Gray, Prentiss

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Authorized form of name

Gray, Prentiss

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  • Gray, Prentiss Nathaniel

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Dates of existence

2 July 1884-1934


Prentiss Nathaniel Gray was born 2 July 1884 in Oakland, California. He graduated from the University of California in Berkeley in 1906, distinguishing himself academically, athletically and socially. As captain of the University Militia, he was sent on guard duty to San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake and fire. Unable to campaign because of this, Gray was nevertheless elected President of Associated Students in his senior year. Following graduation, he began working for his father’s shipping business, the California and Oregon Coast Steamship Company. He married Laura Sherman in Washington 27 May 1908. Their eldest child, Barbara was born in Northern California in 1914, and their son, Sherman was born in New York in 1918. In January 1916 he was hired as part of the American relief effort to oversee the food supplies for Antwerp. He remained in Belgium after the American declaration of war to conduct the final inventory and to balance the books, and was decorated with dozens of medals from different countries as a result. In 1920, Gray established P. N. Gray & Co., an export-import grain business. In 1923, Gray, with no banking experience, organised, staffed, and launched the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in New York. During the 1920s, Gray quickly ensured Schroders prominence in the underwriting business. In the 1930s, he successfully shifted the focus of Schroders to financing foreign trade, and by the 1940s, the New York Schroder Bank was twice the size of the original J. Henry Schroder & Co. in London. Gray had an informal agreement with Frank Tiarks, managing partner of Schroders in London, that his vacation time would be unlimited as soon as the New York bank made its first one hundred thousand dollars profit. Gray’s hunting trips became longer and more elaborate as time progressed, culminating in a full year’s safari in Africa. Gray established an official measurement and scoring system for trophy animals, serving as the first editor of the Boone and Crockett Club’s Records of North American Big Game. Gray was fascinated with hunting from an early age, and began recording his trips in detail for his interested sisters during a hunting trip to the Stikine River and Cassiar Mountains in 1904. He continued this tradition throughout his life, documenting his expeditions in writings, illustrations, and photographs. Following his death at age 50 in a boating accident in the Florida Everglades, Gray's hunting and exploration journals and photographs were published by the Boone and Crockett Club in the form of two books, "From the Peace to the Fraser: Newly Discovered North American Hunting and Exploration Journals, 1900 to 1930" and "African Game-Lands: A Graphic Itinerary in Kenya and Along the Livingstone Trail in Tanganyika, Belgian Congo, and Angola, 1929". Gray Pass, a low-altitude pass through the Rockies, was named in his honour following his discovery of it during an expedition through Peace River country.


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Revised February 2, 2012 by KS.


  • English



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