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Ralph W. Cram Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Cram

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection is composed mainly of two types of material: correspondence and copies of the autobiographical seventy-eight columns Cram published in the Davenport, Iowa Democrat and Leader shortly before he retired as editor. The correspondence, much of which concerns the topic of aviation, includes letters from Floyd Dell, James Harold (Jimmie) Doolittle, Alice French, Hamlin Garland, Susan Glaspell, Robert E. Peary, Eddie Rickenbacker, Igor Sikorsky, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Orville Wright. There is also a report on the entertainment for a lecture by Admiral Robert E. Peary, and a photograph of the elderly Cram.


  • Creation: 1906-1952



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ralph W. Cram Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ralph W. Cram Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Ralph W. Cram

American editor and publisher.

Ralph W. Cram was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1869. In 1883 he began his newspaper career as a printer's devil with the Davenport (Iowa) Daily Davenport Democrat (later the Democrat and Leader), a newspaper to which he dedicated his life. After being a reporter and city editor and managing editor, in 1930 he became editor and publisher, a position he held until his retirement in 1940.

Cram was an acknowledged political analyst and his editorials reflected life not only in Davenport but in the state and nation as well. An authority on aviation and an avid pilot, Cram began flying in 1919, and in 1934 he was appointed state director in charge of airport improvement in Iowa. He was a charter member of the National Aeronautic Association in 1922 and was also a sponsor of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association. Cram was a frequent contributor to aeronautic magazines and was the author of "Soloing at Sixty-two." He wrote the story of his life in seventy-eight chapters, published serially in the Democrat and Leader, 1937-1939.

Cram was married and the father of four children. He died in 1952.


1.5 Linear Feet (1 box and 1 oversize box)


Correspondence, mostly incoming, of Ralph W. Cram, editor and publisher of the Davenport (Iowa) Democrat and Leader; also, a complete run of his seventy-eight columns for that paper, 1937-1939, and his photograph.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Correspondence, 1906-1952
Box 1
Series 2: Miscellaneous, 1907-approximately 1945
Box 1
Series 3: Newspaper Columns, 1937-1939
Box 2

Collection Stack Location

1 13 2


Gift of Ralph W. Cram, 1951; Margaret Cram Siemen, 1952.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2003

Ralph W. Cram Papers, 1906-1952
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 08/17/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States