Crane, Henry Hitt, 1890-1977

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Methodist clergyman, pastor of the Centre Methodist Church in Malden, Massachusetts, the Elm Park Methodist Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Central Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan.

From the description of Henry Hitt Crane papers, 1902-1977 (bulk 1938-1958). (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 80045132

From the description of Henry Hitt Crane papers, 1902-1969 (bulk 1938-1958). (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34418797

Henry Hitt Crane was born in Danville, Illinois on February 2, 1890, the son of Charles A. Crane and Sallie Hitt Crane. In his boyhood he traveled as his father, a Methodist minister, was transferred about to different pastorates in Danville, Colorado Springs, and then Boston, where Charles Crane accepted appointment as pastor of the People's Temple. Coming from five generations of Methodist ministers, Henry Hitt Crane early on decided to follow in this family tradition. After graduating from Boston Latin School, he graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1913. Next came seminary work at the Boston University School of Theology, during which time in 1915 he married Helen Beck. He graduated from seminary in 1916 then followed this up with post-graduate work at Harvard.

Crane's first pastorate in Gorham, Maine was interrupted by the First World War. In 1917, he took a leave from his church to serve with the Y.M.C.A. in front line duty. His exposure here to the brutalities of war transformed Crane into a pacifist, a position to which he would adhere for the remainder of his life. Crane returned to Gorham for a brief period of time, then moved on to a Newton, Massachusetts church for two years from 1918 to 1920. For nine years (1920-1928), he was pastor of the Centre Methodist Church in Malden, Massachusetts. In 1928, he was appointed pastor of the Elm Park Methodist Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Located in the heart of the anthracite coal region, Elm Park was ranked as one of the three greatest Methodist Episcopal churches in the nation. Here Crane bolstered his reputation for controversy, organizing meetings of the American League Against War and Fascism, which the American Legion had labeled as "communistic." While at Elm Park, Crane took a year-long (1936-1937) sabbatical to tour the world to study for himself world conditions and the political tumult then occurring in Europe and the Far East.

In June 1938, Crane was appointed to the pastorate of the Central Methodist Church of Detroit. Central Methodist, located at the juncture of Woodward and Adams, had been built in 1866, and had a reputation of a "free and liberal pulpit." Crane was to flourish in this setting. He was both a gifted and prolific speaker, a writer of some note, and a champion of liberal causes. In the tradition of many nineteenth-century pastors, Crane used his pulpit to speak out on the issues of the day. Most especially, he espoused the cause of peace, supporting those who would be conscientious objectors during World War II and speaking out against the confrontational policies of the Cold War. He was a committed pacifist whose views during the 1950s and 1960s brought him much public attention and notoriety. Crane never backed down in his beliefs despite being listed as a suspected subversive by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Crane was also involved in other liberal causes. A staunch opponent of bigotry, Crane often spoke out against anti-Semitism and race discrimination. Through his efforts the Detroit Round Table of Catholics, Jews and Protestants was formed, a group that was influential in Detroit religious affairs.

Crane served at Central Methodist for twenty years before retiring in 1958. For the next nearly twenty years, Crane continued traveling and speaking throughout the country. He died May 19, 1977 at age 87.

From the guide to the Henry Hitt Crane Papers, 1902-1977, 1938-1964, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Gray, Harold Studley, 1894-1972. Harold Studley Gray papers, 1896-1972. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation. Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation records, 1940-1957. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Tuttle, Lee F. Papers, 1927-1986. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation Records, 1940-1960 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Rebecca Shelley Papers, 1890-1984 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Fellowship of Reconciliation, Michigan records, 1940-1957 University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Henry Hitt Crane Papers, 1902-1977, 1938-1964 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Meally, John Edward, 1864-. John E. Meally papers, 1893-1949. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn John E. Meally Papers, 1893-1949 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Crane, Henry Hitt, 1890-1977. Henry Hitt Crane papers, 1902-1969 (bulk 1938-1958). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn G. Bromley Oxman Papers, 1823-1923, (bulk 1912-1960) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation. Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation records, 1940-1960. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Scrapbook page regarding Westbrook, Maine, ca. 1911. Maine Historical Society Library
creatorOf Crane, Henry Hitt, 1890-1977. Henry Hitt Crane papers, 1902-1977 (bulk 1938-1958). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Harold S. Gray Papers, 1896-1972 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Bandung Conference. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1955. University of Pennsylvania Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Civil Liberties Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Friends Service Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Bandung Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Central Methodist Church (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Central Methodist Church (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Central Methodist Church (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Centre Methodist Church (Malden, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Centre Methodist Church (Malden, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Crane, Charles A. person
associatedWith Crane, Frank, 1861-1928. person
associatedWith Davis, Jerome, 1891- person
associatedWith Democracy Unlimited. corporateBody
associatedWith Democracy Unlimited (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit Round Table of Catholics, Jews, and Protestants. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit Round Table of Catholics, Jews, and Protestants. corporateBody
associatedWith Elm Park Methodist Church (Scranton, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Elm Park Methodist Church (Scranton, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fellowship of Methodist Pacifists. corporateBody
associatedWith Fellowship of Methodist Pacifists. corporateBody
associatedWith Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.). Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith Gray, Harold Studley, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Heard, Gerald, 1889-1971. person
associatedWith Littell, Franklin Hamlin. person
associatedWith Littell, Franklin Hamlin. person
associatedWith Littell, Franklin Hamlin. person
associatedWith Meally, John Edward, 1864- person
associatedWith Methodist Episcopal Church corporateBody
associatedWith Methodist Federation for Social Action (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Fellowship of Reconciliation corporateBody
associatedWith Moffatt, James, 1870-1944. person
associatedWith Oxnam, G. Bromley (Garfield Bromley), 1891-1963 person
associatedWith Pike, James A. (James Albert), 1913-1969 person
associatedWith Pike, James A. (James Albert), 1913-1969. person
associatedWith Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970. person
associatedWith Rosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953. person
associatedWith Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953. person
associatedWith Shelley, Rebecca, 1887-1984. person
associatedWith Smith, Lillian Eugenia, 1897-1966. person
associatedWith Stephan, Max Paul. person
associatedWith Tuttle, Lee F. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan--Detroit
Michigan
Michigan
Detroit (Mich.)
Detroit (Mich.)
United States
Detroit (Mich.)
Subject
Clergy
Clergy
Methodist Episcopal Church
Methodist preaching
Methodist preaching
Methodists
Methodists
Pacifism
Peace
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1890

Death 1977

Information

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