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Valeria MURPHeY
artist. Philanthropist.
2024 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement




Birth Date


Death Date


Induction Year


City, Town, Region

Atlanta, GA

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  • 1926 - Born in Atlanta, Georgia; daughter of John Milton McCullough Jr. and  Fannie Lamar Manley (later Mrs. Herbert Maxwell Williams) 

    • Attends Atlanta public schools, takes classes at High Museum of Art, Sullins Junior College in Virginia, and the Semple School in New York City    

  • 1948 - Graduates from Wesleyan Conservatory Summa Cum Laude BFA after studying with Emil Holzhauer;

    • Confesses on mid-50s alumnae information form that successful prank of “ringing the bell” had won her “months” of restriction!) 

    • Marries Flewellyn Plant Murphey (b Macon August 9, 1914) of Macon at First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta 

    • Joins Mulberry United Methodist Church, later helps to found its Altar Guild 

  • 1949 - Birth of daughter, Valeria Rankin Murphey; now married to Richard Bragg 

    • Macon Telegraph reports on design and construction of Twin Pines home featuring furniture she and her husband designed and built themselves 

  • 1950 - Living at 1494 Twin Pines Drive, Macon per the 1950 Census 

  • 1950s - Joins Junior League (later President), Town and Country Garden Club (later President), and Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia among other groups 

  • 1956 - Junior League agrees to sponsor the nascent Macon Youth Museum, which becomes a major focus of Valeria’s; she goes on to serve on the Museum board for thirty years 

  • 1958 - As League representative attends the American Association of Museums  conference with the Museum director to learn how to develop the Youth Museum 

  • 1959 - Chairs Museum’s first adult and corporate membership drive 

  • 1961 - Chairs Junior League’s largest ever fundraiser, the Americana Sale, which raised $l4,320.88 to benefit the Museum 

    • Serves as Corresponding Secretary for the Museum 

  • 1963-64 - Serves as President of Junior League 

    • Helps expand Museum mission (with consequent name change from Youth Museum to Museum of Arts and Sciences), chairs membership drive and Future Funds Committee 

  • 1966 -  After studying funding of other museums leads Museum’s solicitation of public funds and charter changes to establish a Board of Trustees made up of public officials 

  • 1960s-70s - Serves on Boards of the American Red Cross, Middle Georgia Historical        

    • Also on the Board of Advisors of Booker T. Washington Community Center;

    • Volunteers for Community Concert Association, Morning Music Club, Macon Council on World Affairs, and Macon Arts Council 

    • Becomes a director of SSS Drug Co of Atlanta, a firm founded by her  great, great grandfather, Henry James Lamar 

  • 1969 - Val Sheridan and Neva Fickling plan and execute a massive undertaking that saves the Grand Opera House; Valeria originates the project’s name, “Grand Topper”   

  • 1972 - Ends revolving-director spiral at Museum by hiring Museum’s first long-term executive, and leads development of first major long-term strategic plan 

  • 1973 - With her friend Mary Kinman found a wholesale firm, “Things, etc.”, producing crafts of her design, and marketing them through merchandise marts in NYC, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Sold in 1986 

  • 1977 - With Neva Fickling, convinces the Bibb Manufacturing Company to produce Macon Heritage sheets featuring Valeria’s drawings of local historic sites, a fund-raising project for Junior League’s Designer Showhouse 

    • Joins Wesleyan’s Board of Associates 

  • 1980 - Chairs Hay House Council for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation; generates local support by getting commitments from twelve of Macon’s most powerful community leaders—all men, of course 

  • 1981 - Named Volunteer of the Year by the Georgia Trust; serves as Vice President of the Trust’s Board of Trustees 

    •  Joins Wesleyan College’s Board of Trustees; in 1983 chairs Presidential Search Committee, creatively structuring it to involve every College constituency (Trustees, Board of Associates, faculty, staff, alumnae, and students);

    • Also chairs the Leadership Gifts Division of the Wesleyan Campaign for Advancement ($8.8 million goal exceeded by $2 million) 

  • 1982 - Receives Woman of the Year Award from the Macon-Bibb County Clean Community Commission 

    • Organizes fundraisers for former Macon Mayor Buck Melton’s run for Governor 

  • 1986 - Receives Wesleyan Alumnae Association Award for Distinguished  Service 

    • Named first woman, first alumna, to Chair Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees 

  • 1988 - Named to Gracious Ladies of Georgia 

  •     Spearheads organization of Georgia Women of Achievement to honor the       
        unrecognized contributions of women of Georgia through history,         
        engaging former First Lady Rosalyn Carter to lend her imprimatur to the        
        project which she envisions as an appropriate complement to the First        
        College in the World Chartered to Grant Degrees to Women 

  • 1989 - Wesleyan announces plan to renovate and rename its art facility the Valeria McCullough Murphey Art Building; friends raise $300,000 to fund the renovation 

    • Student Government Association presents her with its Service Award, and the 1988-89 Annual, Veterropt, is dedicated to her Wesleyan Alumnae Association created the Valeria McCullough Murphey Award for extraordinary service, making her its first recipient.

    • The College awards her an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at its April Graduation 

  • 1990 - Dies at 63 following an extended illness 

    • Though she had no typically paid “career” she is posthumously named a 1990 “Woman of Achievement” by Macon’s Career Women’s Network 

    • Stunt 1990 dedicated to “The Greatest of the Green Knights” 

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