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Vining was born Elizabeth Janet Gray, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 1902, to businessman John Gordon Gray, a manufacturer of scientific instruments, and Anne Moore (Iszard) Gray. The Gray family was Episcopalian, though it had Quaker roots, and Vining attended Germantown Friends School.:571 At thirteen (NOTE: some sources say 17) she had a story published in The Young Churchman. It brought her $2 and and encouraging note from the editor to submit again. Vining was a graduate of Germantown Friends School and received and AB from Bryn Mawr College in 1923. Her desire was to be a children's author, though she pursued other work to help support herself.:572 She taught English, history and civics at a New Jersey high school while continuing to write, papering one corner of her bedroom with the rejection slips.:69 In 1926, she earned an MS in library science from the Drexel Institute, and became a librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 1929, she married Morgan Fisher Vining, associate director of the Extension Division of the same university. This year also saw the publication of her first book, the children's novel Meredith’s Ann. She published three more well-received children's books between 1929 and 1932. In 1932 the couple moved to New York City where Vining worked as a librarian at Columbia University and her husband pursued a doctorate in university administration.
Vining's fifth novel appeared in 1933. In October of that year Morgan Vining was killed in an automobile accident in the city, and she was severely injured.:572 During her convalescence, she visited friends in Washington, D.C. and attended Florida Avenue (Quaker) Meeting with them. Of this time Vining wrote "It was the silence that drew me, that deep healing silence of the meeting at its best". In 1934 she converted to the Quaker faith. The couple had no children, and she never remarried.
In 1934 Vining visited Scotland collecting material for a children's book on Sir Walter Scott. It and Penn appeared in 1938. She continued to write children's fiction and adult non-fiction books for a number of years.:572
During World War II Vining wrote pamphlets for the American Friends Service Committee.:572 After the War ended, during the Allied occupation of Japan, she was selected by Emperor Hirohito... (article continues)
Elizabeth Janet Gray Vining died at the Quaker retirement community of Kendal at Longwood, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, on November 27, 1999. Her papers are held in the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Quaker Collection at Haverford College.
wrote over sixty books for children and adults:70
Writing awards and reception
she received the Herald Tribune Spring Festival Award for her book, Sandy. won the Philadelphia Literary Award for Take Heed of Loving Me, and a special award in 1980 for Being Seventy. Numerous honorary Doctorates.(This and 20th C.) above info from  which also talks some about her time in Japan and draws some conclusions.
"She writes so much better than most authors of juveniles (or for that matter most authors)" Pasted from <https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/elizabeth-j-gray/adam-of-the-road/>
Children’s Books (published under the name Elizabeth Janet Gray)
- Meredith’s Ann, New York: Doubleday, 1929
- Adam of the Road,New York: Viking Press, 1942
- Sandy, New York: Viking Press, 1945
Biography and Memoirs
- Virginia Exiles, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1955.
- Friend of Life: The Biography of Rufus M. Jones, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1958. Bio of Rufus Jones (writer)
- Return to Japan, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960.
- Being Seventy: The Measure of a Year, New York: Viking Press, 1978.
- Carnes, Mark Christopher (2005). gbs_navlinks_s American National Biography: Supplement Check
|url=value (help). Oxford University Press.
- Lettero, Dave. "Vining, Elizabeth Janet (Gray)". Pennsylvania Center for the Book!. The Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- Bostrom, Katherine Long (2003). Winning Authors: Profiles of Newbery Medalists. Libraries Unlimited.
- Fager, Chuck (Winter 1999–2000). "Clerk's Notebook: An Appreciation of Elizabeth Gray Vining". Types & Shadows JOURNAL OF THE Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts (16). Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Collected Obituaries". Tokyo Religious Society of Friends. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "de Grummond Collection". Elizabeth Gray Vining Papers. University of Southern Mississippi. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Haverford College Library Special Collections" (PDF). Finding Aid for the Elizabeth Gray Vining Papers 1897-1989. Haverford College Library. Retrieved June 13, 2012.