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Caroline Bartlett Crane Collection

Identifier: RH-A-92

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material relation to Caroline Bartlett Crane's personal and public life as a Unitarian minister, a social and urban reformer, suffragist, and early conservationist. Papers include personal and professional correspondence, speeches, sermons, articles,articles, travel journals, scrapbooks, biographical material, and photographs. Papers relating to women's issues of the early 20th century include: correspondence with suffragists Anna Howard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, and Jane Addams; Kalamazoo Civic Improvement League; League of Women Voters; health, visiting nurses and sanitation; divorce laws; material on women in the church and rural life in the mid-1920s. Material on social reform issues includes: prison and poorhouse investigations and reform; juvenile delinquency; legislative reform of meat inspection; municipal sanitary surveys; the Salvation Army in England; Old Age Security; unemployment. Materials on housing in the 1920s includes: Crane's book Everyman's House, with photographs and design plans for the house, which was a winner of Herbert Hoover's "Better Homes of America" campaign. Anti-war and World War I materials include: the papers of the Women's Committee Coucil of National Defense (Michigan Division); Henry Ford's Peace Ship; disarmament; preparedness; League of Nations; posters. Forestry and conservation interests include; state park status for Rowe's Island in the Kalamazoo River between Comstock and Galesburg; U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletins; American Forestry Association reprints; 1920s tourist guides of Michigan parks and campgrounds.

The papers of Dr. Augustus Warren Crane include: correspondence; patents relating to vaccines; golf and automobiles; articles and writings relating to the medical profession and X-rays; Constitution and by-laws of the American Roentgen Ray Society. Seven of the boxes in the collection contain the papers of Dr. A.W. Crane.


  • Creation: 1880-1960


Caroline Bartlett Crane Biography

Caroline Bartlett Crane was born on August 17, 1858 in Hudson, Wisconsin, to Lorenzo and Julia Brown Bartlett. Her father was a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River, and at a young age Caroline learned to navigate. She graduated from Carthage College, Carthage, Illinois, in 1879. After graduation, Caroline worked for one year as a school principal in Montrose, Iowa. She then worked for several newspapers over a number of years as a reporter. She worked for the Chicago Telegraph, the Minneapolis Tribune, and the Oshkosh Morning Times. In 1885, she scored an interview with Mark Twain. In 1886 she finally wrote her father of her determination to become a liberal minister.This was a dream she had since she was a child, and one that her father did not initially support. Her father finally gave approval, and Caroline was accepted by the Iowa Sate Unitarian Conference as a ministry candidate. In 1887, she became a minister for the All Soul's Unitarian Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 1889, Caroline became the minister for the First Unitarian Church of Kalamazoo. During Caroline's tenure, the church began the first free public kindergarten, a school of manual training and domestic science, a gymnasium for women, a day nursery, a cafeteria, and the Frederick Douglass Club. On December 16, 1894, the People's Church of Kalamazoo was dedicated.

On December 31, 1896, Caroline married Dr. Augustus Warren Crane; she was 38, Augustus was 10 years her junior. Caroline continued as the minister for the People's Church until 1898. After this, she spent the rest of her life focused on municipal reforms, meat, prison and almshouse reforms, sanitary surveys, and clean streets. She was involved in the suffrage movement, and was president of the Michigan Women's Committee of National Defense during WWI. Caroline also organized the Kalamazoo Women's Civic Improvement League to promote public health. In 1914 the Cranes adopted two infants (who were born in 1913), a son they named Warren Bartlett and a daughter they named Juliana. Caroline died on March, 24, 1935, from injuries resulting from a fall in her home on Hillcrest Avenue; she was 76 years old. Caroline is buried in Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo. In 1985 she was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Augustus Warren Crane Biography

Augustus Warren Crane was born on November 15, 1868, in Adrian, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1894. He came to Kalamazoo that same year and founded a small medical practice that would become the oldest clinical radiology practice in the United States. Augustus was an internationally-acknowledged pioneer in radiology, and received a Gold Medal from the Radiological Society of North America in 1921. He was a member of the London Roentgen Society, and president of the American Roentgen Society in 1916. Augustus was the first consulting bacteriologist for the City of Kalamazoo in 1895. Augustus was the first to suggest cancer could be treated by radiology, and made the first X-rays of the colon. Augustus died on February 23, 1937. He was cremated and is interred at White Chapel Crematorium.


28 Cubic Feet (The majority of the collection are in full-size legal Hollingers.)

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 28 cubic feet, contained within 61 boxes. Items in the collection range from good to fair, mostly according to their age. Much of the correspondence is interleaved with acid-free paper to preserve the pages.Newspaper pages have been photocopied onto acid-free paper to preserve the information contained within. Care should be taken when handling the older documents.


In addition to the manuscript collection, there are photographs that can be found in the P-number boxes, P-6764 to P-6911. Specific information on these can be found in the photograph index.

Caroline Bartlett Crane Collection Finding Aid
Devin Erlandson
Narrative 2012-05-16
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490