ms176Graylyn Estate Collection MS1761922-1995, 8 linear feetProcessed by Sarah Appleby and Rebecca Petersen MayZ. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives


PO Box 7777Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109URL:
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2020-05-13 16:58:07 -0400.Describing Archives: A Content Standard2017, 2020Revised by Tara Coady and Stephanie Bennett, Stephanie Bennett
English Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives Graylyn Estate Collection MS176 8 Linear Feet 3 record cartons, 5 document boxes, 1 oversize box 1922-1995, undated The Graylyn Estate was originally the home of Bowman Gray, Senior, and Nathalie Lyons Gray. The Graylyn Estate collection contains information about the planning, construction, and functioning of the buildings and grounds of Graylyn. Materials include blueprints, photographs and negatives of decor, design, interiors and exteriors, receipts for building materials and labor, architectural plans of Luther Lashmit, correspondence with architects and builders, oral histories about the estate on audio and video cassettes, research notes from Thomas Gray, landscape designs from Thomas Sears, and materials collected about the estate and related people by longtime Wake Forest University history professor J. Edwin Hendricks. The collection also documents the fire that destroyed part of the estate in the 1980s and its rebuilding. Historical Note

The original Graylyn Estate was the home of Bowman Gray, Senior (1874-1935), Nathalie Lyons Gray (1884-1961), and their two sons, Bowman Junior and Gordon. Bowman Gray, a son of the founder of Wachovia Bank and Trust Co., started work as a salesperson for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and by the time the home was built had risen to Chairman of the Board. In the 1920s, businessmen began building grand countryside estates for their families. In 1925, Nathalie Lyons Gray purchased 87 acres of pasture land and cornfields and set out to build her dream home.

Construction began on July 1, 1927, on a garage that was converted to a guest cottage and temporary home for the Grays during building. Groundbreaking for the new house was January 15, 1928, Bowman Junior's 21st birthday. As many as 136 people worked on construction of the estate at one time. The Grays moved into the completed house in 1932. With nearly 60 rooms and 46,00 square feet, Graylyn was one of the largest private homes in North Carolina.

In 1935, Bowman Gray, Senior died on shipboard in the North Atlantic Ocean while vacationing with his family. In 1946, Mrs. Gray and her sons gave the estate to Wake Forest University's Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The site served as an academic psychiatric hospital facility until 1959. In the 1950s, Gordon Gray was installed as the president of the University of North Carolina system. Mrs. Nathalie Gray Bernard, who had been living in Bernard Cottage, a guest residence on the estate, died in 1961. Gordon Gray was appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board by President John F. Kennedy in the same year.

In 1972, Gordon Gray purchased Graylyn Estate back from the medical school and donated it to Wake Forest University. Over time, the estate had many uses, but mainly housed university programs and students. On June 22, 1980, a fire ignited on the third floor of the Manor House during a performance on the lawn by the Winston-Salem Symphony. An audience of 7,000 watched as the top floors of the unoccupied house burned. The following day, University president James R. Scales announced that the home would be restored to its original 1932 condition and used as an educational conference center. Thomas Alexander Gray was the preservation consultant for the restoration.

On January 1, 1984, the restoration led by architect Edwin Bouldin, Jr. was completed. The house, once valued at $1.6 million in 1930, was now valued at over $15 million. Wake Forest University maintained ownership of Graylyn throughout the nineties, but the conference center was managed by Marriott Management Services until December 18, 1993. In 1993, Graylyn became an international Conference Center and began hosting individuals and organizations from all over the world, including former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. On July 1, 2001, Wake Forest University assumed management responsibilities. Since then, the property has undergone extensive operational, technological, and cosmetic renovations.

Source: "Graylyn." Graylyn International Conference Center,

Collection Overview

The records consist of architectural plans and drawings, financial and legal documents, a thesis, research files, and photographs, chiefly compiled and collected by Thomas A. Gray, relating to the Gray family property in Winston-Salem, N.C. Materials include blueprints, photographs and negatives of decor, design, interiors and exteriors, correspondence with vendors (1927-1930), receipts for building materials and labor, architectural plans of Luther Lashmit, correspondence with architects and builders including Northup and O'Brien, oral histories about the estate, research notes from Thomas Gray, whose family owned the estate, and landscape designs from Thomas W. Sears, and materials collected about the estate and related people by longtime Wake Forest University history professor J. Edwin Hendricks. The collection also documents the fire that destroyed part of the estate in the 1980s and its rebuilding. A few audiocassettes contain interviews with family members and preservationists and others conducted by Julia C. Parke for her thesis regarding Gordon Gray.

Due to preservation issues, some correspondence with construction-related companies was heavily sampled; the remaining correspondence has been cleaned as possible.


The Grayly Estate Collection is arranged in eight series: Architects' Plans and Drawings, Articles, Financial and Legal Documents, Historical Files, Pictorial Materials, Tom Gray Research Materials, Subject Files, and Vendors Files. Arrangement and description was completed first in 1982 by John Woodard and revised in 2017 by Tara Coady and Stephanie Bennett.

Preferred Citation

Graylyn Estate Collection (MS176), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use.

Copyright Statement

The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Separated Materials

The following volumes were removed from the collection: Meigs, Arthur J. An American Country Home: the property of Arthur E. Newbold Jr. Esqu., Laverock, Pa. Mellor, Meigs and Howe, architects. New York: Architectural Book Publishing Co., Inc., 1925. Di Nerdo, Antonio. French Farm Houses, Small Chateaux, and Country Churches. Cleveland, Ohio: J.H. Jansen, 1924.

Historic buildings -- North Carolina -- Winston-Salem Architecture -- North Carolina -- Winston-Salem Gray family Graylyn Conference Center (Wake Forest University) Gray, Bowman, 1874-1935 Graylyn Estate (Winston-Salem, N.C.) Architects' plans and drawingsReynolda area plans1922-1925Reynolds Estate adjoining property map1922 April11Reynolds property map1925 February12Graylyn Estate preliminary sketches1928Nathalie L. Gray estate, area plan1928 February13Preliminary sketches, negative1927617Graylyn Estate landscape drawings and planting plans1925-1941Topographical survey1925 August14Bath house plans1927 October 815Entrance and services drives plans192916Paved entrance plans1929 October 2417East entrance plans 1927 January 2018West entrance1927 January 2019Farm Group plans1930 January 25110Garage plans1928 January 10111Garden plans 1927 December 27112Residence group planting plansundated113General plans1928 December 10114Nathalie Bernard estate map and study1941 September 14115Marion Follin driveway plan1929 July 20116Swimming pool plans1927 July 11117Swimming pool plans1927 July 25119Graylyn Estate site plans1928-1962, undatedFarm groupFarm group grading1929 June 27119Farm group plans1929120-22Farm group chicken house plans1929123Farm group plans1929124Farm group kennel plans1929125GateMain entrance gate sketches, A-Cundated126-28Guest houseGardeners cottage plansundated129Cottage guesthouse plans1962130Palm houseFront greenhouse plans1928131Greenhouse plansundated132Tool ShedTool shed plansundated133Workroom building plansundated134Graylyn Main House Architect's Plans1928-1958, undatedAddition floor plans and elevations No. Y-2circa 1958249Additions to Bowman Gray Institute of Medical Research (Northup and O'Brien)1958 January 21250Additions to Bowman Gray Institute of Medical Research (Northup and O'Brien)1958 January 21247Main house additions, first and second floor plans (Southwell)1939 January 4246Electrical drawings (numbered)1928 June239Electrical drawings (numbered), Northup and O'Brien1928-1929240Elevations, side: No. 991, Sheet No. 7 Northup and O'Brien1928 April 12237Elevations, main house tower detailsundated238Floor plans, no. 102 and 103undated241Floor plans, no. 104undated242Floor Plans and Elevations for Graylyn addition Heating and swimming pool equipment materialsundated243Main house plans1927136Main house plans1928135Main house plans1928137-38Main house structural plansundated135Steel Layouts for Graylyn (Northup and O'Brien)1951 March 7248Structure plans for footings, no. 100 and 101undated244Terrace, walls, steps, pool detail1928139Water Tank Plans (Reynolda, Inc.)1929 December 19245Roaring Gap House, Summer Home of Mrs. B. Bernard1954Roaring Gap House alteration plans1954 Fall251Articles"The Story of Graylyn" by Jane A. Carmichael, final draft1984 July 183103North Carolina Architect. Cover photo of entrance in color and article "Rebirth of the Graylyn Estate" by Whitney Shaw, pp 4-131984 March-April3104Historic Preservation. "The Quiet Power of Gordon Gray" by John Greenya pp. 26-29.1983 September-October3105The Independent, Rural Hall, NC. "Rural Hall Man Recalls 19 Hardworking but Happy Years at Graylyn" by Debbie Dunn. [Interview with photos of Louie D. Baker]1982 June 103106Architecture and Design, Vol. V, No. 21, devoted to the work of Thomas W. Sears, with negative1941 September 91Architecture and Design, Vol XVII, devoted to the work of Thomas W. Sears1953 November92Financial and legal documentsFinancial and legal documents1927-1928252Financial and legal documents1929-1930253Financial and legal documents1931-1936254Report of Examination on Graylyn by Ernst and Ernst, Accountants255Cost Figures for Graylyn Estate256Payroll1939-1940257Record of Deeds, Bill of Sale1926 October 29258Historical filesSarenz-De Santa Maria Family Crest for Mr. Bernard259Graylyn booklet, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine260News clippings261National Register of Historic Places materials262Swimming pool materials263-64News clippings1973-1974265News clippings1976-1977266Fire news clippings1980 June 22267Conference center proposal clippings1980268Gray Family Appointment Book1940-1947269Gray family diary1939269Gray family diary1940-1944269Mrs. Bowman Gray's east entrance, gardens, garage, swimming pool materials270Graylyn furnishings271Mrs. Bernard's partial inventory272Mrs. Bernard's inventory1939 September273Graylyn telephone directory274Mrs. Bernard's shipping receiptsundated275Pictorial materialsBernard cottage, garage elevations287Exterior photographs 276-77Fire photographs1980 June 22387Gray family, estate workers, and estate negatives with descriptionscirca 1930-1938616Gray family home movies, VHS videocassette1926-196562Graylyn Estate photographs63Interior photographs 278-79Ironwork and tiles photographs285J. Barton Benson family visit to Graylyn Estate, VHS videocassettecirca 199561Kingsholm photographs284Landscape photographs 280-81Main house attic floor plan soundproof flooring291Main house basement floor plan288Main house first floor plans289Main house second floor plans290Negatives5Original photographs282Tiles and ironwork by Benson photographs283Tile and ironwork photographs386Subject filesBaker, Louis D., "Diary of Our Family's Nineteen Years at Graylyn"199581Chandelier and lantern sketchesundated65Docent history and fact documentscirca 1980s88Estate photographundated815Furniture inventoryundated67Garvey, Robert, on preservation act and Gordon Gray, audiocassettes1990 June 1976Genealogy materials undated89Gray, C. Boyden, audiocassettes1990 November 1672Gray, Gordon, biographical informationundated68Gray, Gordon, military service materialsundated813Gray, Gordon, New York Times clippingscirca 1950-1980812Gray, Gordon, talk at Graylyn, audiocassette1974 September 1982Gray, Gordon, talk at WFU, transcript1974 September 1985Gray, Gordon, talk on historic preservation transcript1974 September 1964Gray, Gordon, writings aboutundated814Gray, James, Graylyn usage correspondenceundated615Gray, Nancy M., regarding Gordon Gray, audiocassette1990 June 1471Gray, Thomas, regarding Graylyn and Gordon Gray audiocassette1989 November 1773Graylyn Estate poultry department materialsundated610Graylyn Estate projectscirca 1980s811Historic preservation correspondence and planningcirca 1974-198487Interior design for mansioncirca 1989-199593Landscaping news clippings1993 February 1269Murtagh, William, on preservation act and Gordon Gray, audiocassettes1990 June 2077National Register of Historic Place nomination formundated66News clippingsundated816North Carolina Museum of Art accession records and agreementsundated613Parke, Julia C., "Gordon Gray, a public servant in Historic Preservation," thesis199184Persian card room schematic and translationundated612Presidential Learning Center materialsundated810Promotional materialscirca 1984-198586Room interiors negativesundated83Scales, James R., on Gordon Gray and Graylyn audiocassettes1990 October 2475Stables, garden, and poultry photographsundated614Summit School news clippingundated611Walter, J. Jackson, regarding historic preservation, audiocassette1990 June 2074Tom Gray research materialsBerthrong, Merrill G., materials1975389Enfield Pottery and Iron Works1970-1972390Grafflin, A.C.1970-1974392Gray, Gordon1971-1974391Gray, Thomas, Graylyn, a Normal Revival Estate in North Carolina, thesis397Historical home clippings and brochures396Initial Interviews with A.C. Grafflin 1973393J. Barton Benson ironworks materials388Luther D. Lashmit materials1974394Sears, Thomas, materials1973395Vendors filesAudiffren Refrigerator Machine Co.19293107A. B. See Elevator Co.19293108Briar Hill Stone Co.19293109B. Ridgeway and Son19303110Carolina Steel and Iron Co.19293111Charles Hess Co.19303112Concrete Steel Co.19283113Construction records1938-19423114Endsield Pottery and Tile Works, Ewsley, Sloan and American Tile19303115Garage construction daily reports19383116Garage construction - daily reports19283117Graylyn accident reports19293118Hilgartner Marble Co.19293119International Casement Co.19293120Jacobson and Co.19303121Janes and Kirtland, Inc.19293122Jewett Refrigerator Co.19293123John D. Emock Co.19293124J. Barton Benson19293125J. G. Valiant Co.19283126Langenbacher Co.192941Lord and Burnham Co.192942Meyer-Sniffen Co.192943Murta, Appleton and Co.192944North Eastern Construction Co.192945-6North Eastern Construction Co.193047Roddis Lumber and Veneer Co.192948Thomas W. Sears192949Todhunter, Inc.1929410Vandor Slate Co.1930411Vitaglass Co.1930412Wiley and Wilson Consulting Engineers1928413Wyoming Cut-Stone Co.1928414