Margaret Gray

Fonds number:
Title: Margaret Gray
Dates of Material:
[193-], 1973-2005, predominant 1973-1978
38 cm of textual records
27 audio cassettes
1 painting
Biographical sketch

Margaret Miller Gray (née Blair) was a Scottish-born Canadian writer. Born in Glasgow in 1922, she immigrated with her family to Canada in 1925, where they settled in Toronto. After graduating from St. Clement’s School in 1939, she worked for a stockbroker before enlisting and serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, where she met her future husband, Don Gray. In 1945 she left the Navy and married Don Gray. They had two children, Ann and Ian.

While her husband’s job moved the family back and forth between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, Gray remained at home to care for their children, although she was active in community activities, taking art classes and performing in local theatre. In 1967, Gray began her Art History Degree at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal, however her studies were briefly interrupted when the family was transferred to Toronto. She continued her studies at the University of Toronto and completed her B.F.A. in 1974.

Gray is the author of three books: A.J. Casson (1976); Charles Comfort (1976); and Carl Schaefer (1977), all published by Gage Publishing. Co-written with her friend Margaret Rand and photographed by Lois Steen, the books were part of the Canadian Artists series, a project dedicated to highlighting younger contemporaries of the better-known Group of Seven. Gray arranged and conducted interviews and wrote the artist biographies, while Rand carried out background research on the technical aspects of their work. A fourth book on Yvonne McKague Housser was also planned and written, however due to production issues, underwhelming sales, and a change in the editorial staff at Gage Publishing, it was never published and all subsequent books in the series were cancelled. Gray continued to edit books in the 1980s and 1990s. She was a docent for several years at the Royal Ontario Museum and she also wrote numerous unpublished stories for her grandchildren.

After her husband's death, Gray moved west in 2011 to be close to her family in Calgary. She passed away in 2017.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of Margaret Gray's research material for the Canadian Artist series. Records include letters and correspondence, early manuscript drafts, notes, and audio cassettes featuring interviews with her subjects.

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records were acquired from Ann Gray-Elton, Margaret Gray's daughter, in 2018.

The banana flower painting by Yvonne McKague Housser was received from Ann Gray-Elton in February 2020. Housser and Margaret Gray became close friends while Gray was working on the Canadian Artists series, and Housser gifted Gray the painting as a token of their friendship.

Access restrictions

No restrictions on access.


No further accruals are expected.

Related material

Volume 10 of the journal Boreal is available in the Laure Rièse periodical collection at EJ Pratt Library and includes a review of Gray's book AJ Casson by John Flood.

Link to the Library catalogue here:

Access points

Provenance access point:
Gray, Margaret, 1922–2017


Casson, A.J. (Alfred Joseph), 18981992
Comfort, Charles, 1900–1994
Housser, Yvonne McKague, 1898–1996
Schaefer, Carl, 19031995

Related special collections at Victoria University Library