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Grady Clay papers

Identifier: 1991_107-UA

This large (82.375 foot) collection documents the professional life of Louisville journalist Grady Clay. The vast majority (79.875 linear feet) of the collection consists of topical files of material that Clay collected relating to a large number of cities, states, and countries, as well as other topics of interest to him. Similar material is found in Series V - Projects and reference files (1.75 linear feet). There is a small amount of correspondence and Clay's own writings, as well as articles about Clay. These are 20th century materials, covering the period 1937-1999 and including newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets and brochures, blueprints, correspondence, and literary manuscripts.


  • 1937-1999


Language of Materials

The materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to some items has not been transferred to the University of Louisville.


81.625 linear feet

Biographical / Historical

Louisville journalist Grady Clay is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, who received his undergraduate degree from Emory University in 1938 and his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1939. During World War II he was on the staff of Yank, the U.S. Army's weekly publication. A longtime resident of Louisville, Kentucky, he was the real estate editor and later the first urban affairs editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal, a position he held until 1966. That year he joined Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism to help establish its Urban Journalism Center. Clay has held numerous academic positions: he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1947; a research associate to the Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1960-1961; and a Guggenheim Fellow between 1973 and 1974. He has lectured extensively in universities both in the United States and abroad and was visiting professor at the University of Kentucky, Northwestern University, the University of Salzburg, Austria, and at the University of Louisville. In 1966 he became editor of Landscape Architecture Quarterly, the journal of the American Society of Landscape Architects, a position he held until 1984. He is also a former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. He is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Clay is the author of many articles and books, including works on architecture, water resources, urban planning, and historic preservation. His major writings include Alleys: A Hidden Resource (1978); Closeup: How to Read the American City (1980); plus a television documentary, Unknown Places: Exploring the Obvious (1982). Clay has also been a contributing author to several other works. He has served as advisor on several major projects including the Environmental Planning Advisory Council for the Amelia Island, Florida developments of the Sea Pines Corporation (1971-1975), the Review Committee for Williamsburg and Busch properties, for the Kingsmill community development project in Virginia.


The Grady Clay papers are divided into five series: Series I - Topical files (79.875 linear feet); Series II - Correspondence, 1958-1987; Series III - Clay's literary production, 1950-1987; Series IV - Articles about Grady Clay; and Series V - Projects and reference files (1.75 linear feet). Series II, III and IV together total approximately .75 linear feet.

Related Materials

A related collection, Landscape Architecture records, was donated by Grady Clay to the University of Louisville Archives in 1985. Included in this collection are Clay manuscripts from 1955 and 1983, an extensive body of correspondence, and the records and correspondence of the magazine Landscape Architecture for the period of Clay's editorship, 1960 to 1983, and extending back to 1958.



Grady Clay papers
In Progress
Processed by Katherine Burger Johnson and Katie Hay; machine-readable finding aid created by Carrie Daniels.
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752