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Murat, Prince Charles Louis Napoleon Achille Papers by Alfred Jackson Hanna

Identifier: SP-Murat

Scope and Contents

The collection contains A.J. Hanna's correspondence and research documentation for his book A Prince in Their Midst.  Published in 1946, it was given to Rollins College Library on June 14, 1948, by A.J. Hanna. The collection is a mixture of original documents and photocopies of biographical sketches, correspondence and documentation by and about the Murat family and friends, newspaper clippings, photographs, legal records, and memorabilia.  The Murat letters are written in English, French, German, and Italian.  The documents are of a personal and professional nature.


  • Created: 1814-1948
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1930-1946
  • Other: Date acquired: 02/06/1949


Conditions Governing Access

Open access

Conditions Governing Use

The status of copyright on the materials from the A. J. Hanna Research Collection of Achille Murat is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Biographical or Historical Information

Prince Charles Louis Napoleon Murat was born in Paris on January 21, 1801.  His father was Joachim Joseph Andre Murat, King of Naples.  His mother, Caroline Murat, nee Bonaparte, was the younger sister of Napleon. During the Risorgimento in Italy, Joachim Murat was killed and his family expelled.  Caroline Murat and her children fled to Austria in 1815, where they lived for many years.  Murat was put in the care of Thibaudeau, who was a supporter of Napoleon, and from him Murat learned to despise the reactionary system that dictated the course of European politics at that time.  Murat adopted republican ideas and bacame an avid supporter of the rights of man.  He dreamed of living in America because he believed that there was the true place where republican ideals were put into practice. In 1822 the Austrian government gave Murat the opportunity to go to America under the condition that he had to ask permission from the Austrian govenment should he wish to return.  He arrived in New York in 1823 and applied for citizenship.  He lived with his uncle, Joseph Bonaparte, the former King of Spain, in Bordentown, New Jersey, where he met Joseph Hopkinson, and through him other influential Americans in Philadelphia.  Murat was inspired by these people and began studying the American political system. Murat left Bordentown and began his travels in America.  In hopes to learn more about the AMerican political system, Murat went to Washington, D.C., where he learned about the great opportunities that the southern frontier had to offer.  Murat decided to go to Florida to begin a new life, a new career, and became an avid supporter of the South. In 1824 Murat bouth land near St. Augustine, the plantation Parthenope, where he grew tobacco.  Murat left Parthenope in 1825 and moved to Jefferson County, Florida.  There, he acquired land between Wacissa and Tallahassee and named the new plantation Lipona in honor of his mother (Lippona being an anagram of Napoli).  At Lipona he grew sugar and herded cattle. In 1826 Murat met and married Catharine Willis Gray from Virginia, the widowed great-grandniece of George Washington.  With her he traveled to Europe in 1831 in an attempt to re-enter political life; Murat believed that the revolution in July 1830 would have implications for Naples and perhaps open the door for the Murats once more. Murat joined the Belgian army and organized a foreign legion for them.  He took part in the campaign at Ath and remained there for two months.  After that, Murat took leave, rejoined his wife in London, and then the two returned to America. Once back in America Murat began staudying law intensively.  He was admitted to the bar and practiced in New Orleans and North Florida.  Governor William P. Duval, the territorial Governor of Florida, appointed Murat as judge of Jefferson County. Murat was involved in a myriad of activities--he was a lawyer, planter, county judge, candidate for office, Indian fighter, Vice Consul of Mexico for the ports of Florida, bank director, Postmaster, speculator in Texas lands, president of a canal company, translator, traveler, and author. Achille Murat died on April 18, 1847 at his plantation in Jefferson County.  He was buried at St. Johns Cemetery in Tallahassee.  After Murat's death, his wife was received as a guest at the court of France, but shortly returned to her plantation, now renamed Belle Vue, to live out the remainder of her days.  Catharine Murat died on August 6, 1867 and was buried next to her husband.

Note written by


4.50 Linear Feet

5.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The original provenance of the collection was lost. It is now arranged by subject. The collection is divided into six series, with each series being further divided into sub-series. Series 1 provides biographical information collected by Professor Hanna about the Murat and Willis families. The sub-series are as follows: Achille Murat; Marriage of Achille Murat to Catharine Willis Gray; Murat, Catharine Willis Gray and family; Murat family; Murat, Joachim Joseph Andre; Murat, Caroline Bonaparte and family; Murat, Lucien; Murat, Caroline Fraser and family Series 2 provides a glimpse into Murat's geographical journey through life, from childhood, to exile, to frontiersman in America. The sub-series are as follows: Naples; Austria; New York; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Virgina; Journey south; North Carolina; Florida; Louisiana Series 3 delves into topics that were of great interest to Murat and directly influenced how he lived his life. The sub-series are as follows: Property; Slavery; Law Practice; Military; Foreign Affairs; Politics; Religion Series 4 provides information about Murat's writings and those who influenced his thinking; there is also included documentation regarding Murat and his family. The sub-series are arranged as follows: Friends of Achille Murat; Digests from Murat; Writings of Murat; Murat's Books; Letters; Manuscript; Collections; Magazines; Newspapers Series 5 relates to Professor Hanna's published book. This series includes Professor Hanna's fact-checking, correspondence related to the publication of his book, and items regarding the Murat Celebration held at Rollins College in 1933. Also included in this series is the original manuscript of A Prince in Their Midst. Series 6 is the graphics series in the collection. This series contains a copy of the Murat family's coat of arms, pictures and reproductions of portraits of members of the family, and photographic plates of the Prince and Princess Murat.

Source of Acquisition

Alfred Jackson Hanna

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Alfred Jackson Hanna, A prince in Their Midst: the Adventurous Life of Achille Murat on the American Frontier.  DC216.95 .M8 H3. 1946. Alfred Jackson Hanna, An American Prince. F315 .H36 1933

Archon Finding Aid Title
Akos Delneky/Rebecca Rieve
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Rollins College Archives & Special Collections Repository

Rollins College Box 2744
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park 32789-4499 US