Betty Herndon Maury

Betty Herndon Maury (external link) (1835–1903). Collection: Virginia Historical Society

Elizabeth "Betty" Herndon Maury (1835–1903) was born into a respected and well-to-do Virginia family. Her father, Matthew Fontaine Maury, who for some years served as the superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory, achieved international renown for his groundbreaking studies in oceanography and meteorology. In 1857, Betty married a cousin, William A. Maury. The couple had two daughters. With the coming of the Civil War, the various members of the Maury family unanimously placed their allegiances with the South. Matthew Fontaine Maury spent most of the conflict in London trying to procure ships for the Confederate navy. William A. Maury served as the Judge Advocate General of the Confederate States. Richard Maury, Betty's brother, was commander of the 24th Virginia Regiment. The diary that Betty Maury kept from 1861 to 1863 offers a close-up view on how the war affected the fortunes of a Southern family and the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Following the war, Betty moved with her husband to Washington, D.C., where he served in several administrations as the Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

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