Guide to the Photograph Collection
Sponsored by the Louise Crane Foundation.
This collection consists of 105 photographs related to Massachusetts politician Winthrop Murray Crane, ca. 1865-1950.
Winthrop Murray Crane was a U.S. politician and businessman who served as lieutenant governor and governor of Massachusetts and United States senator from Massachusetts. He was a mentor to President Calvin Coolidge and held close friendships with many prominent political figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, and Henry Cabot Lodge. Although he worked better behind the scenes, he was well-loved in Massachusetts, winning six elections without making a single speech.
Born 23 April 1853 in Dalton, Mass., Crane was the son of Zenas Marshall Crane, a paper manufacturer and owner of Crane and Company, and Louise Fanny Laflin. He attended public schools in Dalton, the Wesleyan Academy (later Wilbraham Academy) in Wilbraham, Mass., and the Williston Seminary in Easthampton, Mass.
In 1870, he left school to work as a rag picker in one of the Crane and Company paper mills. Trying to learn all aspects of his family's business, he worked his way up to sales in the late 1870s and then to management in the early 1880s. In 1880, he married Mary Benner, who gave birth to their son Winthrop Murray Crane II in 1881, and then died in 1884 during the birth of their second child, who also didn't survive. After his father's death in 1887, Crane took over the family finances, increasing the family's wealth by investing in enterprises such as American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Boston Albany Railroads, Otis Elevator Company, and Western Union.
Crane entered politics by serving on the Republican National Committee in 1892 (he subsequently served on the committee in 1896, 1904, and 1908). He was elected lieutenant governor in 1896 and was then re-elected in 1897 and 1898. In 1899, he was elected governor of Massachusetts and served a 3-year term from 1899-1903. In 1902, Crane became nationally recognized when he settled a three-day Teamsters strike by convening meetings with both sides and mediating a settlement agreement in two hours. Because of his success with the Teamsters, President Roosevelt recruited Crane to mediate an agreement during the long drawn-out anthracite coal strike. Crane was successful, and an agreement was reached.
Over the next several years, Crane was offered several positions in the Roosevelt administration, including Secretary of the Treasury in 1902, but he did not accept any of the appointments until George Frisbee Hoar's seat in the U.S. Senate became available upon his death in 1904. He accepted the appointment to the Senate from John L. Bates, then governor of Massachusetts and a friend, and was subsequently re-elected to a full term in 1907. He served in the Senate until his resignation in 1913.
In 1906, Crane married Josephine Porter Boardman, and they had three children: Stephen, Bruce, and poet Louise Crane. After his retirement in 1913, Crane remained closely involved in state and national politics by frequently assisting his fellow Republicans to formulate strategies that would further their conservative interests.
Crane died in 1920 at the age of 67.
The Winthrop Murray Crane photograph collection contains 105 photographs in two volumes (one disbound), one box of loose photographs, and one box of oversize photographs. The majority of the photographs were taken between 1880 and 1920.
The first volume (disbound) contains photographs of London street scenes and attractions, ca. 1880-1890. The second volume contains a series of photographs of Winthrop Murray Crane and others participating in an unidentified outdoor ceremony in Framingham, Mass.
Most of the loose and oversize photographs are individual and group portraits of Winthrop Murray Crane and his family, friends, and colleagues. Subjects include his children, Winthrop Murray Crane, Jr., Stephen Crane, Bruce Crane, and Louise Crane; his second wife, Josephine Boardman Crane; Theodore Roosevelt; Roger Wolcott; Henry Cabot Lodge; John Lewis Bates; Curtis Guild; John Wingate Weeks; Allen Towner Treadway; Billy Sunday; and others. A number of the portraits are cabinet cards. The collection also contains a few later photographs of Winthrop Murray Crane's youngest son, Bruce Crane.
Photographers represented in the collection include George Washington Wilson of Aberdeen, Scotland; James Valentine of Dundee, Scotland; Alexander Gardner and Harris & Ewing of Washington, D.C.; Henry Havelock Pierce, Thomas E. Marr, Notman Photograph Company, J.E. Purdy & Co., all of Boston, Mass.; and others.
This collection was removed from the Winthrop Murray Crane papers, which was a gift of The Louise Crane Foundation in April 2003, with subsequent additions in October 2003.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Photographs in albums
This series is divided into two subseries: (A) Vol. 1 London photograph album and (B) Vol. 2 Winthrop Murray Crane photograph album. The photographs are arranged in the order in which they appear in the volumes.
A. Vol. 1 (disbound). London photograph album, ca. 1880-1890
This disbound volume contains photographs of London attractions and street scenes taken by the Scottish photographers George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) and James Valentine (1815-1879), as well as unknown photographers. The album also contains one photograph of La Cruche Cassee, a painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805). Printed at the bottom of each photograph is a title and negative number.
B. Vol. 2. Winthrop Murray Crane photograph album, June 1900
This volume contains photographs of Winthrop Murray Crane and others participating in an outdoor ceremony in June 1900 in Framingham, Mass., probably in commemoration of the town's 100th anniversary. The photographs in this album were taken by Thomas E. Marr of Boston, Mass.
II. Loose photographs
This series is divided into two subseries: (A) Individual portraits and (B) Group portraits. Photographs are arranged alphabetically.
A. Individual portraits, ca. 1866-1915
This subseries contains portraits of Winthrop Murray Crane, Winthrop Murray Crane, Jr., William Morris Meredith, Billy Sunday, and others. Also included in this subseries is one photograph, taken after a traffic accident in September 1902, of the carriage that overturned while carrying President Theodore Roosevelt and Governor Winthrop Murray Crane. The photographs in this subseries were taken by Notman Photograph Company, J.E. Purdy & Co., G. Waldon Smith, and Elmer Chickering, all of Boston, Mass., and others.
B. Group portraits, ca. 1890-1947
This subseries contains portraits of Winthrop Murray Crane, Bruce Crane, Roger Wolcott, Henry Cabot Lodge, and others. Also included in this subseries are two unidentified negatives. The photographs in this subseries were taken by Wilbur F. Turner of Boston, Mass., Kimball Studio of Concord, N.H., and others.
Negatives were removed from the Winthrop Murray Crane photograph album (Vol. 2).
Inscription on photograph: "To Mrs. W.M. Crane, with best wishes from Yong Kay."
III. Oversize photographs
This series is divided into two subseries: (A) Portraits and (B) Views.
A. Portraits, ca. 1865-1950
This subseries contains individual and group portraits of Winthrop Murray Crane and his family, Theodore Roosevelt, Roger Wolcott, and others. Also included in this subseries are three identical engravings of Winthrop Murray Crane made by E.G. Williams & Bro. of New York, N.Y., and one photograph of Abraham Lincoln delivering his second inaugural address in 1865, taken by renowned photographer Alexander Gardner (1821-1882). Other photographs in this subseries were taken by Henry Havelock Pierce (1864-1943) and Notman Photograph Company, both of Boston, Mass.; Kimball Studio of Concord, N.H.; Harris & Ewing of Washington, D.C.; and others. Photographs are arranged alphabetically.
Engravings with signature of Winthrop Murray Crane.
Inscription on photograph: "Compliments of Arthur W. Plumb...March 2d 1904."
B. Views, 1901
Winthrop Murray Crane photographs, Photo. Coll. 219, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.