Gray Family Materials

MC 1618

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.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Gray Family
Gray Family Materials
Inclusive Dates
Bulk Dates
MC 1618
1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Materials are in English.
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

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).

Acquisition Information

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.

Processing Information

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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.

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by topic.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

Box 1

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 Time, 2006


University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002
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