"...As you may imagine, I have seen a lot, and heard a lot, and done a lot, and I mean a lot over a long time, but so much more significant than the places were the people and the ideas and ideals that they gave me: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Edith Sitwell, Osbert Sitwell, E.M. Forster, [William] Somerset Maugham, Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, Angus Wilson, Cecil Beaton, Princess Margaret, Prince Napoleon Murat, Jean Cocteau, Bernard Berenson, Frederick Durenmatt, and many others. I have seen and been introduced and have come to know all of these individuals in various degrees of intimacy and what is more they know me too. They have all given me ideas and ideals that I have not had before. I had intellectual intercourse with these individuals..."
Dr. William Shelton Gray, Jr., also referred to as Bill or Woods, was a Professor and the Chair of the English Department at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia specializing in modern English and American Literature. He earned his B.A. degree from Harvard University and Centenary College in Shreveport in 1950; his M.A. degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1960; his Ph.D. degree from the University of Exeter in England in 1964; and he also attended the University of Arizona, University of Miami, Tulane University, and New York University for several academic years. He wrote both his master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation on T.S. Eliot's poetry.
Before joining the faculty at Randolph-Macon College in 1968, Dr. Gray taught at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Louisiana where he was the Chair of the English Department; Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan, where he also chaired the English Department; at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he chaired the English Department; and at Pembroke College in Pembroke, North Carolina. Gray’s area of expertise allowed him to establish a relationship with a larger number of writers, playwrights, poets, artists, and Hollywood actors. He spent several decades collecting items from or about these well-known individuals. After Gray died from alcoholism in 1992, he accumulated one of the largest privately held collections related to American and English Literature.
The following are some interesting facts Gray Collections has discovered from several sources related to Gray from the late 1940s to the late 1980s
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