Manuscript Collections - Prentiss N. Gray Papers

Oct 18, 2021

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5 linear feet, 1 linear inch (11 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library


Prentiss Nathaniel Gray was born in Oakland, California on July 2, 1884. He graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 1906. Gray then worked in his father’s shipping business until 1915 when he began working with the Commission for Relief in Belgium. He started P. N. Gray and Company in 1920, which exported grain form New York. In 1923 he helped start the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in New York. During the Great Depression the bank successfully shifted to financing foreign trade. 

Gray was an avid outdoorsman. His journals about hunting and fishing were published as From the Peace to the Fraser. Prentiss Gray passed away in January 1935 after a motor boat accident in the Everglades of Florida.


This collection is organized in two series:

The Commission for Relief Belgium series contains photocopies of a diary kept by Gray while serving with the CRB. It covers the years 1916 to 1919 and was compiled by Sherman Gray. Sherman interfiled photocopies of documents and photographs within the diary. 

The Books series is arranged in chronological order by topic and contains materials dating from 1914 to 1994. It primarily documents the Commission for Relief of Belgium and the history of Belgium during World War I. The volumes include an oversized album of formal portrait photographs of members of the CRB. After Prentiss Gray died, his son Sherman Gray continued to collect books related to his father’s humanitarian work. These include books about Hebert Hoover. Also in this series is From the Peace to the Fraser


Box      Contents
1          Diary, Feb 1916-Mar 1917 (4 folders, typed with photographs)

BOOKS, 1914-1994

2          Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB)
                     The Belgian Deportations, by Arnold Toynbee, undated (pamphlet)
                     Les Deportations Belges a la Lumiere des Documents Allemands, 1917
                     The First Violations of the Law of Nations by Germany: Luxemburg and Belgium by
                              Louis Renault, 1917 (pamphlet)
                     A Journal from our Legation in Belgium by Hugh Gibson, 1917
                     Public Relations of the Commission for Relief in Belgium: Documents by George I.
                              Gay, 1929 (2 volumes)
                     Qui est Responsable de le Guerre? by Louis Barthow, 1917 (pamphlet)
                     Les Violences Allemandes a l’Encontre des Non-Combattants by A. Pillet, 1917

3                   Fighting Starvation in Belgium by Vernon Kellogg, 1918
                     General Von Bissing’s Testament: A Study in German Ideals, ca. 1917
                     The Soul of the “C. R. B.” by Madame Saint-Rene Taillandier, 1919
                     Statistical Review of Relief Operations by George I. Gay, 1925
                     War Bread: A Personal Narrative of the War and Relief in Belgium by Edward Eyre
                              Hunt, 1916
                     Women of Belgium: Turning Tragedy to Triumph by Charlotte Kellogg, 1917
                              (introduction by Herbert C. Hoover)

4                   The History of The Commission for Relief in Belgium, 1914-1917 by Tracy B.
                              Kittredge, ca. 1919 (2 volumes, leather rot)
                     CN: Portraits par H. Lemaire, 1918 (leather rot)
                     La Belgique Illustree, undated (leather rot)

5          Belgium in World War I
                     Bobbins of Belgium: A Book of Belgian Lace, Lace-workers, Lace-schools and
                              Lace-villages by Charlotte Kellogg, 1920
                     Underground News: The Complete Story of the Secret Newspaper that Made War
                              History by Oscar E. Millard, 1938
                     Belgium: A Personal Narrative by Brand Whitlock, 1919 (2 volumes)
                     Bottled Up in Belgium: The Last Delegate’s Informal Story by Arthur Bartlett
                              Maurice, 1917
                     Camion Letters from American College Men Volunteer Drivers of the American
                              Field Service in France 1917, 1918
6                   The Seven Belgium American Foundations: An International Epic and Financial
                              Report of the Belgian American Educational Foundation Inc. from 1965 to
                              1972 by Clare M. Torrey, ca. 1972
                     Headquarters Nights: A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the
                              Headquarters of the German Army in France and Belgium by Vernon Kellogg,
                     In Occupied Belgium by Robert Withington, 1921 (with a chapter by Prentiss Gray)
                     A Book of Belgium’s Gratitude, 1916
                     Anvers: Les Villes d’Art Celebres by Henri Hymans, 1914

7                   American Food in the World War and Reconstruction Period: Operations of the
                              Organizations Under the Direction of Herbert Hoover 1914 to 1924 by Frank
                              M. Surface and Raymond L. Bland, 1931
                     Expose Succinct et Chronologique de la Frappe Patriotique, de Necessite, de
                              Bienfaisance et Commemorative en Belgique Occupee by Charles Lefebure,
                              1923 (binding broken)

8                   Histoire de Belgique by H. Pierenne, 1909, 1908, 1912, 1911 (4 volumes)
                     Hugh Gibson 1883-1954: Extracts from his Letters and Anecdotes from his
                              Friends, 1956

9                   Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Austria, Protocol
                              and Declarations, signed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye September 10, 1919,
                              ca. 1919 (English text, includes map)
                     Traite de Paix entre les Puissances Alliees et Associees et la Turquie signe le
                              10 Aout 1920 a Sevres (Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated
                              Powers and Turkey, text in French, English and Italian)
                     Traite de Paix (with Germany, Treaty of Peace, Versailles Treaty), 1919

10        Autographed volumes
                     Malines, Jadis and Aujourd’hui by Leopold Godenne, 1908
                     Glanz einer Krone by Isfried Franz, 1961
                     Abraham Lincoln by Brand Whitlock, 1916
            From the Peace to the Fraser: Newly Discovered North American Hunting and
                     Exploration Journals 1900 to 1930 by Prentiss N. Gray, 1994

11        Oversized box
                     Members of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, ca. 1917 (photographs)

12        About Herbert Hoover
                     Herbert Hoover the Man and His Work by Vernon Kellogg, 1920
                     The Strange Career of Mr. Hoover Under Two Flags by John Hamill, 1931
                     Herbert Hoover the Uncommon Man, 1974
            By Herbert Hoover
                     An American Epic, Volume 1, 1959 (includes letter to Laura Gray)
                     Two Addresses in Brussels, Belgium by Former President Herbert Hoover
                              Delivered at the Brussels Exposition on American Day, July 4th, 1958 and by
                              Mr. Hoover Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium to the Belgian
                              People on Hoover Day July 5th, 1958 (pamphlet)
                     The Challenge to Liberty, 1934
                     The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: Years of Adventure, 1874-1920, 1953
                     On Growing Up: Letters to American Boys and Girls including “The Uncommon
                              Man” and Other Selections, 1962 (includes letter to Laura Gray)