CRAWFORD, FREDERICK COOLIDGE, (19 March 1891-9 Dec. 1994) successful businessman, promoter of aviation, and collector of vintage automobiles, was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the son of Fred E. and Mattie Coolidge Crawford. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1913, and received a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the school the following year. In 1916 Crawford took a job at Cleveland's Steel Products, Co., which manufactured auto parts, beginning as a millwright's helper and working his way into a management position. When he was sent to close the company's Detroit plant in 1922, Crawford became its manager instead and transformed it into a profitable operation. Steel Products changed its name to Thompson Products, Inc. in 1926, and when Crawford became vice president in 1929, he returned to Cleveland as general manager of the Cleveland plant. After president Charles E. Thompson died in 1933, Crawford succeeded him as president, continuing the company's promotion of the NATIONAL AIR RACES. Vehemently opposed to labor unions, Crawford tried to maintain a good working relationship with his own employees and encouraged the development of an independent company union. He also opposed high taxes and increasing government regulation of business although his company augmented its output of aircraft engines with government help during WORLD WAR II.
Crawford was instrumental in bringing what would become the NASA LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER to Cleveland in 1940 and was an incorporator of the AIR FOUNDATION which returned the air races to Cleveland 1946-60. Recognizing the historic influence of the automobile on American society, Crawford combined his interest in antique cars and aviation to organize the Thompson Auto Album and Aviation Museum in 1937. He arranged to have the collection turned over to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY in 1963 and led the fundraising campaign to erect a building to house the collection at the society. The structure was named the Frederick C. Crawford Auto Aviation Museum in his honor.
A long time member of the Case Institute of Technology Board of Trustees, and Board Chairman 1955-64, Crawford helped develop the school as a major force in science and engineering education and research, leading two successful fundraising drives to expand its facilities. Crawford Hall was named in his honor in 1969. Active in the Cleveland Zoological Assn., he helped organize a safari in 1945 and donated animals collected on the expedition to the Cleveland Zoo (see CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO). He also provided assistance to families of policemen and firemen killed in the line of duty as a charter member and president of Bluecoats, Inc., founded in 1956.
Crawford married Audrey C. Bowles 17 Oct. 1932. There were no children. After her death in Nov. 1971, he married Kathleen M. Saxon on 28 May 1975. A resident of BRATENAHL, Crawford died in a hospital near his summer home at Cotuit, Mass. and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY in Cleveland.
Finding aid for the Frederick C. Crawford Family Papers, WRHS.
Finding aid for the Frederick C. Crawford Photographs, WRHS.
Finding aid for the Frederick C. Crawford Family Photographs, WRHS.