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Mary Williams Crozier Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-058

Dates

  • 1874 - 1973
  • Majority of material found within 1874-1924

Language of Materials

Most materials in the collection are written in English. Series III, Other correspondence, contains letters in English, French, German, and Japanese. Series V, Receipts, contains documents in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese.

About Mary Williams Crozier

Mary Williams Crozier, born in 1864, descended from a distinguished New London family. Her grandparents, Thomas Wheeler Williams and Lucretia Shaw Perkins, and father, Charles Augustus Williams, were prominent figures in the city’s whaling and merchant industries. Her brother, William Williams, served as the US Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island from 1902-1905 and from 1909-1914, and participated in the China Relief Expedition in 1900.

The Williams family moved to Honolulu in 1865 when Charles Augustus Williams took over his father’s whaling business in the Arctic Sea. In 1873 the family went to Europe, eventually living in Wiesbaden, Germany. Mary Williams travelled extensively throughout Europe in the 1880s and 1890s, developing a sophisticated worldly perspective and cultivating an appreciation for international culture and political affairs. During this time she formed friendships with prominent figures such as Princess Elisabeth Sybille of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Grand Duchess Louise of Baden, and Donna Bianca Capranica del Grillo.

Mary wed William Crozier in London on October 31, 1913. Brigadier General Crozier was an 1876 graduate of West Point and one of the U.S. delegates to the 1899 Hague Peace Conference. At the time of their marriage he was Chief of Ordnance for the United States Army, a position he held from 1901-1917. The Croziers spent their official life in Washington interacting with some of the country’s most influential intellectuals, politicians, and lawmakers of the day—from presidents Taft and Wilson to ambassadors and Justices of the Supreme Court. A particular friendship was formed with the Earl and Countess of Reading while the Earl was the British ambassador to the US in 1918-1919.

Following Crozier’s retirement in 1919, the couple spent 3 1/2 years travelling widely, especially in Japan, China, Cambodia, India, and Egypt. While in India, the Croziers accompanied the Readings, now Viceroy and Vicerene of India, on several of their journeys throughout the country. During their travels they acquired numerous art works, furnishings, and curios, both for themselves and as gifts.

Upon her death in 1955, Mary Williams Crozier bequeathed a large portion of her estate to Connecticut College, to honor the long relationship between her family and the city of New London. The Crozier-Williams Center, a combined student-alumnae activities center, was dedicated in 1959.

Extent

3.67 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

0.87 Cubic Feet (2 oversized boxes)

5 Volumes

Organization of the Collection

The collection is grouped into nine series.
  1. Williams and Crozier family correspondence
  2. Rufus and Alice Reading correspondence
  3. Other correspondence
  4. Travel journals
  5. Sketchbooks
  6. Receipts
  7. Subject files
  8. Photographs
  9. Memorabilia
Title
Guide to the Mary William Crozier Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Deborah Kloiber
Date
July 2019
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States
860-439-2686