Graduate, Punahou Academy, Honolulu, 1920; Bachelor of Arts, Reed College, 1925; postgraduate, Yale University, 1925-1926; Master of Arts, Harvard University, 1927; postgraduate, Harvard University, 1928-1930.
Faculty department language and literature, Reed College, 1927-1928; department English, Brown U., 1930-1938; editor, Reilly & Lee Company, 1941-1943; associate editor, Bobbs Merrill Company, Inc., 1944-1954; editor general public department, Bobbs Merrill Company, Inc., 1954-1960; technical editor, C.L. Barnhart (Reference Books), 1960-1961; managing editor, C.L. Barnhart (Reference Books), 1961-1963; chief dictionary editor for, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York City, 1963-1978; retired, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978; free-lancer writer, editor, since 1978.
Married Rhoda Failing Burpee, August 19, 1925. Children: Harrison Gray III, William Brewster. Married Mary Alice Kaye, December 30, 1943.