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Claude M. Gray papers

Identifier: L540

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, military documents, a diary, photographs and postcards, realia, and other papers from Claude M. Gray in Indiana, the United States, and France, ranging from 1910 to 1948, regarding his education at Rose Polytechnic Institute, his service during World War I, and daily life.

Military records include telegrams, transport orders, and bulletins, pay record book, tickets, and identification cards, as well as Gray's World War I diary, World War I photographs and postcards, recommendation letters, and service records. There are also photocopies of newspaper clippings, autobiographical materials, memorials, insurance vouchers, a charcoal drawing of Gray during the war, and realia from World War I and Rose Polytechnic Institute, such as pins, buttons, and medals.


  • 1910-1948


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Claude Matthews Gray was born on September 25, 1892 to Lawrence O. Gray and Ella Mae (Brown) Gray near Rockville, Parke County, Indiana. Gray attended a country school up until the eighth grade and then spent two years at Rockville High School. In 1908, the Gray family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana where Claude's father had purchased a grocery store. Gray went on to attend and graduate from Wiley High School in 1910. Due to his father's illness and need to support his mother and three siblings, Gray took a position as a locomotive fireman for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He spent six years in this position before entering Rose Polytechnic Institute in 1916 to study mechanical engineering. He was elected president of his sophomore class. On June 18, 1918, Gray married Gladys Hope McClung. They subsequently had two daughters, Mary Jane and Elizabeth Anne.

World War I interrupted Gray's schooling. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 1918. Gray entered the war as a private with Company B, 66th Regiment of Engineers and was sent to France where he served as a locomotive engineer. He was then promoted to assistant road foreman of engines. After seventeen months in the army and the end of the war, Gray was discharged and returned to the Rose Polytechnic Institute, having only lost one year of school. He was elected class president his senior year and graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1921. He became a special apprentice with the Pennsylvania Railroad in their Terre Haute shop. In 1923, Gray was promoted to gang foreman and assigned to their Columbus, Ohio shop. He was then promoted to engine house foreman in Indianapolis, Indiana in January 1926, a position he held until January 1929.

In January 1929, Gray accepted a position with the St. Louis Public Service Company as superintendent of shops and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. he then accepted a position with the Chicago Surface Lines in the fall of 1943. On April 1, 1944, Gray returned to St. Louis and the St. Louis Public Service Company as vice president and operating manager.

Gray accepted the position of vice president and operating manager of the Baltimore Transit Firm in Baltimore, Maryland in November 1946. Due to the death of the president of the Baltimore Transit Firm, Gray was elected president of the firm on December 18, 1946. The firm then experienced some negative feedback due to its beginning substitutions of buses for streetcars. Claude M. Gray died February 1, 1948 in Baltimore and was buried in Terre Haute.


0.33 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Dr. Mary Jane Gray on 2006/04/04 and 2006/04/06.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2007/02 by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. EAD finding aid created 2018/02/05 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid revised 2024/04/18 by Brittany Kropf.
Claude M. Gray papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.