Boyce, Gray Cowan, 1899-1981
- Existence: 1899 - 1981
Gray C. Boyce taught medieval history at Northwestern University from 1946 until his retirement in the spring of 1967. He served as Department Chair, 1948-1966.
Boyce was born in San Francisco on February 19, 1899 and raised across the bay in Alameda. He earned a bachelor's degree, M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1920, 1921, and 1925 respectively. Upon earning his doctorate, Boyce studied at Harvard University in 1922-23, the University of Grenoble in 1925, and at the University of Ghent in 1925-26. That fall he joined the faculty of Princeton University, where he remained until 1946 save for three years in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II.
Though the author of many scholarly articles (particularly early in his career), Boyce devoted the majority of his life's work to bibliography. In doing so he followed the lead of his mentor at Berkeley, Louis John Paetow. After retiring, Boyce returned to Alameda to live with his sister Merle and complete his crowning achievement, the five-volume Literature of Medieval History, 1930-1975: A Supplement to Louis John Paetow's “A Guide to the Study of Medieval History.”
Boyce's health began to deteriorate rapidly after 1977. He suffered from Parkinson's disease and severe glaucoma, and died on May 14, 1981. In his obituary of Boyce, Richard Leopold, his friend and colleague in the Northwestern University Department of History, lamented the loss of “a superb scholar, an inspiring teacher, a judicious and fair-minded chairman, a wise counselor, and a loyal friend.”
Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:
Gray C. Boyce taught medieval history at Northwestern University from 1946 until his retirement in the spring of 1967. He served as Department Chair, 1948-1966. The Gray Boyce Papers are held in three and a half archival boxes and divided into three subseries: Biographical, Scholarly and Correspondence. The bulk of the materials are in the Correspondence series.