Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy

History professor Mary Murphy was named a Letters and Science Distinguished Professor at Montana State University, the highest honor the MSU College of Letters and Science bestows upon its faculty members. 

The three-year appointment recognizes Murphy's contributions to the college, MSU and the scholarly community at large, said Dean Nicol Rae. Murphy will give a public lecture in the spring.  

Murphy first came to Montana in 1980 to research the history of Butte for her doctoral thesis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught in MSU’s Department of History and Philosophy since 1990. In that time, she has won several awards for her teaching and scholarship, including the Wiley Award for meritorious research, and the Betty Coffey Award for contributions on behalf of women at MSU. She was the Michael P. Malone Professor of History from 2005-2010. 

Murphy is known for her engaging history books focusing on gender in Montana. She has published 10 books and book chapters, including "Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942," which won the Montana Book Award in 2003. Her "Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914-41," received the 1998 Barbara Sudler Award from the Colorado Historical Society and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Book in 1997.

Murphy has served on the boards for Humanities Montana and the Montana Historical Society. Humanities Montana named Murphy a Humanities Hero in 2012. Earlier this year, she received a Governor’s Humanities Award.

Murphy is currently researching the historic role of food in the American West as a way of tracing the history of women in the region. She is also collaborating on a Montana cookbook that will combine essays about food and cooking in Montana with recipes drawn from historical cookbooks.