The John Morgan Gray collection

John Morgan Gray, whose collection provided a number of books for this library, was variously a publisher, historian and author. He was best known as one of Canada's prominent book publishers. He joined the Macmillan Company of Canada (the Canadian offshoot of the MacMillan book publishing firm established in Britain) in 1930 and except for five years during World War II remained with the firm until his retirement.

John Morgan Gray was born in Ontario in 1907 and was educated at private schools and the University of Toronto. He joined the Macmillan Company of Canada soon after leaving college. During World War II, he enlisted in the Toronto Scottish Regiment and was assigned overseas serving in northwest Europe with the Canadian Intelligence Corps, retiring with the rank of major. He was decorated with an MBE and was Mentioned in Despatches. Shortly after returning from overseas he took over management of Macmillan; when he retired in 1973 he was president, chairman, and chief executive officer of the firm.

He was also for many years a keen student of history, an interest that was reflected in the list of distinguished historians who published with Macmillan, among them Donald Creighton, J.M.S. Careless, James Gray, Charles Stacey, and Joseph Schull. He was himself the author of Lord Selkirk of Red River and the first volume of his memoirs, Fun Tomorrow. Many years earlier he also published a boys' adventure story, The One-eyed Trapper.

At the time of his death in 1978 Mr. Gray was researching the 1837 Rebellion in Ontario and planned to write about it. Most of his books that were donated to the library are drawn from that work.

He served as president of the Ontario Historical Society and the Champlain Society.


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Revised: 16 May 2016