A Guy Murchie Timeline

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Here’s a timeline of Guy Murchie’s life that I’ve constructed to help me understand his autobiography better. Page numbers are of The Soul School. Please consider this a work in progress. I expect to continue modifying it as I acquire new data. Enjoy!

  • 1907, January 25 — Born, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA.
  • 1925, October — Introduced to future wife Eleanor Parker. (pp. 37-9)
  • 1929 — Graduated from Harvard; began trip around the world.
  • 1930 — Completed trip around the world.
  • 1932 — Men on the Horizon published.
  • 1932, March — Married Eleanor Forrester Parker (b. 2 Oct 1880, Newark, New Jersey), AKA “Worgzle” and “Piggie”.
  • 1934 — Began work at the Chicago Tribune.
  • 1938 — Converted to the Bahá’í Faith after being assigned to write a story on the Wilmette temple (pg. 180).
  • 1939 — Divorced Eleanor … on amicable terms (Eleanor was 26 years his senior) (pg. 253-4, 306). See dedication to The Seven Mysteries of Life.
  • 1940, April 29 — Began working as the Chicago Tribune’s first war correspondent.
  • 1940, September 17 — Survived a fall from a bomb blast during the Battle of Britain.
  • 1940/1 — “Married” Josephine (Jogie) Egan, “an Irish midwife, a refugee from wartime England” (pp. xii, 251).
  • 1942 — Began working as a Navigation instructor.
  • 1942 — Divorced Josephine (Jogie) Egan (pp. 253–8).
  • 1942, December 23 — Married illustrator Barbara Cooney.
  • 1947, April — Barbara left with kids Gretel and Barnaby (pp. 288–9, 296, 355). According to a bio of Barbara, they simply divorced in March.
  • 1949, January — Married Katie Rautenstrauch, “a Prussian refugee from Hitler’s Germany” (pg. xii, 297).
  • 1953, April 21 — Son Jed died of a sudden illness. (pp. 307–8)
  • 1954 — Song of the Sky published. Astronomical content that didn’t make the cut would lead to next book, Music of the Spheres.
  • 1958, July 13 — I am a Bahá’í published in the Chicago Sunday Tribune. Appears to have been written earlier, while Shoghi Effendi was still living.
  • 1960, June 30 — First wife Eleanor (divorced) died in Newport, Rhode Island (age 79). (pg. 350)
  • 1961 — Music of the Spheres published. Began work on The Seven Mysteries of Life, beginning with material that didn’t make the cut for Music of the Spheres (pg. 352). Soviet cosmonauts orbit the earth (on two occasions).
  • 1963, April — Attended Bahá’í centennial jubilee in London with wife Katie. This may have sparked a greater interest on Murchie’s part for the Bahá’í Faith, and inspired him to write on its history.
  • 1964, February — Begins research on Bahá’í history project. Travels around Middle East and Persia.
  • 1964, May — Goes on Bahá’í pilgrimage.
  • 1978 — The Seven Mysteries of Life published.
  • 1979 — With his Bahá’í history project remaining, Murchie begins a two-year phase in his life as an active Bahá’í.
  • 1985 — Bahá’í history The Veil of Glory rejected by the Bahá’í governing body, the Universal House of Justice. Continued to work with the Bahá’í publishing trust to make the book acceptable (pp. 609-10).
  • 1986, May 3 — Death of Katie, wife of 37 years. Moved to California soon afterward.
  • 1987, May 6 — Married Marie in San Francisco, at the home of Marzieh and Harold Gail.
  • 1989 — Wrote the epilogue to his autobiography, The Soul School.
  • 1995 — The Soul School published.
  • 1997, July 8 — Died at a convalescent hospital in Fullerton, CA, at age 90. His wife Marie appeared to precede him in death. His second wife and mother of his children, Barbara, outlived him by three years.

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17 Responses to “A Guy Murchie Timeline”

  1. bruce brennan says:

    Fascinating man. I recently obtained a set of photographs of a summer camp in NH at Apple Hill in Nelson/ Munsonville NH suggesting he was involved in this camp. Anyone know more about this? I’d love to know!

  2. kaweah says:

    Hi Bruce. Yes, I’m quite sure that Murchie was involved with Apple Hill; in fact, I’ve read that he founded the camp. … Sorry about the late response. I have not been minding this blog like I should.

  3. Carl Lehmann-Haupt says:

    In the summer of 1953, when I was turning fifteen, I was hired by Guy Murchie as a camp counselor and riding instructor at Apple Hill. As camp director he styled himself “Uncle Guy,” and his wife was “Aunt Katie.” (Her mother did the cooking, which had a distinctly German flavor.) I worked there for two summers. Only years later did I find out who he was.
    The camp was international, and the kids and counselors came from all over. I remember Korean kids, an Armenian girl, an African American painter and art teacher named Dawson Durrett (sp?) and many others. A number of college professors and a budding minister were among the counselors.
    He would sometimes play the Moonlight Sonata at lunchtime. Even at fifteen I could hear that he wasn’t a real good pianist. But he tried everything. I remember a beautiful portrait of Katie done on a wooden panel.

  4. Tom Reed says:

    I thank everyone for this information. Guy was a very interesting person.

  5. Tom Reed says:

    Sorry. I was off one letter in my email.

  6. Ben Shor says:

    If you go onto Facebook, and search Apple Hill Camp in Groups, you will find the group that I set up. There is a link on the group page to the brochure that Guy Murchie created for Apple Hill Camp. It would be great if you would share some of the photos you have of the camp on that website. My brother and sister attended the camp the last year that the Murchee’s ran the camp. Then I attended the camp the next year with the new owners.

  7. Paul Curtin says:

    Thanks for posting this. I read his “Music of the Spheres” as a kid and re-read it a number of times. Really great stuff. I noticed the wikipedia article on Murchie is little more than a copy of his NY Times obit. You have much more info! Thanks again.

  8. Robert Wyckoff says:

    I also attended the camp the last year that Uncle Guy and Aunt Kate ran the camp. It was the summer I turned 9, in 1955. I also attended the following summer, when two women were running the camp, whom we knew as Aunt Bev and Aunt Alice. I remember one evening we all gathered on the hillside and Uncle Guy told us the story of Mohammed. It was a wonderful camp and a wonderful time. I would be interested to hear from any former campers from that time and especially to see any photos from then.

  9. dick kinsman says:

    Murchie wrote a forward for the book “One-One” by Dot Lemon, a pilot and astronomer/navigator.
    I am looking for connections between Murchie and Dot Lemon. Thanks

  10. kaweah says:

    Hi Dick. I read your article in EAA News. Quite a mystery! Good luck, and I’ll let you know if I ever come across more on Lemon and Murchie. -Dan

  11. dick kinsman says:

    Dan, Thanks for your reply re Dot Lemon and Murchie. He must have known her to write such a glowing forward in her book?? Dick

  12. dick kinsman says:

    Dan, Per your timeline, do you know where Murchie was instructing navigation in 1942??
    Dick K.

  13. PJ Foster says:

    Was extremely grateful to find this timeline of Guy’s life. I became good friends of Guy and Kate in early 1980. I remember his laboring over The Veil of Glory. I own all of his books, they are also signed. The only one I am missing is his autobiography. The Soul School? Is this his working title?
    I lost track of Guy after Kate died and he moved out to California. I handled much of their personal affairs during the period of Kate’s illness [cancer]. There was a time that both were in hospital beds. So much that I remmember about these two wonderful people.
    PJ F

  14. sonya bennett says:

    I am thinking of Guy this week. I became friends with him after reading “Seven Mysteries”… and stayed in their home in Keene several times. I stayed and cooked for Guy when Katie fell down the steps and broke her hip. I have a collection of letters from Guy over a span of about 7 or 8 years. He called me and a friend Keitha to ask if we would prepare Katie’s memorial… I will never forget what a wonderful person he was… We stayed with him that week and made the food for the event and planned the program… We sat outside his wonderful home on blankets and everyone told stories about Katie and Guy.
    One of our strong connections was the Bahai faith… One of the funniest stories came from Katie who interviewed several of us as a possible marriage to Guy when she learned she was dying… the list was quite long. I loved it that she was still ‘controlling’ him even in death… and anyone who knew Guy, knew he would go along with her and then do what he really wanted to do. loving this new information… sonya

  15. igneous1 says:

    Wow, Sonya. It’s an honor to hear from a friend of Mr. Murchie (not sure I can get away with calling him Guy, seeing as I never met him). That’s a great story about Katie matchmaking for him.

  16. I only realized about ten years ago who Uncle Guy was. I found and read several of his books. I was a camper at Apple Hill the last year he ran the camp with Aunt Kate and the following year when it was run by Aunt Bev and Aunt Alice. I remember him telling a story one evening on the hillside of Mohammed, how he was captured and sentenced to die before a firing squad and miraculously escaped. For years I thought he had told a story of Mohammed the prophet of Islam. Then I discovered the story of Siyyid Alí Muḥammad Shírází and realized that he was the Muhammad that Uncle Guy was telling us about! Uncle Guy and his story and the camp that he created had a profound effect upon my life and I have been looking for years for people who remember this.

  17. I would very much like to hear from anyone who was a camper or who knew Guy Murchie. You can contact me at rwyckoff46@gmail.com.

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