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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MS Am 2206
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Crawford, F. Marion (Francis Marion), 1854-1909.
Title: F. Marion Crawford papers,
Date(s): 1864-1967 (inclusive), 1883-1908 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (4 boxes (1.25 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters of the American novelist, F. Marion Crawford, to his wife, with other related correspondence and papers.
Francis Marion Crawford was born in 1854 in Bagni di Lucca (Italy), to American parents: the sculptor Thomas Crawford (1813?-1857), and Louisa Cutler Ward Crawford (later Terry), Julia Ward Howe's sister.After education in Rome, Concord (N.H.), England, Germany, and India, Crawford went to Boston in 1881 to try writing and possibly politics. He returned to Europe after success with his first novel, continuing to write and in 1884 marrying Elizabeth Christophers Berdan, daughter of General Hiram Berdan, rifle inventor, engineer, and Civil War sharpshooter. The couple first lived with Crawford's mother in Rome, but, after the birth of the first of their four children, Crawford bought a cliff-side property in Sant'Agnello di Sorrento, Italy, which became the Villa Crawford. The growing family eventually adopted the surname Marion-Crawford.Through the 1880s and 1890s, Crawford wrote more than forty romance and adventure novels and popular histories, most set in Italy, most published by Macmillan & Co., and most enjoying great success in the United States and worldwide. He traveled to the United States often to lecture and to write; he also visited to direct the legal affairs of the Berdan Firearms Manufacturing Company, created by his father-in-law, in its patent claims against the U.S. government. During the summer months, Crawford also sailed off the Italian coast on his yacht, the Alda; his wife, too, traveled seasonally, and the resulting separations were bridged with almost daily correspondence.
The papers are organized into six series:
- I. Letters from F. Marion (Francis Marion) Crawford to Elizabeth Christophers Berdan Crawford.
- II. Letters from F. Marion (Francis Marion) Crawford to others.
- III. Letters from others to F. Marion (Francis Marion) Crawford.
- IV. Letters from others to Elizabeth Christophers Berdan Crawford.
- V. Other correspondence.
- VI. Other materials.
Crawford's autograph manuscript letters to his wife form the bulk of this collection, with other related letters, one photograph, and printed material, some originally enclosed in the letters to his wife.