The Department of History
Early American republic; U.S. economic and political history; political economy
Phone: (646) 312-4342
or (646) 360-0276 (media)
Location: VC 5-255
Brian Phillips Murphy was born in Paterson, New Jersey and graduated from Haverford College in Haverford, Pa. with a B.A. in history. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia, where in 2008
he completed his dissertation, "Empire State Building: The Formation of States and Parties in New York, 1783-1850." A much-revised version titled Building the Empire State: Political Economy in Early America will be pubished by the University of Pennsylvania Press in early 2015.
Professor Murphy has held fellowships at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In May 2009, Professor Murphy was awarded the Richard L. Morton Award for his April 2008 article in the William and Mary Quarterly, “‘A very convenient instrument’: The Manhattan Company, Aaron Burr, and the Election of 1800.”
At Baruch College he has been awarded a Whiting Fellowship for excellence in teaching and a Eugene M. Lang Junior Faculty Research Fellowship. Professor Murphy is a co-director of the Columbia Seminar in Early American History and Culture, and a member of the board of editors of the Papers of Gouverneur Morris.
Professor Murphy's research interests are in political economy, particularly financial institutions, transportation infrastructure, political party development, and corruption.
In 2011, Professor Murphy was invited by the Museum of the City of New York to guest curate an exhibition on the history of banking in New York City. Titled "Capital of Capital: New York's Banks and the Creation of a Global Economy," the exhibition brought together hundreds of objects and artifacts relating to the development of banks and commerce in New York City, tackled the role of the city's banks in causing the 2008 financial crisis and was the first public history program to link the Occupy Wall Street movement to the long history of anti-bank critiques in American history.
Prior to beginning graduate studies, Professor Murphy worked as a financial and political journalist on the staffs of Money and George magazines, and was the managing editor of PoliticsNJ.com. He has co-hosted and been a guest on numerous television and radio programs, and written for publications from BusinessWeek to The New York Times.
In 2011 Professor Murphy was interviewed for a podcast episode of NPR's Planet Money about the history of American money, titled "The Birth of the Dollar Bill."
In 2014 Professor Murphy brought his research interests and reporting background to bear in proposing that controversial lane closures on the George Washington Bridge were related to a nearby real estate development project. That story, first unveiled on MSNBC's "Up With Steve Kornacki" and later published at Talking Points Memo, subsequently led to Professor Murphy doing additional original reporting and contributing to the public's understanding of the intersection between politics and economic development – an ongoing project.
Professor Murphy is now an MSNBC contributor, and has appeared as a guest on MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews," "The Rachel Maddow Show," "All In with Chris Hayes," "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell," and many other programs.
Prof. Murphy's is currently at work on two new book projects: one on the history of public corruption in the United States, and another on the history of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
If you are a member of the media and would like to contact Prof. Murphy, call 646.360.0276.