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Search >> Gray, John Frederick Schiller ( Fred ) (1840-1891)

Physician.

Fred Gray, the son of a prominent New York doctor, attended medical school and became a physician after the Civil War (E. Miller, "Introduction" 11). Gray fought for the Union army during the war--including the battle at Antietam--and was promoted to the rank of major. He is identified as the leader of the "Fred Gray Association," a group that Ed Folsom and Ken Price characterize as "a loose confederation of young men who seemed anxious to explore new possibilities of male-male affection" (Re-Scripting 62). Other members of the group included Walt Whitman, Nat Bloom, and Hugo Fritsch. Gray reportedly dined with Whitman at Pfaff's soon after the battle at Antietam (G. Allen 273).

In a letter to Hugo Fritsch, Whitman wrote of Gray: "I am contemplating a tremendous letter to my dear comrade Frederickus, which will make up for deficiencies--my own comrade Fred, how I should like to see him & have a good heart's time with him, & a mild orgie [sic], just for a basis, you know, for talk & interchange of reminiscences & the play of the quiet lambent electricity of real friendship" (CW 1:158).

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References & Biographical Resources

Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. New York: MacMillan, 1955. [more about this work]
According to Allen, Whitman is recorded as dining at Pfaff's in September, 1862, with Fred Gray, who had recently fought in the battle at Antietam (273).

Allen quotes a letter from September 11, 1864, from Whitman to William O'Connor about his trip to New York. In this letter, he writes of his "amusements" that "last night I was with some of my friends of Fred Gray association, till late wandering the east side of the city first in the lager beer saloons & then elsewhere" (316).

In a note, Allen mentions a letter from Whitman to Nat (Bloom) and Fred Gray dated March 19, 1863 (571 n82). [pages: 273,316,571(n82)]
Blalock, Stephanie M. "'My Dear Comrade Frederickus': Walt Whitman and Fred Gray." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. 27.1 (2009): 49-65. [more about this work]
Whitman held a nostalgic affection for Gray long after Gray had moved away from New York and started a family. Blalock suggests that Whitman's interests in Gray indicate Whitman's more literate and polished tastes above his associations with Pfaff's Bohemian crowd. Over the years, deaths in Gray's immediate family led to further disassociation from Whitman and Pfaff's.
Holloway, Emory. Walt Whitman: An Interpretation in Narrative. New York & London: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926. [more about this work]
Holloway reprints Whitman's March 19, 1863, letter to Gray and Bloom. [pages: 200-204]
Karbiener, Karen. "Whitman at Pfaff's: Personal Space, a Public Place, and the Boundary-Breaking Poems of Leaves of Grass (1860)." Literature of New York. Ed. Sabrina Fuchs-Abrams. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. 1-38. [more about this work]
Notes how Gray related the horrific details of Antietam to Whitman in September 1862, after which Whitman decided to go to the front.
Katz, Jonathan Ned. Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001. [more about this work]
[pages: 151]
Miller, Edwin Haviland. "Introduction." The Correspondence of Walt Whitman: Volume I, 1842-1867. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 1-18. [more about this work]
[pages: 11]
Stansell, Christine. "Whitman at Pfaff's: Commercial Culture, Literary Life and New York Bohemia at Mid-Century." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. 10.3 (1993): 107-126. [more about this work]
Gray is the namesake of the Fred Gray Association. [pages: 107,111,118]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Hugo Fritsch, Before August 7, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 123-124. [more about this work]
Whitman reminisces about his supper's with Fred at Pfaff's. [pages: 124]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Hugo Fritsch, October 8, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 158-160. [more about this work]
Whitman asks Fritsch to excuse him to Fred Gray for not writing. He misses Fred very much and wishes to see all of his friend in New York. [pages: 158]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Nathaniel Bloom, September 5, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 141-143. [more about this work]
Whitman mentions that he misses his dear friend Fred Gray [pages: 142]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to William D. O'Connor, September 27, 1867." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 342-343. [more about this work]
Whitman informs O'Connor that he has seen Fred Gray. [pages: 343]
Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence of Walt Whitman: Volume I, 1842-1867. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. [more about this work]
Whitman, Walt. Letter to Nathaniel Bloom and John F.S. Gray. 1863. 80-85. [more about this work]
Whitman, Walt. Letter to William D. O'Connor. 1867. 342-343. [more about this work]

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