A recent acquisition in the Grosvenor Rare Book Room is the manuscript travel diary of David Gray (1836-1888), an editor of the Buffalo Courier and friend of Mark Twain. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in November 1836, Gray’s family would emigrate to the United States thirteen years later and settle on a farm in Wisconsin. Gray would move to Buffalo in 1856 when offered a job by his uncle William to serve as secretary and librarian to the Young Men’s Christian Union, and by 1859 would become associate editor of the Courier, the rival of Twain’s newspaper, the Buffalo Express. In 1865, Gray was offered a temporary position as guardian and tutor of the 19-year-old son of William G. Fargo, President of the American Express Company in Buffalo. As part of his duties, Gray would accompany the lad on a trip around the world, beginning with Liverpool in June of 1865. As a journalist he would publish 58 of his travel letters in the Courier until April of 1868, but he was also a noted poet.
This unassuming little book contains two years of Gray’s descriptions and observations while traveling abroad, and most would be published in a two-volume posthumous collection in 1888 that would include his poems and prose writings. While in need of some tender loving care and conservation, this journal has found an appreciative home among the other local and international treasures of the Rare Book Room.
Footnote: Gray’s journal has been returned from our bookbinder, and after carefully subtle repair is ready for cataloging.