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Crawford, Mary Caroline (1874–1932) - Popular History

boston england social days

Mary Caroline Crawford, known as “Boston’s social historian,” was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1874, to James and Mary Coburn Crawford. She attended the Girls’ Latin School of Boston and while there heard a newspaperwoman speak. She was determined to become a writer and began her historical career by describing Boston’s Old North Church in the school newspaper. She attended Radcliffe College, where she wrote a column for the Boston Budget , a society weekly, on activities at Radcliffe, and wrote a similar column for the Boston Transcript after graduation. She eventually became an editor and invented her own syndicate by selling her column to New York and Philadelphia papers. These columns grew into The Romance of Old New England Rooftrees (1902), a work on old houses in New England which was still selling twenty-five years later. In 1910 she wrote Romantic Days in Old Boston .

Crawford departed from local history when she went to Germany to research Goethe and His Women Friends (1911). This was followed by Romantic Days in the Early Republic (1912) and The Romance of the American Theatre (1913), called the first popular book on the history of the theatre. Social Life in Old New England was written in 1915. In the Days of the Pilgrim Fathers (1921) and two volumes on Famous Families of Old New England followed. The latter included rare family portraits of Copleys, Stuarts, Malbones, and other famous New England families. During this time, Crawford also became active in social issues and became known for the Social Service Publicity Bureau she conducted, her Ford Hall meetings, Sunday evening gatherings for workers and their families, and a similar organization at the Old South Meeting House. Mary Crawford died on November 15, 1932.

Cray, Seymour R [next] [back] Crash, 2004

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