James Gordon Grayson Collection


James Gordon Grayson Collection


Grayson, James Gordon






The documents in this collection are all original and consist mostly of Gordon’s letters to home during his World War II and World Bank services in Colombia and his travels in California and Europe. However, more than half of his collection encompasses his time in South America during the Second World War. Materials as early as 1929 and as late as 1953 are included, and are divided into the following series: General Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings, Miscellaneous, and Postcards and Photographs. The General Correspondence series comprises of about seventy-five percent of the entire collection. While Folders 1-9 consists of letters Gordon wrote to his mother or his parents together, Folders 10-18 include letters written to and by a number of other individuals. The letters Gordon wrote to his parents are the most insightful. The Newspaper Clippings include a small story about the conservation of hot water in wartime France that Gordon had sent to his mother, whom he thought would find it amusing, as well as a larger story concerning the visit of vice Admiral Allan G. Kirk to Cincinnati for the observance of Navy Day, which Gordon was present for and is pictured. The Miscellaneous folder consists of anything that is not a letter, newspaper, postcard, or photograph, and includes materials from Gordon’s childhood. In the Postcards and Photographs series, several photographs can be seen of Gordon Grayson and his horses, among a few others. Gordon Grayson’s letters encompass an array of information on the business of horse breeding, training, and racing. Constantly giving his parents advice as to what should be done with the horses on the farm back home, many of his letters include detailed descriptions of the business at their family farm known as Blue Ridge Farm, which is located in Uppersville, Virginia. Gordon also provides an interesting insight into Colombian society with some notes on the political situation at various election times. As he saw much of World War II from his station in Bogota, Colombia, Gordon often laments at not feeling useful enough to the war effort. In the meantime, he provides a look at how the war was affecting other areas of the world through censorship and shipping difficulties. In general, Gordon Grayson’s collection is a good resource for a look at how an early twentieth century wealthy family functioned in addition to acting as a window into the personality and daily life of Gordon himself.


Grayson Family


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library


Grayson family


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library