GREY, Zane

From Islapedia
Zane Grey & his wife at home at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island
Zane Grey in his fishing room at home at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island
In August 1921, Zane Grey hired Catalina Captain George Michaelis and Gladiator for a fishing trip to San Clemente Island.
Original in SCIF Archives.
Zane Grey's cancelled check to Captain George Michaelis for $750.00.
Original in SCIF Archives.
Zane Grey pictured with an unbelievable 2200 lb. sunfish caught in 1926.
Zane Grey pictured with a 582# swordfish caught on June 29, 1926 off Santa Catalina Island.
Zane Grey pictured with a 582# swordfish caught on June 29, 1926 off Santa Catalina Island.
Emily Parker with a 2,200 pound sunfish taken
by Zane Grey, Santa Catalina Island, 1926
Tales of Swordfish and Tuna published in 1927 illustrated with 20 plates.


GREY, [Pearl] Zane (1872-1939), born Pearl Grey in Zanesville, Ohio, and trained as a dentist, he became a writer of western stories and articles on outdoor life. He left dentistry to write full-time in 1904, but it was not until his publication of Riders of the Purple Sage in 1912 that he gained wide acclaim. In 1906 he honeymooned at Hotel Del Coronado where he caught his first saltwater fish from the hotel’s pier — a shark. It was the beginning of his great love of sport fishing. Grey is known to be the first to capture a broadbill swordfish with only a rod and reel.

As an outdoor enthusiast, Grey spent time on and around the California Channel Islands. By 1914 Grey began traveling to the island annually. In 1916 he was inducted into the Tuna Club. He spent the summers from 1914 through 1927 on Santa Catalina Island where he owned a home at Avalon built in 1925 — the Zane Grey pueblo, which was designed to resemble a Hopi Indian dwelling. It included 14 rooms, servant’s quarters and a workroom. It was finished off with exterior stucco and rustic ladders leading to the roof.

The home, under construction in 1925, was reported to cost $50,000. It was built of West Avalon Terrace.


Zane Grey = [1905] Lina "Dolly" Roth

  • 1. Romer Zane Grey (1909-1976)
  • 2. Elizabeth "Betty" Zane Grey [Grosso] (1912-2007)
  • 3. Loren Grey (1915-2007)


Grey died of heart failure on October 23, 1939 at his home in Altadena. After his death the home in Avalon was converted to a hotel.

Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, Santa Catalina Island


  • 1925. Grey, Zane. THe Log of the Gladiator Sunset Magazine, April 1926.


  • 1927. Grey, Zane. Tales of Swordfish and Tuna New York: Harper & Brothers, 1927. 203 pages, 90 illustrations. Cloth. Frontispiece from photo of Grey next to the world's record broadbill swordfish (as of June 29, 1926), 582 pounds, caught at Santa Catalina Island. Includes several photographs taken at Santa Catalina Island and information about the Tuna Club founded by Charles Holder. Grey is known to be the first to capture a broadbill swordfish with only a rod and reel.
[original in SCIF archives]


  • 1972. [Grey, Zane] Reiger, George. Zane Grey: Outdoorsman New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, (1972) First edition in dust jacket. Many photos of Grey's life at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island.
[original in SCIF archives]


  • 1979. [Grey, Zane] Mintey, Elyse Zane Grey's Avalon Sea 71(6):35-37, 111, June 1979
[original in SCIF archives]



Top of Page



In the News~

August 18, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Zane Grey, the author, is encamped at Mosquito Harbor collecting material for a new book with the island harbor as a setting.”


September 1, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Zane Grey, the author, who for several weeks has spent many hours hunting game fish, returned to San Francisco Saturday. Mr. Grey expects to spend a month on the island before winter is over, and has chartered the Leta D., Captain O. I. Danielson.”


December 31, 1924 [TI/Avalon]: “Zane Grey's palatial new cruising yacht is described. Lunnenburg, Nova Scotia, December 1 — Zane Grey's newly fitted up schooner, Fisherman, sailed from here today for Panama, where the author and his party will embark, and will proceed to the Cocos Islands, and from there to the Galapagos Islands, which are represented as the strangest islands in the world...


September 12, 1914 [LAT]: “Zane Grey, the author, arrived at the Imperial yesterday from a desert island in the Pacific, where he is convinced he heard the sound of a naval battle. ‘I had gone with a party to San Clemente Island, which is wild and uninhabited, and lies about thirty-six miles west of Catalina Island, for tuna and swordfish,’ said Mr. Grey. ‘We had a camp there, and had been on the island for about ten days, when we heard what was unmistakably a fight with big guns. I think the date was August 20, and it was about half an hour before sunset. The sea was absolutely calm. ‘Suddenly we heard what sounded like the eruption of a volcano, and such we thought it was for a moment. But other reports followed, and in rapid succession. We were almost knocked over by the shocks. We looked out to sea, but could make out nothing. Back of us was a mountain, and we started to climb up that to see if we could distinguish ships or smoke on the other side. But before we got halfway up, darkness fell. The cannonading lasted fully half an hour. There were single shots and volleys…”


September 15, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Zane Grey, the author, who has been fishing from the launch Leta D. for several weeks, returned Wednesday to his home in the east.”


August 17, 1915 [TI/Avalon]: “Two swordfish have been sent from San Clemente waters by Zane Grey, the largest one weighing 138 pounds, the smallest 110 pounds. Swordfish are said to be almost as numerous in San Clemente waters as the tuna are now in Catalina waters.”


August 24, 1915 [TI/Avalon]: “The season’s record swordfish weighing 284 pounds was brought to gaff Saturday by Zane Gray of New York, while fishing at San Clemente with Captain Danielson. The fight lasted for eight hours. Over 32 pounds was lost in transit. Mr. Grey is still in camp at Mosquito Harbor.”


July 18, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Pete Snider has signed a 5 year lease for the camping rights at Mosquito Harbor, San Clemente Island, and has taken over possession of the camp. For many years, ‘Pete’ has cooked for campers on Catalina and San Clemente islands. He is known by many sportsmen in the hospitable capacity of a first class cook and caterer. And Pete is arranging to install a 25,000 gallon water tank. At present he has accommodations for 20 persons. Captain A. Shade who formerly owned the camp has left for the mainland. Mosquito Camp is used by Mr. Z. Grey, W. C. Boschen, Gifford Pinchot and almost every member of the Tuna Club.”


August 1, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Zane Grey and party of New York City arrived in Avalon Saturday for a stay of two months…”


August 8, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Dr. Z. Grey will leave for San Clemente on board the launch Leta D today.”


September 19, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Sixteen spearfish have been landed by Dr. Zane Grey and his brother, R. C. Grey, of New York, during their fishing trip to San Clemente Island, on board the launch Leta D. The largest spearfish caught by Dr. Grey weighed 304 pounds.”


August 7, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Dr. Zane Grey of New York, fishing from the launch Leta D, Captain O. I. Danielson, also landed one of the swordfish monsters, weighing 260 pounds, Saturday afternoon.”


July 19, 1919 [LAT]: “Avalon. For almost twelve hours last Thursday Dr. Zane Grey, his brother, and Captain O. L. Danielson fought a broadbill swordfish in the San Clemente channel before the line parted and the fish escaped.”


August 23, 1921 [LAT]: “Avalon. The first record heavy tackle marlin swordfish was brought to gaff today by Dr. J. Aubrey Wilborn, fishing from Dr. Zane Grey’s swordfish cruiser, the Gladiator. The button-winning sea tiger was hooked near San Clemente and weighed 205 pounds. Dr. Gray took two marlin on the same fishing expedition…”