Finding aid for the Frederick C. Crawford Photographs

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Crawford, Frederick C.
Title: Frederick C. Crawford Photographs
Dates: 1891-1978
Extent: 0.90 linear feet (3 containers)
Abstract: Frederick C. Crawford (1891-1994) was a Cleveland, Ohio, industrialist and philanthropist. Crawford headed Thompson Products, Inc. (later TRW Inc.) as it moved from an automotive and aircraft parts manufacturer into the aviation and aerospace industries. A leader of Cleveland's philanthropic community, Crawford served on the boards of many cultural institutions. He was appointed to the Western Reserve Historical Society Board of Trustees in 1944 and later served as it's president. He was instrumental in the transfer of the Thompson Auto Album and Aviation Museum collection to WRHS in the 1960s, which became the nucleus of the Frederick C. Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum of WRHS. Crawford was married twice; to Audrey Cecelia Bowles in 1932, and to Kathleen M. Saxon in 1975. The collection consists of individual and group portraits of Frederick C. Crawford, his family, friends, and associates, and views of his activities relating to awards, tours, dinners, business enterprises, clubs, travel, residences, and museums. The collection also contains portraits of Harold T. Clark, General James Doolittle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Arthur Godfrey, Bob Hope, the King Sisters, General Curtis LeMay, General Douglas MacArthur, Walter O"Keefe, and Tyrone Power.
PG Number PG 357
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English

Biography of the Frederick C. Crawford Family

Frederick C. Crawford (1891-1994), industrialist and philanthropist, was for more than seven decades a major force in the transportation industry, a pioneer in the human relations field, and a leader in the philanthropic community in Cleveland, Ohio. As head of Thompson Products, Incorporated for more than twenty-five years, Crawford oversaw the company's transformation from an automotive and aircraft parts manufacturer to a leader in the aviation and aerospace industries. Innovative company employee relations policies were developed under Crawford's direction. His enthusiastic entrepreneurial style made him a leader in Cleveland's philanthropic community. Materials in this collection, including personal, family, and business correspondence, financial and legal documents, and personal memorabilia, reflect the private side of the life of a preeminent Cleveland businessman, whose management style and philosophy was reflected in his personal endeavors.

Frederick C. Crawford Frederick C. Crawford (1891-1994), the second son of Fred Erastus Crawford and Martha Sturtevant Coolidge, was born March 19, 1891, in Watertown, Massachusetts. After an education in the Watertown public school system, Crawford entered Harvard University on a $400 scholarship, which he supplemented with money earned playing in a dance band. He graduated magna cum laude in 1913 with a bachelor of arts degree, and the following year, 1914, obtained a master's degree in civil engineering. For two years he worked as a teacher and tutor. In 1916 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he obtained work as a millwright's helper at The Steel Products Company. His hiring in November of that year would begin a life long association with the company.

After two years at The Steel Products Company, Crawford enlisted in the United States Navy Aviation Corps. World War I ended while he was enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's aviation ground school. Discharged early in 1919, Crawford returned to The Steel Products Company as a sales engineer. In 1922, company president Charles E. Thompson sent Crawford to the company's Detroit, Michigan, plant to sell the facility, increase its productivity, or shut it down. He enlisted the employees to help him turn plant production around and, by 1928 the Detroit facility was out producing the parent plant in Cleveland. In 1926 Crawford was elected a director of the company which by then was known as Thompson Products, Incorporated. In 1929 he returned to Cleveland as first vice-president and general manager of the company.

Thompson Products President Charles E. Thompson died in early November 1933. Crawford was elected to succeed him. Crawford's election was challenged by Thompson's son Edwin deGroot Thompson. After a proxy fight, Crawford was reaffirmed as president of the company. When he was elected, the company was a financially struggling firm, with little product diversity and overly dependant on the automotive industry for business. Product diversification and expanded market opportunities became Fred Crawford's main goals. When the United States entered World War II, Thompson Products was ready to support the war effort. It was also during this time that Crawford established his reputation as a leading American industrialist. Much of his reputation was due to progressive and innovative employee relation policies. Always a harsh critic of outside unionization efforts, Crawford encouraged the establishment of a company union, the Automobile and Aircraft Workers of America; effectively blocking organizing attempts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) during the 1930s and 1940s.

Crawford's authority and prominence within the industrial community was recognized when in 1943 he was elected president of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). After his presidency he served as chairman and honorary vice president of the organization from 1944 to 1949. Additionally, he played an important role in the location of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) research facility, later known as the NASA (National Aviation and Space Administration) Lewis Research Facility, to Cleveland in 1940. In the postwar period further product diversification was necessary, and Crawford's reputation and that of Thompson Products made for an easy entry into the emerging aerospace industry. With the financial backing of Thompson Products, Ramo Wooldridge Corporation was founded in 1953. In March of that same year Crawford became chairman of the board of Thompson Products.

When Thompson Products and Ramo Wooldridge merged in November 1958, a move that would become a model of corporate conglomeration, Crawford stepped down as chairman of the board and assumed the role of vice president and chairman of the executive committee of Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc. In 1959 he retired as an officer of the company but retained his positions as chairman of the executive committee and company director. From 1960-1985, Crawford served as a consultant to the company. On April 30, 1963, he was elected honorary chairman of the board. In April 1967, at age 76, he retired as a director and chairman of the executive committee. At that time he was elected an honorary director and re-elected honorary chairman of the board.

During his lifetime Frederick C. Crawford was known for his civic activities. He was a member of more than a dozen professional societies beginning with membership in the Cleveland Engineering Society in 1921, retiring to honorary membership status in 1952. An early participant in promoting the Cleveland National Air Races, starting in the 1920s, and as an incorporator of the Air Foundation which returned the air races to Cleveland after the end of World War II, Crawford served as the honorary chairman of its fiftieth anniversary celebration. He also served as an overseer of Harvard College from 1952 through 1958; trustee of Denison University from 1943 to 1971; and trustee of Case Institute of Technology from 1955 to 1964. On an international level Crawford was a long time supporter of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens [Greece], serving as trustee.

Fred Crawford was known in the philanthropic community as an effective fund raiser and supporter; his local philanthropic interests ranged from Blue Coats Inc., in which he was a charter member, to the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS). He joined the WRHS in 1941, and was appointed to the board of trustees in 1944. As a trustee Crawford was instrumental in the transfer of the Thompson Auto Album and Aviation Museum collection to the Society in the 1960s. In 1967 he was elected president of the WRHS. His decade long stewardship saw many improvements, including expansion of most outlying properties, and the capital campaign to fund the building of the History Library. Crawford also kept a watchful eye over the Auto-Aviation Museum that bore his name from its opening in 1965. Crawford's interest and support of the Cleveland Zoological Society led to several animal safaris to Africa and India in pursuit of stock to replenish the Cleveland Zoo's depleted population during the 1950s and 1960s. Crawford often supported his many philanthropic and academic interests by establishing scholarships and endowments.

Frederick C. Crawford was married twice. His first marriage to Audrey Cecelia Bowles (1908-1971), of Detroit, Michigan, in 1932, lasted until her death. His second marriage was to long time friend Kathleen M. Saxon (Kay) in May 1975. There were no children from either marriage. In addition to his principle residence in the Cleveland suburb of Bratenahl, Crawford had vacation properties on Cat Cay in the Bahamas; in Cotuit, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, originally a summer resort belonging to the family of his sister-in-law, Anita Morse Converse; and Old Home Crawford Farm in Guildhall, Vermont, the original family homestead, which left family ownership and was repurchased by Crawford in the 1920s. On Friday, December 9, 1994, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, just three months short of his 104th birthday, Crawford died of complications following a fall in which he suffered a broken arm. After funeral services at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Crawford was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to his wife, Kathleen, several generations of nieces and nephews survived him.

Fred Erastus Crawford

Fred Erastus Crawford (1857-1950), father of Frederick C. Crawford, was born at Guildhall, Vermont, on July 7, 1859, the son of Oramel Crawford (1809-1888) and Catherine Bothwell (1814-1882). When he was twelve years old he moved to Watertown, Massachusetts, and lived with an uncle while furthering his education. Crawford attended Harvard College, graduating in 1881. After passing the Massachusetts bar exam, he practiced law in Boston and Watertown. He also served as town moderator for Watertown for many years. On February 15, 1888, he married Martha (Mattie) Sturtevant Coolidge of Watertown, Massachusetts. They had three sons: Calvin Dinsmore, 1889-1964; Frederick Coolidge, 1891-1994; and Ward Sturtevant, 1895-1968.

In addition to his interest in the law, Fred E. Crawford was an avid genealogist. Three publications were the results of his research: Your Grandmother, Mattie Coolidge Crawford, a biography of his wife; The Life and Times of Oramel Crawford, a biography of his father; and a family history entitled Early Crawford Ancestors in America. Fred Erastus Crawford died on November 5, 1950, in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Martha Coolidge Crawford

Martha Sturtevant Coolidge (1861-1933), known as Mattie, born on June 6, 1861, in Watertown, Massachusetts, was one of seven children born to John Coolidge Jr. (1821-1888) and his wife Martha Jane Sturtevant (1822-1904). She attended school in Watertown, graduating from Watertown High School in 1880. Family responsibilities kept her from further education until 1883 when she enrolled at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, Massachusetts. She was an 1886 graduate of the school. After a two year engagement, Mattie Coolidge married Fred E. Crawford on February 15, 1888. Active from an early age in the Baptist Church, she joined the Woman's American Baptist Society in 1897. She had a lifelong interest in the workings of that organization's foreign mission work, especially in China. Her activities in the Temperance movement led to an appointment as a Conservative ticket delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1932. A talented watercolorist, Mattie Coolidge Crawford pursued her painting as an avocation during her adult life. Many of her landscapes are featured in the biographical work about her compiled by her husband. She died in Watertown, Massachusetts on December 3, 1933. Mattie Coolidge Crawford and her husband were buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown, Massachusetts.

click here to view the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for Frederick C. Crawford

Scope and Content

The Frederick C. Crawford Photographs, 1891-1978 and undated, consists of individual and group portraits of Frederick C. Crawford, his family, friends, and associates, and views of his activities relating to awards, tours, dinners, business enterprises, clubs, travel, residences, and museums. The collection also contains portraits of Harold T. Clark, General James Doolittle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Arthur Godfrey, Bob Hope, the King Sisters, General Curtis LeMay, General Douglas MacArthur, Walter O"Keefe, and Tyrone Power. The collection includes approximately 557 black and white and color photographs of varying sizes.

This collection will be useful to researchers studying the history of business, industry, and philanthropy in Cleveland, Ohio and the United States.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged in four series. Each series is arranged in general chronological order.
Series I: Portraits
Series II: Places
Series III: Events and Miscellaneous
Series IV: Oversize Photographs

Restrictions on Access


Related Material

The researcher should also consult MS 4856 Frederick C. Crawford Family Papers; MS 3942 TRW Inc. Records; and PG 513 Frederick C. Crawford Family Photographs.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Clark, Harold T. (Harold Terry), 1882-1965 -- Photograph collections.
Crawford family -- Photograph collections.
Crawford, Frederick C., 1891- -- Photograph collections.
Doolittle, James Harold, 18961993- -- Photograph collections.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 -- Photograph collections.
Godfrey, Arthur, 1903-1983 -- Photograph collections.
Hope, Bob, 1903- -- Photograph collections.
LeMay, Curtis E. -- Photograph collections.
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964 -- Photograph collections.
O'Keefe, Walter -- Photograph collections.
Power, Tyrone, 1914- -- Photograph collections.

Preferred Citation

[Container ___, Folder ___ ] PG 357 Frederick C. Crawford Photographs, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio

Acquisition Information

Gifts of Frederick C. Crawford in 1987 and TRW, Inc. in 1965.

Detailed Description of The Collection

Series I: Portraits 1943-1973 undated

Box Folder
1 1 NAM portrait drawing of Frederick C. Crawford 1943-1944
1 2 Firestone 1947
1 3 Photographs 1949
1 4 Frederick C. Crawford candid portraits with comments relating to political matters (Hubbell) dates vary
1 5 Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce 1952
1 6 Frederick C. Crawford 1964
1 7 Publicity photograph of Frederick C. Crawford 1955
1 8 Frederick C. Crawford 1964
1 9 Frederick C. Crawford 1971
1 10 Frederick C. Crawford 1972
1 11 Frederick C. Crawford office 1973
1 12 Frederick C. Crawford profiles undated
1 13 Frederick C. Crawford civic "faces" undated
1 14 Frederick C. Crawford undated
1 15 Frederick C. Crawford, youth and family undated
1 16 Frederick C. Crawford, school undated
1 17 Frederick C. Crawford personal images undated
1 18 Frederick C. Crawford with celebrities undated
1 19 Frederick C. Crawford receiving awards undated
1 20 Miscellaneous portraits undated

Series II: Places 1972 undated

Box Folder
1 21 Case Western Reserve University, Crawford Hall 1972
1 22 Frederick C. Crawford home undated

Series III: Events and Miscellaneous 1935-1978 undated

Box Folder
1 23 New York City Empire State Building 1935
1 24 Great Lakes Exposition Day July 24, 1937
1 25 J. D. Wright (golf) undated
1 26-27 National Association of of Manufacturers 1942-1943
1 28 Cleveland Aviation Club, 25th anniversary banquet 1944
1 29 Browning Rangers Reunion Dinner, Cleveland Music Hall 1944
1 30 War Efforts public meeting 1944
1 31 Crawford Door Old Guard 1946
1 32 National Association of Manufacturers 1946
1 33 National Association of Manufacturers, Ex-President Club 1946
1 34 Cleveland Ignition Company 1946
1 35 Montreux, Switzerland 1947
1 36 Hot Springs, Frederick C. Crawford and Robert R. Wason 1947
1 37 Cleveland Chamber of Commerce 1948
1 38 Cleveland Community Fund 1948
1 39 Air Foundation, scholarship presentation 1948
1 40 National Association of Manufacturers 1949
1 41 Mutual Life Insurance Company, first board meeting 1950
1 42 Perfect Circle Corporation, Hagerstown, Indiana 1951
1 43 Eastman Kodak visit 1951
1 44 Crawford Door 1952
1 45 Cleveland Automobile Dealers award dinner 1952
1 46 TWA Round the World Survey 1952
1 47 Delhi, India 1952
1 48 MSA Mission Group, Italy meeting with President Eisenhower 1953
1 49 Cadillac Tank Plant visit 1953
1 50 Case Institute of Technology (Case Western Reserve University), graduation 1953
1 51 Original patent for the Wright Brothers "Flying Machine" copy made in 1953 1953
Box Folder
2 52 Anti-Aircraft Artillery and Guided Missile Center, Fort Bliss, Texas 1954
2 53 Presentation of Cadillac to Major J. Berry, Cleveland Airport 1954
2 54 Cleveland Community Chest Campaign 1954
2 55 Frederick C. Crawford and Mrs. Walter Gubelin, Lucerne, Switzerland 1954
2 56 Society of Industrial Realtors, distinguished service award 1954
2 57 Perry Lab dedication 1956
2 58 Bluecoats meeting 1956
2 59 Eastman Kodak 1956
2 60 Cleveland Community Chest Campaign 1956
2 61 Boca Raton, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Crawford and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kendrick 1957
2 62 Bluecoats award luncheon 1957
2 63 Eastman Kodak 1957
2 64 Bohemian Grove 1957
2 65 View of the Cleveland Zoo (?) ca. 1957
2 66 Cleveland Community Fund Campaign 1957
2 67 NACA - National Aeronautics Association, elder statesman of aviation award 1957
2 68 Pre-inaugural buffet for Governor Handley, Frederick C. Craford speaker 1957
2 69 Franklin Institute Vermilye medal, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1958
2 70 Case Institute of Technology (Case Western Reserve University), kick-off campaign dinner 1958
2 71 Case Western Reserve (Case Associates) 1958
2 72 National Industrial Conference 1958
2 73 TRW Men's Old Guard 1959
2 74 American Legion 1959
2 75 Bluecoats Annual Dinner 1959
2 76 NASA, Huntsville, Alabama 1960
2 77 Cleveland Zoo, lion and tiger exhibit dedication 1962
2 78 Directors of Eastman Kodak Company 1962
2 79 Armstrong Cork Company 1963
2 80 Western Reserve Historical Society, presentation of Thompson Auto Album 1963
2 81 Case Institute of Technology (Case Western Reserve University) board of trustees meeting 1964
2 82 Cleveland United Appeal, Automotive Group of Unit Plan Division 1964
2 83 Air Force Museum visit 1964
2 84 Bede Aviation grand opening 1965
2 85 Air Force Museum, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio 1965
2 86 Frederick C. Crawford, 50th year anniversary 1965
2 87 Collier Trophy Committee 1966 1967
2 88 TRW, Florida 1967
2 89 Bohemian Grove, Monte Rio, California ca. 1967
2 90 Bluecoats dinner honoring Frederick C. Crawford 1972
2 91 University Circle Apartment opening 1973
2 92 Formal opening of the Western Reserve Historical Society Auto-Aviation educational exhibit 1973
2 93 Western Reserve Historical Society, auto-aviation collection Hawaiian Luau 1978
2 94 Thompson Auto Album undated
2 95 Thompson Product and employees undated
2 96 Thompson races undated
2 97 Miscellaneous photographs undated
2 98 Transparency of a drawing, presented to Frederick C. Crawford in California by Dr. R. F. Mettler, President of TRW Systems in February 1966 at a party marking Frederick C. Crawford's 50th year with TRW ca. 1966

Series IV: Oversize Photographs 1937-1944 undated

Box Folder
3 1 Portrait, unidentified (A. C. Gruss) 1937
3 2 Eastman Kodak Company board of directors undated
3 3 Group photograph undated
3 4 Harold T. Clark undated
3 5 President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower undated
3 6 Frederick C. Crawford Building at Case Western Reserve University undated
3 7 European Inspection Tour ca. 1944