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Thomas D. Craven papers

Collection BC-2004-121: Thomas D. Craven papers


  • Creation: 1913 - 1987
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1917 - 1917

Scope and Contents

The collection includes Craven's 1917 diary, photographs, clippings, and one Boston College football drive sheet.

Craven wrote in his diary for the entirety of 1917, with his entries becoming more sporadic after his graduation from Boston College. As a student, he primarily wrote about his class work, the side jobs he worked, and meeting with friends. He worried about pop quizzes, discussed his extra-curricular activities, and recorded the scores for every BC football and baseball game. Craven also noted the important country-wide events of the day, such as President Wilson's inauguration on March 5, and the United States declaring war on April 6. Although he remained mostly focused on his day-to-day activities, his notes about World War I became more frequent as he reached graduation. After he graduated, Craven worked in a store in Boston and volunteered for military service. On August 11, he received his orders to report to Vermont to begin his training, and less than a week later he left home for the base in Vermont. Craven wrote in his diary less frequently after volunteering for service. His entries from the fall of 1917 include details on daily drills, inspections, and meeting the other young men on his base. Craven also reported on some of the major events of the war, but gave few opinions on the matter. He recorded his last entry on December 23, 1917.

The clippings in this collection include copies from the 1917 Sub Turri yearbook, an excerpt from Boston College in the World War, 1917-1918, and Craven's obituary from 1987.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research; portions availalbe digitially.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Thomas Daniel Craven was born in Boston on February 7, 1893. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1913 and from Boston College in 1917. At Boston College, Craven was a busy and well-known student. He played on the varsity football team, serving as the team manager as a senior, and was president of the Boston College Athletic Association. In addition to his athletic pursuits, Craven also wrote articles for Boston-area newspapers, participated in theater, and was an officer in the Boston College Club in Dorchester.

Thomas Craven's class was the first to spend the entirety of their four years on Boston College's new Chestnut Hill campus. The Class of 1917 also experienced the United States' entrance into World War I during their senior year. The young men attended assemblies on the importance of military participation as they neared graduation. After he graduated, Craven volunteered for military service and served as a hospital sergeant in the Medical Department of the U.S. Army's Air Service. He spent two years in the army before returning to Boston and marrying Lillian Wright.

Craven spent the rest of his life as an education administrator. He was the principal of the Mather School District in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and acted as supervisor for the Mather, Edward Southworth, Benjamin Cushing, and Lyceum Hall elementary schools. Craven retired in 1964 but remained active as a Boston Latin alumnus and in the Needham Post of the American Legion. He passed away on October 10, 1987 in Falmouth.


Boston College and John S. Keating, ed. Boston College in the World War, 1917-1918. Chestnut Hill, Mass.: Boston College, 1924.

Boston Globe. Obituary of Thomas Craven, October 13, 1987.

Heights. “Engagement of Thomas D. Craven, '17, Is Announced.” November 5, 1920. Accessed April 9, 2015.

Oslin, Reid. "Pioneers At Chestnut Hill." Boston College Chronicle, January 29, 1998. Accessed April 9, 2015.


1 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



The Thomas D. Craven papers contain his 1917 diary, clippings, photographs, and one Boston College football drive sheet. The diary includes almost daily entries from Craven's last semester as a Boston College senior and from his first several months of service in the United States Army during World War I. The clippings include information on Craven's time at Boston College, his service in the military, and his obituary.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

The bulk of these papers were given to University Archivist Neil O'Keefe by University Librarian Thomas F. O'Connell in 1979. The football drive chart was transferred to the archives by Reid Oslin prior to 1986.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time. The provenance of these papers, before they were given to the archives in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is unknown.

Existence of digital copies

Portions of this collection are available digitally. Links are included in the inventory.

Thomas D. Craven Papers
1913-1987 (bulk 1917)
Sarah Nitenson
April 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States