William Cabell Grayson Collection Finding Aid


William Cabell Grayson Collection Finding Aid


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum Staff






Papers from 1930s and 1940s from William, son of Cary T., including material from his service in WWII.


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum


Cataloging of archival materials




Records are arranged chronologically within their respective folders, with the earliest record placed in the front of the folder as one opens the box with the front of the box facing toward them. There are exceptions: General Correspondence, is arranged alphabetically by first name, and then chronologically within each folder. Also, Miscellaneous is arranged by subject matter that groups together similar forms of material, and where possible is arranged chronologically with the earliest record first.


Correspondence: To William C. Grayson
Box 1 Baruch, Bernard, July 20, 1939
Glass, Carter, 1934, 1939
Grayson Jr., Cary T., 1946-1947
Grayson, Cary T., Admiral, 1937
Grayson, Gordon, 1940-1947
Harrison, George L., 1930-1946
Harrison, Mrs. George L., 1928-1948
Roosevelt, President and Mrs., 1937-1938
Wilson, Edith

Correspondence: From William C. Grayson
Harrison, George L., 1942-1951
Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. George L., 1942-1953
Harrison, Mrs. George L., 1943-1951

Correspondence: Other
Family members, to and from miscellaneous, 1938-1940
Grayson family, to multiple members, 1933-1948
Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. George L., from Gordon Grayson, Cary T. Grayson Jr., and Janet Ketchum, 1947, 1951
King, Miss Helen from William C. Grayson and Gordon Grayson, 1943

General Correspondence: William C. Grayson
A- J, 1933-1946
K- U, 1930-1944
Businesses, 1934-1941
Invitations, 1937-1941

General Correspondence: Other
Grayson, Cary T., Admiral, Correspondence to, 1935-1937
Harrison, Mrs. George L., Correspondence from, 1939-1947
Harrison, Mrs. George L., Correspondence to, 1909, 1927-1928, 1935, 1938-1951
Name Cards

Miscellaneous: William C. Grayson
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Advertisements, products, and membership requests
Banking and Receipts
Blank Postcards: Canada
Blank Postcards: England
Blank Postcards: Ireland
Blank Postcards: Miscellaneous
Blank Postcards: Scotland
Blank Postcards: United States
Box 2 Book related
Bubble Gum Cards
Business Cards
Cards not addressed and/or addressed to miscellaneous
Charities, requests for donations
Clothing and laundry related
Engagement and Wedding Announcements: William C. Grayson and Janet Ketchum, 1951
Entertainment: Plays and Movies: United States
Entertainment: Plays: Foreign
Entertainment: Science
Event Ticket Stubs
Games: Card and Board
Horse Racing
International Organizations
Joke Certificate
Magazine Pages
Military Memorabilia: William C. Grayson, 1944-1945
Nature and/or bird related
Newspaper Clippings: Miscellaneous
Newspaper Clippings: Poems
Newspaper Clippings: School Project
Newspaper Clippings: Sewanee Sports
Newspaper Clippings: St. Alban’s Sports
Newspapers: Courier- Journal, May 5, 1940
Newspapers: New York Times: Section 8: New York World’s Fair, March 5, 1939
Newspapers: Sewanee Alumni News, November 1940 and February 1941
Newspapers: Sewanee Purple, 1940-1941
Newspapers: St. Alban’s News, 1937-1941
Newspapers: Stanford Daily, March 28, 1949
Newspapers: Yale News, February 27, 1937
Newspapers: Yale News, February 1940- October 1940
Newspapers: Yale News, November 1940
Box 2 Newspapers: Yale News, December 1940
Newspapers: Yale News, January 1941- March 1941
Newspapers: Yale News, April 1941
Newspapers: Yale News, May 1941
Box 3 Photographs and Negatives: Miscellaneous
Photographs: School Sports
Poetry, Songs
Postcards with notations
School Work: Early School Work, 1927-1934
School Work: Miscellaneous Notes
School Work: St. Alban’s: Biology, 1936
School Work: St. Alban’s: English, 1936-1938
School Work: St. Alban’s: French, 1936-1938
School Work: St. Alban’s: Latin, 1936
School Work: St. Alban’s: Math, 1938
School Work: St. Alban’s: Physics, 1938-1939
School Work: St. Alban’s: Sacred Studies
School Work: St. Alban’s: Spelling, 1936-1937
School Work: Yale, 1942
Scout Paper, Winnit Club Paper
Sewanee Memorabilia
Sports: Baseball
Sports: Basketball
Sports: Boxing
Sports: Fishing
Sports: Hockey
Sports: Schedules
St. Alban’s Memorabilia, 1931-1941
Stamps: Used, Foreign
Tickets and Cards
Travel: Europe
Travel: Mexico
Travel: United States
U.S. Government
Yale Memorabilia, 1938-1941

Gordon Grayson: Correspondence
Grayson, William C. Grayson and Admiral Cary T. Grayson, Correspondence from, 1926, 1948
General Correspondence, 1936, 1938

Gordon Grayson: Miscellaneous
Early School Work, 1925-1926
School Work: High School

Cary T. Grayson Jr.: Correspondence
Box 3 Grayson, William C., George L. Harrison, and Mrs. George L. Harrison, Correspondence from, 1928-1951
Veterans Administration, Correspondence from, 1948-1949
General Correspondence, 1937-1949
General Correspondence, Businesses, 1946-1949

Cary T. Grayson Jr.: Miscellaneous
Early School Work, 1925-1926
Military Memorabilia, 1946, 1949
Miscellaneous, 1941
School: St. Alban’s, Stanford University, University of Hawaii, and Miscellaneous Research, 1937-1948
Travel: International, 1948

Biography or History

William Cabell Grayson was born on May 28, 1921 in Washington, D.C.. He was the son of Cary Travers Grayson and Alice Gertrude Grayson who was formerly a Gordon. He had two brothers; James Gordon Grayson and Cary Travers Grayson Jr. His father was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and a physician to three Presidents: William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. At his death on February 15, 1938, William’s father was also the head of the American Red Cross. After his father’s death, William’s mother was remarried to George L. Harrison. Harrison was a one-time chairman of the board for the New York Life Insurance Company and he was once the president of the Federal Reserve Bank. William was educated at St. Alban’s School in Washington D.C., where he was president of the senior class. At the collegiate level William attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He also studied at Yale University where he graduated in 1944. At Yale, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, Torch Honor Society, and Skull and Bones. During World War II, he was a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and he was mostly located in the Pacific throughout the duration of the war. After World War II, William was employed with NBC Television in Washington D.C, before taking a job at the Smithsonian Institution. He married Janet Ketchum, who was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Ketchum, on April 15, 1951. Janet was a graduate of Chatham Hall and Vassar College. Later in life, she was a member of the Junior League of Washington and was employed at the State Department for some time. William and Janet had three children: William Cabell Grayson Jr., Katherine Mary Grayson, and George Grayson. William Cabell Grayson died on April 15, 1980.

Other Descriptive Data

This collection mainly consists of correspondence that was used for keeping in touch by the Grayson Family. The vast majority of the records within this collection were either written by or to William Cabell Grayson, although there are a few correspondence that were neither. Types of correspondence include letters, postcards, telegrams, and greeting cards. The collection contains correspondence to and from Mrs. George L. Harrison, correspondence to Admiral Cary Travers Grayson, and correspondence and ephemera that belonged to Cary Travers Grayson Jr. and James Gordon Grayson, newspaper clippings, school work, memorabilia from St. Alban’s School, Yale University, and Sewanee University, blank postcards and travel brochures from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Europe, school newspapers from St. Alban’s School, Yale University, and Sewanee University, sport and play bills, event ticket stubs, various advertisements, military memorabilia, and various other types of mixed media.

Scope and Content

The documents within the William Cabell Grayson collection contain many correspondence, ephemera, and newspaper clippings from the years 1909 to 1953. The records are mostly correspondence to and from William and to and from his parents (his mother and George L. Harrison, his stepfather). The collection also includes correspondence to and from William’s brothers Cary and Gordon and ephemera that belonged to them. The records offer an insight into the lives of the Grayson family and the strong emphasis they must have placed on keeping in touch with their loved ones. Besides, family life, the records also provide a glance of the upper middle class in the 1930s and 40s. One subject that is heavily covered within the back and forth correspondence is travel. William seems to have traveled all over the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe and he makes some great comments about each of the places he goes. Also, because of his military involvement during World War II, the records give some information regarding the U.S. Marine Corps. Other topics that are touched on are collegiate experiences of the time, social status, marriage announcements and sports. However, the main subject matter is personal communications in which William says hello to his parents and lets them know that he is ok and he misses them. Only briefly does he talk about any other areas that may be of interest to research.

There are several authors of correspondence that are of note within this collection. The most numerous of these are written by George L. Harrison and they range from 1930 to 1951. However, again it should be noted that they are mainly to say hello and communicate travel information. In some cases though, Harrison mentions sports and politics. The collection also contains invitations and thank you notes from President and Mrs. Roosevelt, Senator Carter Glass, Bernard Baruch, and Edith Wilson.

In addition to correspondence, this collection also contains a numerous amount of mixed media. The scope of this material shows the varying interests that the Grayson family, and William Grayson in particular, participated in and enjoyed. Topics within range from sports, horse racing, entertainment, dances, several of the Grayson sons’ alma maters, travel, military memorabilia, wedding and engagement announcements, and multiple other forms of media that the Grayson family would have been exposed to during the inclusive dates of this collection.

The records within this collection are mainly concerning the Grayson family’s life and social interactions. They paint a good picture of what upper middle class family life was like within the dates that this collection encompasses.

Profile description : Descriptive Rules



Finding Aid for William Grayson Collection[MBC].pdf


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum Staff, “William Cabell Grayson Collection Finding Aid,” 1909-1953, FA000484, William Cabell Grayson Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid