We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Zane Grey

His Life, His Adventures, His Women

Thomas H. Pauly

Publication Year: 2005

Zane Grey was a disappointed aspirant to major league baseball and an unhappy dentist when he belatedly decided to take up writing at the age of thirty. He went on to become the most successful American author of the 1920s, a significant figure in the early development of the film industry, and central to the early popularity of the Western._x000B_Grey's personal life was as colorful as his best novels. Two backcountry trips into the Grand Canyon inspired his first Westerns, and he returned to Arizona annually for many years. His matching passion for sport fishing carried him to Mexico, Nova Scotia, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Australia. These trips were a canvas for the striking contradictions in Grey's life. Though he celebrated chastity and romantic love in his novels and his marriage was crucial to his success, these ideals were sorely tested by his long separations, deep depressions, and multiple involvements with women. Likewise his popularization of hunting, fishing, and the latest equipment threatened the wilderness that he revered and campaigned to protect._x000B_Thomas H. Pauly's work is the first full-length biography of Zane Grey to appear in over thirty years. Using a hitherto unknown trove of letters and journals, including never-before-seen photographs of his adventures--both natural and amorous--Zane Grey will greatly enlarge and radically alter the current understanding of the superstar author, whose fifty-seven novels and one hundred and thirty movies heavily influenced the world's perception of the Old West._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (37.2 KB)

Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.3 KB)

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (43.3 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (60.6 KB)
pp. ix-xii

One of the best parts of this project was all the kind, interesting people who aided my search for information. Early on, while I was deliberating whether to write this biography, I decided that I needed to meet with Loren Grey, Zane’s son and the current head of Zane Grey, Inc., and find out what he thought about this possibility. ...

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.5 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (275.2 KB)
pp. 1-12

Given the remarkable success of her husband’s career, the defensiveness in Dolly’s comment about her husband’s “genius” is surprising. Grey was the best-selling author in America during the 1920s and a major contributor to the Western genre’s rise in popularity. ...

read more

1. Wayward Youth: 1872-90

pdf iconDownload PDF (204.5 KB)
pp. 13-25

Pearl Zane Gray’s pioneer heritage was imprinted on his consciousness with the name his parents gave him at his birth on January 31, 1872. Anecdotal histories report his given name of Pearl as derived from the mourning attire of Queen Victoria that newspapers regularly described as “pearl gray.” ...

read more

2. Quest for Direction: 1890-1905

pdf iconDownload PDF (531.5 KB)
pp. 26-58

By the precocious age of fifteen, Pearl was already “very expert in extracting teeth” (5, 8). Rural Ohio was so sufficiently free of regulation that he was able to practice dentistry even before his relocation to Columbus. In Zanesville, Lewis employed cocaine, but this sedative still necessitated a deft removal of the tooth to prevent pain. ...

read more

3. Adventurous Apprentice: 1906-10

pdf iconDownload PDF (458.4 KB)
pp. 59-94

In one of the few reviews of The Last of the Plainsmen (1908), Forest and Stream offered the following information about the work’s little-known author: “Dr. Grey hails from Pike county, Pennsylvania. A couple of years ago he had in contemplation a trip to South America; a cruise in a small boat around the Peninsula of Labrador to Hudson Bay; ...

read more

4. Pursuit of the Dream: 1911-14

pdf iconDownload PDF (614.3 KB)
pp. 95-132

In March 1911, four months after the publication of The Heritage of the Desert, Field and Stream presented the first installment of “Down an Unknown Jungle River.” For this issue, the editors prepared a special, bright-red cover with a huge Z slashing from top to bottom of the page, like the famous mark of Zorro. ...

read more

5. Moviemaking and Button Fish: 1915-19

pdf iconDownload PDF (844.6 KB)
pp. 133-177

During the spring of 1914, Grey sent Robert Davis an undated postcard on which he wrote, “You will be pleased to learn that the book you inspired me to write has been for a month the best selling book in the United States.” He did not identify the novel, but his card was a piece of promotion for The Light of Western Stars, ...

read more

6. Calamity: 1920-23

pdf iconDownload PDF (617.2 KB)
pp. 178-218

By 1920, the forty-seven-year-old and still youthful Zane Grey was on top and in charge, and he had no inkling of disaster on the horizon. After struggling with rejection and disappointment for the first ten years of his writing career, and then capitalizing on his hard-won advances during the years spanned by World War I, ...

read more

7. Movin' On: 1924-25

pdf iconDownload PDF (654.4 KB)
pp. 219-253

Had Zane been able to foresee the future, he would have done nothing and given thanks that his problems passed so quickly. Of course, he could not, and in deciding to take action, he prolonged the healing process. Prior to his departure for New York City, he mailed the Catalina Islander an article entitled “Heavy Tackle for Heavy Fish,” ...

read more

8. Fresh Starts and Farewells: 1925-30

pdf iconDownload PDF (370.9 KB)
pp. 254-280

In its February 21, 1925, issue, Publishers Weekly ran an article about the one hundred best-selling authors from 1900 through 1924 and ranked Zane Grey number six. The five authors above him—Winston Churchill, Harold Bell Wright, Booth Tarkington, George Barr McCutcheon, and Mary Roberts Rinehart— started writing best sellers before 1910.1 ...

read more

9. Undone: 1930-39

pdf iconDownload PDF (622.5 KB)
pp. 281-310

Common understanding of Depression history holds that it began on October 24, 1929, when the stock market “crashed.” On that day the Dow Jones Average gave up thirty-four points, or 9 percent, on trading volume that was three times normal. The selling actually started in September when the market hit a record high of 386. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (71.9 KB)
pp. 311-314

Zane Grey died during a resurgence of interest in the Western. Over the years of the Depression, the genre was kept alive by an outpouring of B-films for “double features” that the major studios offered, along with free china, to lure penny-pinching audiences to theaters. Nearly half of all the film adaptations of Grey novels were B-films from the decade of the Depression. ...

Grey's World Records

pdf iconDownload PDF (49.2 KB)
pp. 315-316


pdf iconDownload PDF (434.2 KB)
pp. 317-358


pdf iconDownload PDF (137.0 KB)
pp. 359-370


pdf iconDownload PDF (185.9 KB)
pp. 371-385

E-ISBN-13: 9780252092114
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252030444

Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Grey, Zane, 1872-1939.
  • Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
  • Adventure and adventurers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Grey, Zane, 1872-1939 -- Relations with women.
  • Western stories -- History and criticism.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access