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Zane Grey's West Society collection

Identifier: MSS 9522

Scope and Contents

A collection of items related to Zane Grey and his family, friends, properties, adventures, and work. Items were collected by the Zane Grey West Society members and donated to the Society over a period of time. Includes letters (both originals and photocopies), manuscripts, a booklet, and photographs, some of which are reproductions. Materials dated from 1905 to 1972.


  • 1905-1972


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public access.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Administrative History

The Zane Grey's West Society was founded in 1983 by Joe Wheeler and is located in Pleasanton, California. The society's purpose is to promote the works and life of Zane Grey by furthering the knowledge and research on Grey and his works. As of 2022, the society was active.

Biographical History

Pearl Zane Gray was born January 31, 1872, in 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. He graduated in 1896. In 1900, he met his future wife and editor, 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. Jones took Grey to the American Southwest for the purpose of having Grey write a book about his life. Upon returning to the east, Grey 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. His greatest sustained success, wealth, and fame came after Zane, Dolly, and their three children (Romer, Betty, and Lore) moved to Altadena, California, in 1918. By 1930, he was hailed as the most sought-after writer in America. 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.

Biographical History

Lina Elisa Roth was born in 1883 and came from a family of physicians. She was studying to be a school teacher when she met Zane Grey on a canoeing trip in 1900. On November 21, 1905, she Zane Grey were married. She and Zane had three children: Romer (1909-1976), Elizabeth (1912-2007), and Loren (1915-2007). Dolly was a great support to Zane in his early career and encouraged him to pursue a career in writing. She became his agent and managed his affairs, while also supporting him financially with her inheritance. She also acted as copy editor and proof-reader of Grey's literary works. She died in 1957.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

16 folders (0.25 linear ft.)

1 oversize folder (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series: 1. Zane Grey correspondence, 1905-1972. 2. Zane Grey booklets, approximately 1920-1935. 3. Zane Grey original manuscripts, approximately 1910-1939. 4. Zane Grey photographs, approximately 1906-1939.

Custodial History

Donated on behalf of Zane Grey's West Society by Terry Bollinger, ZGWS president, in November 2021.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Terry Bollinger on behalf of Zane Grey's West Society; November 2021.


Western History (Mormon and Western American Manuscripts Collection Development Policy V.B.5.c, 2020)

Processing Information

Processed; Leanne Pierson; March 11, 2022.

Register of Zane Grey's West Society collection
Leanne Pierson
2022 March 4
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States