to capture the legends of the game, including the immortals of the 1927 Yankees: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. He was there when Mack had his magnificent 1929-31 team that featured Hall-of-Famers: Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Eddie Collins. Another favorite of Murray's was the infamous Ty Cobb. Cobb had a reputation for being difficult to interview or photograph, but Murray always found him receptive. All time greats like Honus Wagner, Johnny Evers and Tris Speaker also found themselves in Murray's sites.
Mr. Murray was a founding father and a president of the Philadelphia Press Photographers Association, the second oldest association of its kind. After 45 years as a professional photographer, Bruce Murray retired to Florida in 1958, and passed away in 1969 at the age of 76.
Mr. Murray's family has taken every measure to preserve his works so that we may all enjoy them today. Bruce Sr.'s work was included in the Sports Illustrated book "20th Century Sports - Images of Greatness." The photo collection has been featured nationally on QVC, the Yes Network and Fox Television networks. The photos have been involved with many charity organizations such as the Red Cross, ALS, Alzheimer's Assn., Aids Coalition and the M.S. Society. The photos are also part of the permanent collections of such institutions as the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Thomas Edison Museum, the Babe Ruth Museum, the Franklin Institute and the International Boxing Hall of Fame. They are part of the private collections of many notables such as Reggie Jackson, Tom Hanks, Larry King, Gary Sinise, Les Paul and John Goodman. We hope that you enjoy these photographs as much as Bruce Murray enjoyed taking them.