Gerald Clery Murphy (1888-1964) was born in Boston, MA. His family owned the th leathr goods firm Mark Cross Company. Gerald was never comfortable in the boardrooms and clubs for which his father was grooming him. He failed the entrance exams at Yale three times before matriculating, although he performed respectably there. He befriended a young freshman named Cole Porter (Class of 1913) and brought him into DKE. Murphy also introduced Porter to his friends, propelling him into writing music for Yale musicals.
After marriage, he moved to the French Riviera during a time when the area was experiencing a period when the fashionable only wintered there, abandoning the region during the summer months. However, the activities of the Murphys fueled the same renaissance in arts and letters as did the excitement of Paris, especially among the cafés of Montparnasse. Gerald Murphy’s brief painting career took place in France. The Murphys eventually purchased a villa in Cap d\'Antibes and named it Villa America and lived there for many years.
They had three children, Baoth, Patrick, and Honoria. In 1929, Patrick was diagnosed with tuberculosis. They took him to Switzerland, and then returned to the United States in 1934, where Gerald stayed in Manhattan to run Mark Cross, serving as president of the company from 1934 to 1956; he never painted again. Sara settled in Saranac Lake, New York to nurse Patrick, and Baoth and Honoria were put in boarding schools. In 1935, Baoth died unexpectedly of meningitis as a complication of measles, and Patrick succumbed to TB in 1937. Archibald MacLeish based the main characters in his play J.B. on Gerald and Sara Murphy.