About the Author
Mary Z. Gray was born into a Capitol Hill family in 1919 and grew up above their inherited funeral parlors, two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Since the 1840s the extended family had lived in, and rarely moved out of, a ten-block area of the neighborhood. A writer all of her adult life, she got her first by-line in the Washington Post in 1940. Since then, she has been published frequently in the Post, as well as The New York Times travel section and many other U.S. and Canadian papers. In the 1940s she was a reporter/editor for Broadcasting Magazine. Gray became a speech writer for the Kennedy-Johnson White House in 1963 and continued as a writer for a Presidential committee for the next 14 years. In this period she also wrote speeches for Cabinet members and members of Congress. Her book "Ah Bewilderness! Muddling Through Life With Mary Z. Gray" (Atheneum) was published in 1984. A resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, since 1939, she has a son and daughter, a grandson, and three great-grandchildren. This book was inspired by conversations with members of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project.