Zane Grey Home Movies

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.

Zane Grey (1872-1939)

Zane Grey, writer of popular adventure stories about the American West, was born Pearl Zane Gray in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1872. 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. The couple had 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. 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.

Description of the Papers

The Betty Zane Grosso Collection of Zane and Dolly Grey Papers 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.

Home Movies of the American West

Three films depicting Grey family travels in the American Northwest have been digitized and are available below. One film records travels in Utah, Wyoming, and on the Umpqua River in Oregon in 1937. The other two films, made after Zane Grey’s death, record scenes in Oregon and California. They appear to have been made by Zane Grey’s sons Loren and Romer Grey.

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