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Legacy Library: Richard Cranch

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Member: RichardCranch

CollectionsYour library (436)

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TagsCase 2 (224), Religion (193), Case 1 (152), History (48), Literature (41), Case 2 Shelf 6 (40), Case 2 Shelf 5 (40), Case 2 Shelf 3 (40), Sermons (40), Case 2 Shelf 2 (36) — see all tags

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About meRichard Cranch (26 October 1726 - 16 October 1811), Massachusetts watchmaker, legislator, local official. Born at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, Cranch arrived in Boston in November 1746 and established a shop as a card-maker, but quickly became known for his interest in religious scholarship. He taught himself Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, and befriended Rev. Jonathan Mayhew.

Cranch relocated to Braintree in 1750, and later to Weymouth, where he took up the business of watch repair. He married in November 1762 Mary Smith, the sister of Abigail Smith (later the wife of John Adams).

By 1766 the Cranches had moved to Salem, but returned to Braintree in 1769. Cranch served two terms in the state House of Representatives (1779-1783) and a term in the State Senate (1785-1787), and held the office of Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County from 1779 through 1793, along with several local offices at various times. Cranch was a delegate to the Massachusetts convention to ratify the federal constitution, and supported ratification.

He was a supporter of the Harvard library, and the college granted him an honorary M.A. degree in 1780, placing him with the class of 1744. He was a founding member of the Massachusetts Charitable Society, and the Massachusetts Society for Propogating the Gospel in North America (in its 1787 iteration). He sat as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but declined membership in the Massachusetts Historical Society (he did donate a book to the Society's library).

Cranch's interests ranged widely, as his book collection makes clear. He was regarded as an authority on the biblical prophecies and the Antichrist by ministers of all stripes, and was a strong Federalist politically.

Richard Cranch and his wife died within hours of each other in 1811; their daughter Elizabeth Cranch Norton died the same year. Another daughter, Lucy Greenleaf, lived until 1846, and their son William Cranch died in 1855.

Much of the info here comes from the biographical sketch of Richard Cranch in Sibley's Harvard Graduates, Vol. XI: 1741-1745 (MHS, 1960), pp. 370-376. Many thanks to Robert Mussey for his expertise on Cranch's life, and for finding the inventories that comprise this library.

About my libraryCranch's books have been entered from a wide variety of sources, including extant copies, lists in manuscript collections of family papers, and correspondence. Sources have been noted in Comments for each title.

The largest list of Richard Cranch's books is found in a notebook kept by his grandson Richard Cranch Norton (in the Jacob Norton Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society). RCN inventoried his grandfather's books on 18 January 1812, noting the case and shelf locations for each book and adding notations indicating whether he wished to purchase the title or whether the book was at that time in the possession of his father Jacob Norton (Richard Cranch's son-in-law).

Richard Cranch's books seem to have been arranged in two large (7-shelf) cases, with folio and quarto volumes on the lower shelves and books of smaller formats above. Tags for the case and shelf numbers have been added, as have additional subject tags as appropriate.

Cranch gave a number of volumes from his library (particularly law titles) to his son William in 1797 after the latter's own library was seized by creditors.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Do you know of additional books which should be included here? Please contact Libraries of Early America coordinator Jeremy Dibbell.

GroupsLibraries of Early America

Real nameRichard Cranch

LocationMA

Favorite authorsNot set

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/RichardCranch (profile)
/catalog/RichardCranch (library)

Member sinceMar 1, 2010

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