Alice Mabel Gray: Time Line (dates and newspaper articles)
1881: Note: Birth Date- March 25, 1881 (U of C transcript) and not November 25, 1881 as found on death certificate on info from nephew.
1898? Graduated from South Division High School – “the college class”
1903 Graduated from the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa, honorable mention in mathematics, astronomy, Greek and Later
1903 October 22: United States Naval Observatory (hair cut short, and wore pants)
1905: University of Gottingen
1908: University of Chicago, editorial secretary from Astrophysical Journal
1916: July: Chicago Examiner, possibly first published story on Alice Mabel Gray. – essence of story: fisherman’s wife upset with Alice and confronted her. Alice took her gun and told the wife to get out.
1916: July 24: “Diana of Sand Dunes is Found, a graduate of the University of Chicago.”
1916 July 26: Chicago Daily Tribune: “Back to Dunes, Says Alice Gray After City Tour, Nymph of Indiana Shore Finds Movies and Pier Sight Tedious.”
1916 July 27: Chesterton Tribune “Water Nymph of the Sand Dunes.” The article is critical, “though it is all right to say that she bathes like Venus in the waters and all that but the fact is that she is 40 [really 35], brown as a berry and tolerably husky.”
1916 November 16: Chesterton Tribune, “Nymph Alice Now a Diana.” The article tells of Diana shooting ducks and nicknames her “Diana” after the Greco-Roman goddess of hunters. Strong – as she walks to Porter each week (7 miles) for provisions, etc.
1917 April 5: Chesterton Tribune, Front page story, Diana to speak at the general meeting of the planning for the dunes pageant on May 30 and June 3. Followed by reading her essay ‘Chicago’s Kinland’ that was published in No. 66 Bulletin of the Prairie Club pushing the support for the Pageant.
At this time the Chesterton Tribune was totally opposed to a national park in the dunes.
1918 June 2: Chicago Herald and Examiner begins series of publication of excerpts from Alice’s Diary. Story of a girl who went to live the wild and primitive life of a modern Eve. “She loved a brilliant man who mocked at marriage. Hers is the strangest love tale every written. Between the April presentation in 1917 and June 1918 she received little coverage. Excerpts covered November 1915 to February 1916. Perhaps to renounce her relationship with “L”. Earlier in 1918 while she stayed at the Johnson family?, she had received a personal letter.
According to Janet Zenke Edwards in her book Diana of the Dunes (2010), Alice met Paul in late 1917 prior to his serving 6 months in prison and then he moved with her after his release. Thus she could reject her earlier love as well as receive pay for the diary (as Zenke argues). Published from June 2 through June 6. Dates: Nov 7 1915, 16, 17, 30, Dec 2, 3 on published on June 2. June 3: references to “L” and Dr. A. Dec 4. June 4: Letter to L, plus Dec 5, 8. June 6: Feb. 14, June 4, 1915.
1918 June 6: Chesterton Tribune attacks Gray. “The Diana of the Dunes, Alice Gray, is now in the lime light. The Hearst papers are exploiting her, and publishing a diary alleged to be written by her. It does seem a pity that a life should be wasted and good paper and ink consumed to feed the appetites of the morbid. Alice Gray can make her life worthwhile by entering the service of the Red Cross …. From what we can gather Alice Gray is suffering from a case of disappointed love. Wake up Alice, and get busy doing something for humanity. Now you are only a tool used by A. F. Knotts (President of National Dunes Park Association) to advertise his National Park scheme.”
1921 (about): Alice and Paul Wilson moved to Wren’s Nest, near or in today’s Ogden Dunes.
1922 June 10: Gary Evening Post: “’Diana’ Knows Nothing of Dunes Death Mystery” body found near cabin?
1922 June 15: Chesterton Tribune: Alice hospitalized after beating by Eugene Frank.
1925 February 8: Died of uremic poisoning.
1925 February 10: NewYork Times, “’Diana of the Dunes’ Dies of Privations. “Chicago woman who took up the primitive life in 1916 refused hospital aid. Chicago, Feb 9. Mrs. Paul Wilson died yesterday of uremic poisoning. Her husband was with her when she died. “In accordance with her request, her ashes will be scattered from the top of Mount Tom.” Note: Alice died in her cottage, Wren’s Nest, on property that would become the Town of Ogden Dunes later in 1925. Paul Wilson went to the house of Samuel Reck, the developer of Ogden Dunes, to ask for help. Reck contacted a doctor but they were too late to save Alice.