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Josephine Boardman Crane papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 292

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, event files, and personal papers that document Josephine Boardman Crane's role as a socialite, patron, and philanthropist. The correspondence dates from 1912 through Crane's death in July 1972 and is focused on cultural events hosted by Crane, with the bulk of the material dated from 1926-1963. Though there is limited personal material, the series includes significant correspondence with Padraic Colum, Marianne Moore, and Glenway Wescott documenting Crane's extended relationship with the three writers. The diaries provide a record of Crane's daily life from 1924 through 1963 when her eyesight worsened and she was unable to maintain the practice. Though she generally refrained from critical commentary, the diaries provide documentary evidence related to the cultural milieu in which Crane acted. Event files include a range of materials related to events hosted by Crane, such as guest lists, correspondence, menus, invitations, lecture notes and scripts. The limited personal papers incorporate miscellaneous materials including notebooks, clippings, travel arrangements, and related correspondence.


  • 1912 - 1972
  • Majority of material found within 1926 - 1963


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Josephine Boardman Crane Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Josephine Boardman Crane Estate, 1977.


Organized into three series: I. Correspondence, 1912-1972. II. Diaries, 1926-1963. III. Event Files and Personal Papers, 1920-1964.

Associated Materials

Related material includes the Josephine Boardman Crane Papers Relating to the Dalton School, YCAL MSS 1002, which contains material related to Crane's support of Helen Parkhurst's educational plan known as the Dalton plan and practiced at the Dalton School, New York, New York.


8.13 Linear Feet (20 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, event files, and personal papers that document Josephine Boardman Crane's role as a socialite, patron, and philanthropist. These materials record Crane's daily activities, including a broad range of cultural events and numerous social contacts.

Josephine Boardman Crane

Josephine Boardman Crane was born November 1, 1873 in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of William Jarvis Boardman and Florence Sheffield. The family moved to Washington, D.C. where she met and, in 1906, married Winthrop Murray Crane, then United States Senator from Massachusetts. Between 1907 and 1917, Josephine and Winthrop Crane had three children: Stephen, Bruce, and Louise. Following her husband's death in 1920, Josephine Boardman Crane moved to New York City where she pursued philanthropic interests, serving as trustee for a number of cultural institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Morgan Library. Crane's interest in education led to her early support of Helen Parkhurst's Dalton plan and eventually of the Dalton School in New York. From the 1920s through the early 1960s, Crane hosted a range of cultural events, including musical performances, lectures, and literary gatherings that brought together performers, artists, and members of New York society. During this period she maintained extended relationships with the writers Padraic Colum, Marianne Moore, and Glenway Wescott. On July 9, 1972, Josephine Boardman Crane died at her home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Processing Information

This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call number: Za Crane.

The correspondence was arranged alphabetically by name by Louise Crane with the assistance of Chester Page. Diary transcripts were produced under the direction of Louise Crane and accompanied the original gift of materials. Remaining material was largely unprocessed until 2008.

Additional descriptive information used in the inventory of this finding aid was derived from folder notes and catalog cards created by previous staff members of the Beinecke library.

Guide to the Josephine Boardman Crane Papers
by Christopher Geissler, Tom Hyry, and Beinecke Staff
July 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.