George Murray Smith (19 March 1824 – 6 April 1901) was the son of George Smith (1789–1846) who with Alexander Elder (1789–1846) started the Victorian publishing firm of Smith, Elder & Co.. His brainchild, The Cornhill Magazine, was the premier fiction-carrying magazine of the 19th century.
Few episodes in the publishing history of the nineteenth century are of higher interest than the story of his association with Charlotte Brontë. In July 1847 Williams called Smith's attention to a manuscript novel entitled 'The Professor,' which had been sent to the firm by an author writing under the name of 'Currer Bell.' The manuscript showed signs of having vainly sought the favour of other publishing houses. Smith and his assistant recognised the promise of the work, but neither thought it likely to be a successful publication. While refusing it, however, they encouraged the writer in kindly and appreciative terms to submit another effort. The manuscript of 'Jane Eyre' arrived at Cornhill not long afterwards. Williams read it and handed it to Smith. The young publisher was at once fascinated by its surpassing power, and purchased the copyright out of hand. He always regarded the manuscript, which he retained, as the most valued of his literary treasures. He lost no time in printing it, and in 1848 the reading world recognised that he had introduced to its notice a novel of abiding fame. Later in 1848 'Shirley,' by 'Currer Bell,' was also sent to Cornhill. So far 'Currer Bell' had conducted the correspondence with the firm as if the writer were a man, but Smith shrewdly suspected that the name was a woman's pseudonym.