Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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College Archives and Special Collections


A Humpty Dumpty (Wheaton) Heart

Posted on March 15, 2013

Christina Cannon '13

Do these Humpty Dumpties evoke the romantic in you? Perhaps they remind you of an old Hank Thompson love song? Maybe that's just me...certainly though, these toys were a romantic reminder for one Wheaton alumna.

While a freshman at Wheaton, Priscilla King, Class of 1955, met MIT sophomore Paul E. Gray on a blind date. Gray became her boyfriend, and he bought her these Humpty Dumpties as a Valentine’s Day gift from Wheaton’s bookstore. Throughout her college days, the toys sat on her bed, and after she married Gray, they moved wherever the family did. Gray’s children even played with them as toys!

Paul Gray went on to earn a master’s and a Ph.D. from MIT and served as the institution’s president from 1980 to 1990. Elected to Wheaton’s Board of Trustees, he served as its chairman and signed the Sesquicentennial Proclamation. Gray also signed the letter announcing coeducation at Wheaton, as he presided over the board when it decided to transform Wheaton into a coeducational college. A Wheaton education became a family tradition: their daughter Amy Gray Sluyter is a member of the Class of 1980, and their granddaughter Hannah Wilson Army graduated in 2004.

Eventually, Priscilla and Paul Gray downsized, but she could not bear to throw the Humpties away and donated them to Wheaton. Today, the Humpties speak to us of romance and a life-long partnership!


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