The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Henry Walter Gray

Eighth Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut: Bishop Suffragan 1940-1945; Coadjutor, 1945-1951; Diocesan, 1951-1969

Biographical/Historical Note:

Bishop Walter Henry Gray was born August 20, 1898, in Richmond, Virginia, the son of William Cole Gray and Irena Hanswood (Talley) Gray. After service in the U. S. Army during World War I, he studied at the College of William and Mary and the University of Richmond Law School. Admitted to the Virginia bar in 1925, he decided to enter the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), graduating in 1928. After ordination, he received a call to serve as Dean and Rector of Nativity pro-Cathedral in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  On February 3, 1933, he married Virginia Stuart Hutchinson.

Gray returned to Connecticut in 1937 as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford. Upon the recommendation of Bishop Budlong, he was elected Suffragan Bishop in 1940 and Bishop Coadjutor in 1945. During World War II he led the Diocesan Army and Navy Commission charged with keeping in touch with service men and women.

When Bishop Budlong retired in 1951, Gray succeeded him as Diocesan. During his nearly two decades as Bishop of Connecticut, Gray presided over the post-war growth in church membership and the construction of new churches and parish facilities throughout the diocese. He also championed better racial and interfaith relations. He became the first chairman of the Civil Rights Commission in Connecticut. From the outset Gray understood his office to be a means of promoting the intellectual and spiritual life of the Church. He lectured at Berkeley Divinity School (BDS) and VTS and played a role in the Presiding Bishop’s Conference on Theological Education. Gray received honorary degrees from VTS, BDS, Trinity College, the University of Richmond, and the University of the South (Sewanee).

Gray gained an international reputation for his interest in the Anglican Communion and promoting a sense of Anglican identity. He was one of the leaders of the Lambeth Conferences of 1948, 1958 and 1968, served as an editor of the Anglican Theological Review and editor of Pan-Anglican, a magazine of news and history on Anglican churches throughout the world. The 1958 Lambeth Conference officially commended the magazine and Gray’s efforts. His greatest achievement in this regard came in August 1954 with the meeting in Minneapolis of the Anglican Congress. Unlike the Lambeth Conferences made up solely of bishops, the Congress’s 657 delegates included bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons.  Gray had advocated publicly and privately for such a meeting in the years immediately after World War II. In articles and letters, amongst his colleagues in the House of Bishops, at the General Conventions of 1946, 1949, 1952, and at the Lambeth Conference of 1948, he had called for a great meeting of Church people based on the precedent of the 1908 Pan-Anglican Congress in London. A second Anglican Congress met in Toronto in 1963. Thanks to Gray a new sense of Anglican identity and the world-wide nature of the Anglican Communion emerged by the 1960s, only to encounter  in recent decades the divisive issues over Biblical authority, women’s ordination,  sexuality and the relationship  of the churches within the communion.

Bishop Gray retired on April 30, 1969. He died in Hartford on December 4, 1973

Biographical Note by Rev. Dr. Borden Painter, Professor of History, Emeritus, Trinity College (Hartford,CT)

Collection Summary:

Creator:  Gray, Walter Henry, 1898-1973
Title and Citation: Gray, Walter Henry, ,B.A., J.D., M.Div., Rt. Rev., 1898-1973, Eighth Bishop of Connecticut. Courtesy of the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, This collection is part of Record Group 1: Diocesan Bishops ( RG1-A8)
Dates:    1937-1974
Extent:   75.0 Cubic feet 48 boxes, 2 oversized boxes, oversized Materials
Language:  English
Formats:  Episcopal Acts, manuscripts, documents, publications, Photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts
Processed:  Margaret Smith and Gregory Farr
Scope and Content Note: This record group details the personal and professional life of the Rt. Rev. Walter Henry Gray, Eighth Bishop of Connecticut, his election and consecration, and Episcopal acts. The record group includes his early career, personal and professional correspondence, and involvement in civic activities, photographs, artifacts, educational and professional achievements, biographies, and literary publications, among other historical and cultural documents.
Archival Note: Permission to publish: materials must be obtained in writing from the archivist or director of communications


Collection Inventory:

  • Box 1: Gray, Anglican Congress Files, 1951-1954

  • Box 2: Gray, Anglican Congress Files

  • Box 3: Gray, Anglican Congress Files

  • Box 4: Parish Files, Series I, Ansonia-Bridgeport, Trinity

  • Box 5: Parish Files, Series I, Bristol, St. John's - Glastonbury, St. James'

  • Box 6: Parish Files, Series I, Greenwich, Christ Church - Harwinton, Christ Church

  • Box 7: Parish Files, Series I, Hazardville, St. Mary's - Meriden, St. Andrew's

  • Box 8: Parish Files, Series I, Middlebury Mission, New Haven, St. James' Church

  • Box 9: Parish Files, Series I, New Haven, St. John's - North Haven, St. John's

  • Box 10: Parish Files, Series I, Norwalk, Christ Church - Plymouth, St. Peter's

  • Box 11: Parish Files, Series I, Pomfret, Christ Church - Saybrook, Grace Church

  • Box 12: Parish Files, Series I, Seymour, Trinity Church - Terryville, St. Mark's Mission

  • Box 13: Parish Files, Series I, Thomaston, Trinity Church - Waterbury, St. Margaret's

  • Box 14: Parish Files, Series I, Waterbury, Trinity Church - West Haven, St. John's-by-the-Sea

  • Box 15: Parish Files, Series I & II, (Wilton - Yantic), (Ansonia - Bridgeport, St. George's)

  • Box 16: Parish Files, Series II, Bridgeport, St. John' - Collinsville, Trinity

  • Box 17: Parish Files, Series II, Danbury, St. James' - East Haddam, St. Stephen's

  • Box 18: Parish Files, Series II, East Hampton St. John's - Glastonbury, St. James'

  • Box 19: Parish Files, Series II, Greenwich, Christ Church - Hartford, Church of the Good Shepherd

  • Box 20: Parish Files, Series II, Hartford, Grace - Manchester, St. Mary's

  • Box 21: Parish Files, Series II, Marbledale, St. Andrew's - New Britain, St. Mark's

  • Box 22: Parish Files, Series II, New Canaan, St. Mark's - Newington, Grace

  • Box 23: Parish Files, Series II, Nichols, Trinity - Plainfield, St. Paul's

  • Box 24: Parish Files, Series II, Plymouth, St. Peter's - Southington, St. Paul's

  • Box 25: Parish Files, Series II, Southport, Trinity - Waterbury, All Souls'

  • Box 26: Parish Files, Series II, Waterbury, St. John's - West Haven, St. John's By-the-Sea

  • Box 27: Parish Files, Series II, Weston, Emmanuel - Yantic, Grace / Topic Files A-B

  • Box 28: Topic Files, C - Diocesan Convention

  • Box 29: Topic Files, Diocesan Strategy - (Rt. Rev.) Esquirol

  • Box 31: Topic Files, I - P

  • Box 32: Topic Files, R - University of Connecticut

  • Box 33: Topic Files, R - University of Hartford - Z (includes unprocessed materials, three folders labeled Bp. Walter Gray w/ photos)

  • Box 34: Photographs, Anglican Congress, Lay Readers' Licenses, and Synod of the Province

  • Box 35: Topic Files, ECW, Provincial Synod, Church Pension Fund, Sunniecroft-Camp Washington

  • Box 36: Topic Files, Berkeley Divinity School, 1949 General Convention, and unprocessed materials

  • Box 37: Topic Files, Aberdeen, Hillcrest School, Flood Relief, Clergy, etc.

  • Box 38: Topic Files, Diocesan Chest, Surveys, Travel Correspondence

  • Box 39: Topic Files, College Work Commission, Committee on Diocesan Expansion, House of Bishops - Prayer Book Commission

  • Box 40: Gray Memorabilia: Records and Correspondence, 1944-1958

  • Box 41: Gray Memorabilia: Records and Correspondence, 1948-1970

  • Box 42: Gray Memorabilia: Records and Correspondence, 1962-1973

  • Box 43: Gray Memorabilia: Records and Correspondence [1959-1960s], Law School and Seminary Papers

  • Box 45: Gray Memorabilia: Assorted Papers, Records, & Photographs

  • Box 46: Gray Memorabilia: Artifacts, Correspondence, and Audio/Video

  • Box 47: Gray Memorabilia: Correspondence, Publications, and Ordinations

  • Box 48: Primary and Secondary Schools, Army, & World Travels

  • Oversized Scrapbooks and Photographs Box Oversize 0002 and HIS Scrapbook

  • Collection Inventory (.pdf)