Grey, Zane, 1872-1939

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1872-01-31
Death 1939-10-23
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Zane Grey was born Pearl Zane Grey on January 31, 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio to Lewis Grey and Alice Josephine (Zane) Grey. He earned a degree in dentistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1896. From 1898 to 1904 he lived in New York City and had an unsuccessful dentistry practice. At this time he wrote his first book, Betty Zane, about his Ohio ancestors. In 1904 he moved to Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, where he met Lina Elise Roth. They were married in 1905. Grey was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing and hunting, and these interests are portrayed in many of his books. Grey became famous for his western novels and literature. In his lifetime, he wrote over sixty books, as well as numerous short stories, and was an acclaimed and popular-selling novelist. His literature helped to create the idea of "Western" as a literary genre. Grey died on October 23, 1939.

From the description of Zane Grey papers, 1923-1929. (University of Oregon Libraries). WorldCat record id: 54360052

Novelist and outdoor sportsman from Zanesville, Ohio.

From the description of Diary, 1923-1939. (Ohio Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 40476321

From the description of Zane Grey Diary [microform], 1923-1939. (Ohio Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 40476446

From the description of The Voice of Zane Grey's public [microform], 1930 May-Nov. (Ohio Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 39012585

American novelist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Altadena, Ca., to "Dear Henry" [Henry Hoyns], [ca. 1930] Dec. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270498156

From the description of The maverick queen, [1937?]. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 28262953

From the description of Down into the desert, ca. 1924. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 31036837

From the description of The rube : autograph manuscript signed, undated [1910 Oct. or earlier]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270511294

U.S. writer of Western fiction.

From the description of Papers, 1917. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 15025727

Western author; born Pearl Zane Gray; married Lina Elise Roth.

From the description of Zane Grey papers, 1876-1987 (bulk 1901-1937). (Nogales-Santa Cruz County Public Library). WorldCat record id: 27962109

Author.

From the description of Zane Grey papers, 1912-1939. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449285

Author of fiction on the American West.

From the description of Papers, 1912-1939. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122461423

Biographical Note

  • 1872, Jan. 31: Born Pearl Zane Gray, Zanesville, Ohio
  • 1896: D.D.S, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1896 - 1904 : Practiced dentistry in New York, N.Y., while pursuing an interest in baseball, including as a professional player in the minor leagues
  • 1902: Published first magazine article, Recreation magazine
  • 1905: Married Lina Roth and moved to Lackawaxen, Pa.
  • 1910: Wrote first Western novel, Heritage of the Desert. New York and London: Harper & Brothers
  • 1913: Published Riders of the Purple Sage (New York and London: Harper & Brothers), a best seller and one of his most successful Western novels
  • 1915: Published The Lone Ranger: A Romance of the Border. New York and London: Harper & Brothers
  • 1916: Began his association with the motion picture industry with the purchase by William Fox of the rights to the Riders of the Purple Sage, eventually forming his studio before selling his company to Jesse Lasky of Paramount Pictures
  • 1918: Moved to California, settling in Altadena in 1920
  • 1918 - 1932 : Regular contributor to Outdoor Life
  • 1925: Published The Vanishing American (New York and London: Harper & Brothers) previously serialized in Ladies’ Home Journal
  • 1930: Release of the motion picture “The Lone Star Ranger,” based on his novel The Lone Ranger: A Romance of the Border
  • 1939, Oct. 23: Died, Altadena, Calif.

From the guide to the Zane Grey Papers, 1912-1939, (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Zane Grey was born Pearl Gray on January 31, 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio to Lewis and Josephine Gray. Later in life, he dropped his first name and changed his surname to Grey. From 1888 to 1892, he acquired an informal knowledge of dentistry, learned from his father. He played baseball and was offered a baseball scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from this university in 1896 and established a dental practice in New York City.

In 1990 he met his future wife, Lina (Dolly) Roth and in 1902 published his first article in "Recreation", which was closely followed by his first book "Betty Zane". He married Lina and traveled west for his first time with C.J. (Buffalo) Jones. He spent many years on road on local personalities and landscapes.

He suffered his first stroke in 1937 while fishing on the North Umpqua River, Oregon. In 1939 he died of a heart attack at his home in Altadena, California.

From the guide to the Zane Grey Collection, 1901-1937., (Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department)

Zane Grey was born Pearl Zane Grey on January 31, 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio to Lewis Grey and Alice Josephine (Zane) Grey. Growing up, he had the typical boyhood. He had a gang of friends, excelled in athletics, but was not interested in school work. Grey was a talented baseball player and was highly recruited by various colleges. Despite his dislike for academic life, he managed to earn a degree in dentistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1896.

From 1898 to 1904 he lived in New York City and had an unsuccessful dentistry practice. It was unsuccessful primarily due to his lack of interest. At this time, he wrote his first book Betty Zane about his Ohio ancestors, which was rejected by numerous publishers and finally published by Grey himself. In 1904 he moved to Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, where he met Lina Elise Roth. They were married in 1905. She was one of Grey's primary supporters of his efforts to become a professional writer.

In 1908, Grey accompanied Col. C.J. "Buffalo" Jones to the west. Grey was amazed by the stories of the colonel. As a result of the trip, he wrote The Last of the Plainsmen . From all the material he acquired during this trip, more novels were written. Grey was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing and hunting, and that outdoor life is portrayed in many of his books. He often enjoyed hunting along the Rogue River in Oregon. When he was not adventuring in the outdoors, he was writing at his home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Grey became famous for his western novels and literature. In his lifetime, he wrote well over sixty books as well as numerous short stories. His literature helped to create the idea of the Western as a literary genre. An acclaimed and highly-successful novelist, Grey died on October 23, 1939.

From the guide to the Zane Grey papers, 1923-1929, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries)

Joe Wheeler (born 1936) is a collector of stories and manuscripts.

Joe Leininger Wheeler was born in the Napa Valley, California. When he was eight, his family moved to Latin America and he grew up bilingual with a deep appreciation of the Hispanic culture. His mother homeschooled him for fourteen years. He later went on to earn a Bachelors and Masters in History from Pacific Union College, a Masters in English from Sacramento State University, and the Ph. D. in English (History of Ideas emphasis) from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Wheeler published Zane Grey’s West (a fanzine) from 1979 to 1991, and co-founded the international Zane Grey’s West Society in 1983; he continues to serve as its executive director.

Author/Editor/Compiler of seventy books by eleven publishing houses, he is considered to be one of America’s leading anthologizers of stories. He lives in Conifer, Colorado with his wife, Connie. They have two children and two grandsons.

From the guide to the Joe Wheeler collection on Zane Grey, 1910-1989, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Zane Grey (1872-1939) was an American author who produced many well-known Westerns.

Zane Grey was born on January 31, 1872, in Zanesville, Ohio, as Pearl Zane Grey. Born to Lewis M. Gray and Josephine Alice Zane Gray, Zane was the fourth of five children. Zane originally followed his father's career pathway as a dentist, but ultimately pursued his lifelong passion of writing and became a well-known author for the remainder of his life. Many of Grey's Western novels were produced into movie productions. On November 21, 1905, Zane married Lina “Dolly” Elise Roth in New York, New York. Together they had three children: Romer Zane, Betty, and Loren. October 23, 1939, in Altadena, California, Zane passed away at age 65.

From the guide to the Zane Grey literary manuscript for The Water Hole, approximately 1927, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Zane Grey (1872-1939) was one of the world’s most prominent and prolific writers of Western novels.

Pearl Zane Gray was born January 31, 1872, in his ancestral home of Zanesville, Ohio. The fourth of five children born to Lewis M. Gray, a dentist, and Josephine Alice Zane, his was an active boyhood marked by attendance at local schools and participation in many boyhood activities of which fishing and baseball were his favorites.

After serving an apprenticeship with his father, he entered dental school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1892. Although he was acclaimed for his success as an outstanding shortstop on the school's baseball team, his academic performance was only average. He graduated in 1896, and while practicing dentistry in New York City continued to play baseball with the Athletic Club in East Orange, New Jersey.

In 1900 he met his future wife, editor, and life-long source of encouragement, Lina Elise Roth, known as Dolly. During their five year courtship Gray changed his name to Zane Grey (dropping his first name and changing the spelling of his last), gave up his dental practice, and began a career as an author. After receiving many rejections by publishers, on his own he published his first book, entitled Betty Zane (1903). He and Dolly were married the following year, making their first home in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania.

Grey's attention was drawn west to the geographic area which would provide the setting for most of his major books when he met Charles Jesse ("Buffalo") Jones in 1906. An older hunter who had set out to preserve and breed buffalo which were in danger of extinction, Jones took Grey to the American Southwest for the purpose of having Grey write a book about his life. For weeks Grey lived the life of a Westerner in the deserts of Arizona and Utah. Upon returning to the East fired by his experiences, he expressed his sentiments in "The Last of the Plainsmen," a book about Jones. In 1910 he published "Heritage of the Desert" and in 1912 "Riders of the Purple Sage". These two books were his first major successes in literature and the ones by which he established his national reputation as an author. "Riders of the Purple Sage" was enormously successful and is his best known and probably his best loved work.

His greatest sustained success, wealth, and fame came after he, Dolly, and their three children (Romer, Betty, and Lore) moved to Altadena, California, in 1918. Included among his works published during this time were "To the Last Man," "Tappan's Burro," "Forlorn River," "The Shepherd of Guadaloupe," "Robbers' Roost," and "The Trail Driver". By 1930 he was hailed as the most sought after writer in America. (For a useful and virtually complete list of his books and other writings, see the bibliography on pages 250-273 of Frank Gruber's biography of Grey).

When he was not writing, Grey took lengthy trips to such places as New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti, where he set world records with his deep sea fishing catches (at one time he held ten world records) and where he had many of the experiences that later served as the basis for some of his writing. He enjoyed hunting and exploring as well, and these activities also found expression in his sports and adventure stories, written for both juvenile and adult readers.

Zane Grey died October 23, 1939, in Altadena, California. During his lifetime he sold nearly 20 million copies of his novels, and another 20 million have been sold posthumously. Before his death he published 40 western romances in addition to works for juveniles, and collections of short stories and books on his adventures as a hunter, explorer, and fisherman. Since his death another 23 of his books have been published: "Desert Gold," "The Rainbow Trail," "The Border Legion," "To The Last Man," "The Shepherd of Guadaloupe," "Robbers' Roost," "The Trail Driver," "Twin Sombreros," "Ride the Man Down," "Lost Pueblo, and Boulder Dam; and the novelettes Tappan's Burro," "Don The Ranger," "Canyon Walls From Missouri," and "The Horse Thief".

From the guide to the Zane Grey "Silvermane" manuscript, approximately 1909, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Zane Grey (1872-1939) was one of the world's most prominent and prolific writers of Western novels.

Pearl Zane Gray was born January 31, 1872, in his ancestral home of Zanesville, Ohio. The fourth of five children born to Lewis M. Gray, a dentist, and Josephine Alice Zane, his was an active boyhood marked by attendance at local schools and participation in many boyhood activities of which fishing and baseball were his favorites.

After serving an apprenticeship with his father, he entered dental school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1892. Although he was acclaimed for his success as an outstanding shortstop on the school's baseball team, his academic performance was only average. He graduated in 1896, and while practicing dentistry in New York City continued to play baseball with the Athletic Club in East Orange, New Jersey.

In 1900 he met his future wife, editor, and life-long source of encouragement, Lina Elise Roth, known as Dolly. During their five year courtship Gray changed his name to Zane Grey (dropping his first name and changing the spelling of his last), gave up his dental practice, and began a career as an author. After receiving many rejections by publishers, on his own he published his first book, entitled Betty Zane (1903). He and Dolly were married the following year, making their first home in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania.

Grey's attention was drawn west to the geographic area which would provide the setting for most of his major books when he met Charles Jesse ("Buffalo") Jones in 1906. An older hunter who had set out to preserve and breed buffalo which were in danger of extinction, Jones took Grey to the American Southwest for the purpose of having Grey write a book about his life. For weeks Grey lived the life of a Westerner in the deserts of Arizona and Utah. Upon returning to the East fired by his experiences, he expressed his sentiments in The Last of the Plainsmen, a book about Jones. In 1910 he published Heritage of the Desert and in 1912 Riders of the Purple Sage. These two books were his first major successes in literature and the ones by which he established his national reputation as an author. Riders of the Purple Sage was enormously successful and is his best known and probably his best loved work.

His greatest sustained success, wealth, and fame came after he, Dolly, and their three children (Romer, Betty, and Lore) moved to Altadena, California, in 1918. Included among his works published during this time were To the Last Man, Tappan's Burro, Forlorn River, The Shepherd of Guadaloupe, Robbers' Roost, and The Trail Driver. By 1930 he was hailed as the most sought after writer in America. (For a useful and virtually complete list of his books and other writings, see the bibliography on pages 250-273 of Frank Gruber's biography of Grey).

When he was not writing, Grey took lengthy trips to such places as New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti, where he set world records with his deep sea fishing catches (at one time he held ten world records) and where he had many of the experiences that later served as the basis for some of his writing. He enjoyed hunting and exploring as well, and these activities also found expression in his sports and adventure stories, written for both juvenile and adult readers.

Zane Grey died October 23, 1939, in Altadena, California. During his lifetime he sold nearly 20 million copies of his novels, and another 20 million have been sold posthumously. Before his death he published 40 western romances in addition to works for juveniles, and collections of short stories and books on his adventures as a hunter, explorer, and fisherman. Since his death another 23 of his books have been published. Desert Gold, The Rainbow Trail, The Border Legion, To The Last Man, The Shepherd of Guadaloupe, Robbers' Roost, The Trail Driver, Twin Sombreros, Ride the Man Down, Lost Pueblo, and Boulder Dam; and the novelettes Tappan's Burro, Don The Ranger, Canyon Walls From Missouri, and The Horse Thief.

From the guide to the Zane Grey papers, bulk 1910-1970, 1900-1995, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

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