Gray Family Materials
Manuscript Collection 1618
Virginia Davis Gray
- Special Collections Department
University of Arkansas Libraries
- 365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: (479) 575-8444
Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Krista Jones, 2010.
Finding Aid is written in English.
- Descriptive Summary
- Biographical Note
- Scope and Content Note
- Arrangement of the Papers
- Detailed Description of the Collection
|Title:||Gray Family Materials|
|Extent:||1 linear foot (2 boxes)|
|Repository:||Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries|
Please call (479) 575-8444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.
Restrictions Apply: For preservation purposes, the original newspaper articles in the envelope in Box 1, Folder 2 are restricted, please use copies provided. Also, please handle the album of artwork (Box 1, Folder 3) and "The Diverting History..."(Box 1, Folder 4) with care, as the bindings are extremely fragile.
No Interlibrary Loan.
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
The Gray Family Materials were donated to the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on August 2, 2005, by Nancy K. Stendahl of Franklin, Tennessee.
Processed by Matthew Lammers; completed in December 2006
Preferred Form of Citation
Gray Family Materials (MC 1618), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.
See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.
Virginia Davis was born in Cushing, Maine, in 1834. She attended school in Maine, and later in Boston, and traveled to Europe briefly in 1857. On May 28, 1858, she married Oliver Crosby Gray (1832-1905), from nearby Lincoln County, who had studied Colby College. They had three children, including Carl Raymond Gray (1867-1939), president of Union Pacific Railroad from 1920 to 1937. The family moved to Monticello, Minnesota, and briefly lived in Mississippi before moving to Princeton, Dallas County, Arkansas, in 1860. There, they taught at Princeton Female Academy. Oliver joined the Confederate States of America cavalry from 1861 until 1864, when he resigned and briefly joined the Confederate Navy. He was imprisoned by the Union Army in late 1864 and released in March 1865.
In 1867 the family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas,where Oliver taught at St. Johns’ College, a Masonic institution. From 1871 to 1874 he served as its president. During the "Brooks-Baxter War" in 1874, he supported Elisha Baxter, arming his students to support the governor-elect. Following this, Oliver was appointed chair of the Mathematics and Civil Engineering Department at the new Arkansas Industrial University (now University of Arkansas), in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Virginia was appointed chair of the art department the same year. She retained that position for six years, 1874-1881. Virginia died in 1886.
Oliver continued his prestigious career by serving both as mayor of Fayetteville and superintendent of the newly-formed Fayetteville Public Schools in 1886. As a member of the first school board, Oliver had been a founder of the first public school in Fayetteville. In 1889, he married Mary Melbourne Borland Beattie (1850-1938), a widow with thre children, and the daughter of former U.S. Senator Solon Borland of Little Rock. Oliver moved back to Little Rock in 1895 to serve as superintendent of the Arkansas School for the Blind. He held that position until 1899, when he accepted a commission at the Speers-Langford Military Institute in Searcy, White County, Arkansas. In 1901, he returned to Little Rock and regained the superintendent position at the School for the Blind, which he served as until his death in 1905.
Virginia Davis Gray’s civil war diary was published in 1983. See Carl H. Moneyhon, editor, “Life in Confederate Arkansas: The Diary of Virginia Davis Gray, 1863-1865, Part I. Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol.42 (Spring 1983), pp. 47-85; Ibid., Part II, Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 42 (Summer 1983), pp. 134-169.
The collection includes three volumes created by Virginia between 1863 and 1872 while she lived in Princeton and Little Rock, Arkansas. The first volume, her diary, elucidates her experience living in Princeton from 1863 to 1866. The second dates to around 1863 and features her artwork, including pencil sketches, small paintings of flowers, as well as photographs of family and friends. The third tells the story of her son, Carl, which is entitled, "The Diverting History of Little Tarley Gray." It spans from his birth in 1867 to 1872, with a final entry by Carl in 1887, six months after his mother's death. The collection also includes correspondence and booklets concerning the Gray family created by Bill Boggess, a researcher from Naples, Florida. The ongoing correspondence between Boggess and the University of Arkansas was initiated in 2003 and concerns his research on the Grays. Two of his booklets incorporate research on Virginia, Oliver, and Carl Raymond Gray, while a third covers Senator Borland.
Please note that other repositories around the country has materials relating to the Gray Family, including Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, Colby College, and the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives.
Materials are arranged by topic.
The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection
|Box 1||Folder 1||Virginia Davis Gray Civil War Diary, 1863-1866
|Box 1||Folder 2||Loose Newspaper Articles from the Civil War Diary, 1905,n.d.
|Box 1||Folder 3||Album of artwork and photographs, ca. 1860-ca. 1870
|Box 1||Folder 4||"Diverting History of Little Tarley Gray", 1867-1887
|Box 2||Folder 1||The Story of Two Arkansas Pioneer School
Teachers by Bill Boggess, ca. 2004
|Box 2||Folder 2||The Story of Two Arkansas Pioneer School
Teachers Related Correspondence, 2005
|Box 2||Folder 3||Carl Raymond Gray: Footprints on the Sands of
Time by Bill Boggess, and Related Correspondence, 2004-2005
|Box 2||Folder 4||The Grays from Maine By Bill Boggess and
Related Correspondence, 2004-2005, n.d.
|Box 2||Folder 5||Other Research Materials, 2006
|Box 2||Folder 6||General Research Correspondence, 2003-
|Box 2||Folder 7||Non-Research Correspondence, 2003-
|Box 2||Folder 8||That Man Named Solon by Bill Boggess,
and Related Correspondence, 2004
|Box 2||Folder 9||Solon Borland & Family: Footprints on the Sands of
END OF COLLECTION