An early edition of a Zane Grey book

Zane Grey Museum, Proud of its History

The National Road and Zane Grey Museum in Norwich is among more than 50 historical sites and museums under the care of the Ohio Historical Society. It is divided into several distinctive sections. One features items and a setting connected with the life and stories of Zane Grey (1872-1939), a native Ohioan best known for Westerns like Riders of the Purple Sage.

Zane Grey was a bestselling author during the early 20th century. He was born in Zanesville, about 15 miles west of Norwich. Zanesville has a relatively small population that is around the same as it was during Zane Grey’s day. Norwich’s population, however, is significantly smaller.

His Writing

To read books by Zane Grey, find the Zane Grey page of Also,the website of Zane Grey’s West Society explains his references to the “Code of the West” very well, providing a context to much of his writing.

While it may seem unusual for an Old West writer to hail from Ohio, Zane Grey was no usual person. By profession, he was originally a dentist, but the books gave him an adventurous reputation and spirit that he lived into with extravagance throughout his adult life, from Ohio to New York to Arizona to Catalina Island, until his final days in Altadena, California.

According to “Over one hundred movies have been made from Grey adaptations, from some of the first silent films to the later talkies — Riders of the Purple Sage was filmed as recently as 1990. By the 1920s, Grey had published over fifteen books and many outdoor articles and serialized stories. At this time he was immensely popular, becoming the first American author millionaire. From 1917 to 1924, his books were perennially featured on Bookman’s top ten bestseller list. He had the #1 bestseller twice, with The U.P. Trail, an account of the building of the transcontinental railroad, and The Man of the Forest, about a rancher who saves a kidnapped heroine from danger.”

You can find a list of his books here:

Read more about Zane Grey through our Arizona and Pennsylvania pages.

Purple Sage © Author Adventures

This is the sixth stop on our Ohio Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart