biography | timeline
1872: Pearl Zane Gray is born in Zanesville, OH.
1890: Graduates from high school. Family moves to Columbus, OH.
1891: Becomes a traveling tooth puller. Pitches baseball for a baseball team in Columbus.
1892: Accepts a baseball scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania. Enters university, studying dentistry.
1893: Plays on the varsity baseball team. Pitching career later ruined by a rule change involving the distance between home plate and pitcher's mound.
1896: Graduates from UPenn. Opens a dental office on West 74th Street in New York City.
1900: Meets Lina Elise Roth.
1902: Finishes his first novel, Betty Zane, in the winter. Borrows money from his brother Romer Carl for publishing. Changes his name to Zane Grey.
1904: Writes The Spirit of the Border. No publisher agrees to print it.
1905: Writes The Last Trail, but cannot get it published.
1906: The Spirit of the Border is published by A. L. Burt & Company. Zane buys a house in Lackawaxen, PA. Marries Lina Roth and the two move to Lackawaxen.
1907: Zane meets J.C. "Buffalo" Jones. Goes to Arizona with Jones for several weeks to hunt and rope lions. Returns and writes The Last of the Plainsmen, but book is rejected by Harper's.
1909: Begins a long novel about the west. Son, Romer Grey, is born.
1910: Finishes The Heritage of the Desert. Book is accepted by Harper & Brothers.
1911: Writes Riders of the Purple Sage, but cannot get it published. Takes a trip to Mexico, fishes off Tampico and travels up the Santa Rosa River.
1912: Riders of the Purple Sage is rejected by several publishers. Grey persuades the vice-president of Harper's to read it. The novel is finally accepted, published and becomes an enormous success. Daughter, Elizabeth Zane Grey, is born.
1913: Writes Desert Goldand The Light of Western Stars. Former is published by Harper's and becomes a big seller.
1914: The Light of Western Stars is published by Harper's and becomes a huge success. Goes on extended fishing trips to Catalina, Long Key, Florida, Nova Scotia and New Jersey. Writes The Lone Star Ranger and The Rainbow Trail.
1915: The Lone Star Ranger and The Rainbow Trail are published by Harper's. Both are successful, with Ranger making the best-seller list. Writes The Border Legion. Son, Loren Grey, born.
1916: Writes Wildfire. The Border Legion is published by Harper's and sells well.
1917: Wildfire is published by Harper's and makes the best-seller list. Writes The U. P. Trail and Man of the Forest.
1918: The U. P. Trail is published and is the best-selling book of the year. Riders of the Purple Sage, The Rainbow Trail, and The Border Legion are made into motion pictures. The Grey family moves to Hollywood, California.
1919: Visits Death Valley. Writes Wanderer of the Wasteland.
1920: Man of the Forest is published by Harper's. It gets to number one on the best-seller list. Writes The Mysterious Rider.
1921: The Mysterious Rider is published by Harper's and makes the top ten list. Writes To the Last Man and Call of the Canyon.
1922: To the Last Man and The Day of the Beast are published by Harper's. Last Man makes the top ten list. Writes The Vanishing American.
1923: Writes and sells Code of the West and The Thundering Herd. Writes numerous fishing articles.
1924: Buys Fisherman, refits it, and sails to the Galapagos Islands.
1925: Visit to the Galapagos Islands. Writes The Bee Hunter, The Deer Stalker, Don and Captives of the Desert for serial publication. Harper's pubishes The Thundering Herd and The Vanishing American. Grey sails to New Zealand in December.
1926: Fishing in New Zealand. Sells Forlorn River and Nevada to serials.
1927: Fishing in New Zealand. Writes Open Range and The Water Hole for serial publication.
1928: Fishing in Tahiti. Writes Sunset Pass, The Sheep Herder and Fighting Caravans for serial publication.
1929: Fishing in Tahiti. Writes The Drift Fence, The Yellow Jacket Feud, and Rustlers of Silver River for serial publication.
1930: Writes The Dude Ranger and Robber's Roost for serials. Buys Fisherman II.
1931: Refits Fisherman II. Sails to Fiji and returns. Writes West of the Pecos, The Trail Driver and Raiders of the Spanish Peaks for serials.
1932: Writes The Young Runaway, The Lost Wagon Train and Thunder Mountain for serial publication. Sales fall due to the Depression.
1933: Writes Boulder Dam but it is not published.
1934: Sells Outlaws of Palouse for serial publication. This is the last story sold to serials.
1936: Sells serial rights of Knights of the Range. Takes a fishing trip to Australia.
1937: Sells serial rights of Majesty's Rancho. Suffers a heart attack and returns to his home at Altadena, California to recover.
1938: Makes one more trip to Australia.
1939: Dies at Altadena, California.
Source: Zane Grey: A Biography by Frank Gruber. © 1970 by Frank Gruber and Zane Grey, Inc.