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Betty Zane Grosso collection of Zane and Dolly Grey papers

 Collection
Call Number: WA MSS S-2705

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the life and work of the American writer Zane Grey and his wife Dolly Grey, and to some extent the lives of their children. The papers chiefly consist of correspondence between Zane and Dolly Grey from the time they met until his death, circa 1900-1939. Their letters document Zane Grey's frequent travels throughout the American West and in the South Pacific, his career as a writer, their marriage, and the growth of their family. The collection also includes some correspondence with others; a draft of Zane Grey's autobiography; Dolly Grey's diaries; photographs and ephemera; and ten films. Many of the films apparently document hunting and fishing expeditions, but the collection also includes a print of the 1936 Australian film "White Death," in which Grey was featured as himself, and two documentaries about Zane Grey produced in 1985 by his family.

Dates

  • 1900-1985

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 10-17 (motion picture film): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 8 (VHS cassettes): Use of originals is restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Betty Zane Grosso Collection of Zane and Dolly Grey Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Serendipity Books on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2002-2003; Gift of Gary and Bridget McMahon, 2003; purchased from William Reese Company, 2010.

Arrangement

Organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1900-1969. II. Writings, 1906-1938. III. Dolly Grey Diaries, 1906-1954. IV. Other Papers, 1905-1950. V. Audiovisual Materials, 1935-1985.

Extent

8 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.greyz

Overview

The collection documents the life and work of the American writer Zane Grey and his wife Dolly Grey, and to some extent the lives of their children. The papers chiefly consist of correspondence between Zane and Dolly Grey from the time they met until his death, circa 1900-1939. Their letters document Zane Grey's frequent travels throughout the American West and in the South Pacific, his career as a writer, their marriage, and the growth of their family. The collection also includes some correspondence with others; a draft of Zane Grey's autobiography; Dolly Grey's diaries; photographs and ephemera; and ten films. Many of the films apparently document hunting and fishing expeditions, but the collection also includes a print of the 1936 Australian film "White Death," in which Grey was featured as himself, and two documentaries about Zane Grey produced in 1985 by his family.

Zane and Dolly Grey

Zane Grey, writer of popular adventure stories about the American West, was born Pearl Zane Gray in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1872, to Lewis M. Gray, a dentist, and Josephine Zane Gray. Changing his name to Zane Grey in early adulthood, he studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1896, and started his own practice in New York City. In November 1905 he married Lina Elise Roth, known as Dolly, a graduate of Hunter College. The couple settled in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, where they began a family that grew to include three children: Romer (1909-1976), Betty (1912-2007), and Loren (1915-2007). Dolly Grey strongly supported her husband's ambitions to make his living as a writer, helping to edit his work and manage his career as he became increasingly successful. Despite his long absences from home and several acknowledged extramarital affairs, their marriage remained strong and Dolly Grey continued to champion Zane Grey's work following his death of heart failure in 1939.

Zane Grey's prolific output included best-selling novels such as Riders of the Purple Sage, The Lone Star Ranger, and Under the Tonto Rim, many of which were made into equally successful Hollywood films. Grey lived the adventurous life he wrote about, spending months of each year camping in the Arizona desert or fishing off Tahiti and Australia. He was as famous for fishing as he was for writing about it, holding a number of world records including a 1,036-pound tiger shark.

Dolly Grey died in 1957 at the age of 74 in Altadena, California, where the family had moved circa 1920. She was buried beside her husband in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania. After her death the Grey children continued stewardship of their father's legacy through management of Zane Grey, Inc., formed in 1933 to manage Grey's assets and the rights to his work. In 1931 Betty Zane Grey married Robert W. Carney, with whom she had two daughters; she married George D. Grosso in 1951.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. This collection was rehoused into standard archival containers and listed as each accession was acquired. In 2011, the accessions were merged and organized into series.

Formerly classed as Uncat MSS 261, Uncat MSS 529, Uncat MSS 542, and Uncat MSS 1253.
Title
Guide to the Betty Zane Grosso Collection of Zane and Dolly Grey Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Beinecke Staff
Date
2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.