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Jane Loring Gray (1821-1909)



Jane Loring Gray was born Jane Lathrop Loring in 1821. She was the daughter of Charles Greely Loring, a prominent Boston lawyer, and Anna Brace Loring. While the family lived in Boston, Jane spent a good deal of time in her mother's home town of Litchfield, Connecticut. She served as her father's hostess in Boston after her mother died (about 1836) and her sister was married. In 1847 she became engaged to Asa Gray, and they were married on May 4, 1848. Jane accompanied her husband on most of his voyages and chronicled them in her letters to her family. After her husband's death in 1888, she devoted herself to memorializing him: she prepared an edition of Gray's letters and contributed funds toward the establishment of the Asa Gray Professorship. She continued to live in the house in the Botanic Garden until her death in 1909.


Hunter Dupree. Asa Gray. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1959.

Scope and Content:

The papers described here as Jane Loring Gray papers consist of letters to Jane Gray from her family and others and one letter from Jane to a relative. Other papers of Jane Gray are scattered through the archives.

She compiled five volumes of botanists' autographs and accumulated miscellaneous biographical notes on botanists; these are more fully described in the Biographical and Autograph Collection section of the Archives Guide (vol. I).

The letters she wrote to her family while in Europe and elsewhere are in the Asa Gray "Green Box" Collection; also included are miscellaneous letters to her while away, account books, invitations, etc. There are also a few miscellaneous letters addressed to Jane while she was at home and Jane's reminiscences of Asa. The Asa Gray letters which Jane copied or had copied while she was preparing the edition of his letters are also found in the Asa Gray Green Box collection.

There are a few items pertaining to Jane Gray in the Semi-Historical file. Still more Jane Gray papers can be found in other repositories at Harvard. University Archives has a collection of letters from Jane to her family, and Schlesinger Library has other papers, including items predating her marriage to Asa Gray.


The Jane Gray items described here were given by Susan Loring on June 27, 1984. She obtained them indirectly from Katherine P. Loring, her aunt. Katherine Loring had set up a Loring museum in the Beverly Historical Society, and the collection was returned to the family after her death in the 1940s. Katherine Loring was a niece of Jane Gray.

The collection given by Susan Loring included a number of other items which have been incorporated into other collections in the archives.

Container Listing: (Box AD)

Folder 1: Letters to Jane Gray -- not family

George Bentham, 10 Mar 1852

Francis Boott, 25 June 1852

Annette S. Carey, 18 Dec 1895

John Carey, 22 Apr 1853

Emma Darwin, 28 Oct 1871

G. Rosetta Flower, 10 Oct 1881

C.A. Sulivan (?), 25 Jul ?

Eliza Torrey, 23 Feb; 29 Jul ?

Folder 2: Jane Gray -- family letters

4 letters to Jane from "Lizzie,"[probably Elizabeth Smith Loring, her sister-in-law], 1848-1849

1 letter to Jane frrom "E" [the same], n.d.

1 letter to "Lizzie" from Jane, n.d.

See Also:

Historic Letter Collection
Semi-Historic Letter Collection
Gray Archives Photograph Collection #1082, #1193, #1177.2
Jane Gray Autograph Collection


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Last Updated June 2002
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