Home » Articles » GRAY, SIR ALEXANDER 1882-1968




A 6-volume series of journals commencing in 1918 and ending a year before his death provide an unbroken account of daily doings, appointments, and thoughts. There is also a notebook on all books read and to be read covering the same period. The collection includes a small amount of correspondence, including individual letters from Hugh Campbell, Joseph Chamberlain, John Maynard Keynes, D. H. Macgregor, Frederick Ogilvie, and Joseph Shield Nicholson; contracts and correspondence with publishers for Gray’s poetry and his translations of Danish ballads into Scots; and with Longmans for his books on the Socialist Tradition and the Development of Economic Doctrine. There is a file containing a curriculum vitae and testimonials in support of Gray’s candidacy for the first chair of political economy at Aberdeen University in 1921. The testimonials were supplied by two academics, John Shield Nicholson and Richard Lodge, and by senior colleagues in the civil service who could vouch for Gray’s work for the Local Government Board, the Colonial Office, and the National Health Insurance Commission. Three articles by Gray and a satire in the form of a verse play featuring such characters as ‘Sir Maynard Canes’, ‘Hubert Hendison’, ‘Winston’ (Chancellor of the Exchequer), and ‘Ramsay’ (a Labour leader), entitled ‘Vespers: A Political Entertainment’ are included.


NLS, Manuscript Collections, MS 10717-25 (Acc 11897)


Two collections of literary correspondence were deposited by Gray containing letters from two poet friends, Gordon Bottomley and John Freeman, on literary subjects (NLS MS 9754); and letters from Nan Shepherd, 1957-1961 (NLS MS 27438). The correspondence with Freeman is published in John Freeman’s Letters, edited by G. Freeman and J. Squire, (1936)


Letters to the Secretary of Edinburgh University concerning Gray’s application and appointment to the chair of political economy in 1934-5; the conditions attached to his acceptance; and the date and theme of his inaugural lecture on ‘Some Observations on Planning’. Edinburgh UL


Letters and papers found in books presented to Edinburgh UL by Gray, 1957-9. Edinburgh UL DK 7.37


Letters to and from Hedwig Born, 1952. Edinburgh UL SBP 83191 Bor


Letter to Helen B. Cruikshank, 1954. Edinburgh UL Gen 1929/38


Letter from Gray to D. Heatley with an offprint of an article by Gray from the Scottish Historical Review, 1912. Edinburgh UL 81/96


Letters to and from Sir Thomas Jaffrey, 1948. Edinburgh UL 5.68


Correspondence with Charles Sarolea, an Edinburgh colleague and the Belgian consul, 1942-1947. Edinburgh UL 540901 in Sar Coll 13a


Letter about the Board of Customs signed by Adam Smith and donated by Gray in 1963 for deposit in the Nicholson (or departmental) Library as proof to students of economics that Smith had been a living person. Edinburgh UL Dh. 6.58


Correspondence with the editors of the Economic Journal on the publication of Gray’s Presidential Address to Section F of the British Association. RES Archives, BLPES, RES 6/1/182



ALEC LYON MACFIE, a few letters, 1955-60. GULSC

SIR EDWARD AUSTIN GOSSAGE ROBINSON, letter to, 1934, on Dutch reviews in the Economic Journal. RES Archive, BLPES 17/1



‘Professor Gray’s Farewell’, University of Edinburgh Journal, XXXVIII, 3, June 1998, pp. 149-54.


TOM JOHNSTON, ‘Sir Alexander Gray: A “Varlet” Remembers’, Aberdeen University Review, LVIII, 201, Spring 1999, pp. 49-54


ALAN THOMPSON, ‘Sir Alexander Gray; A Personal Memoir’, University of Edinburgh Journal, June 2002

New Palgrave; ODNB