Ralph Adams Cram

Ralph Adams Cram books and biography


Ralph Adams Cram


Ralph Adams Cram, circa 1890
Ralph Adams Cram, circa 1890

Ralph Adams Cram, (December 16, 1863 - September 22, 1942), was an important American architect of collegiate and ecclesiastical buildings, often in the gothic style. His work is represented on a number of campuses, including Cornell University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Williams College, Rice University, Wheaton College in Massachusetts, the United States Military Academy, and St. George's School, but he is most closely associated with Princeton, where he served as Consulting Architect from 1907 to 1929.

From 1898-1914, Cram was in partnership with Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in the Boston firm then known as Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson.

Born at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire into a Unitarian clerical family, in his youth Cram called himself an agnostic. But during a Christmas Eve mass in Rome in 1887, he had a dramatic conversion experience. For the rest of his life, he remained a fervent Anglo-Catholic who self-identified as High Church Anglican.

As author and lecturer as well as architect, Cram propounded the view that the Renaissance had been, at least in part, an unfortunate detour for western culture. Cram argued that authentic development could come only by returning to Gothic sources for inspiration, as his "Collegiate Gothic" architecture did, with considerable success.

Cover of Time Magazine (December 13, 1926)
Cover of Time Magazine (December 13, 1926)
Hunt Memorial Library in c. 1906, Nashua, New Hampshire
Hunt Memorial Library in c. 1906, Nashua, New Hampshire

Cram's churches include:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
All Saints Church, Ashmont
Church of the Advent (Lady Chapel)
  • Detroit, Michigan
Cathedral Church of St. Paul
  • Hamtramck, Michigan
St. Florian Church
  • Houston, Texas
Trinity Church
  • New York City
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (nave and exterior)
Saint Thomas Church
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Cathedral of Hope
Calvary Episcopal Church
  • Louisville, Kentucky
Concordia Lutheran Church, 1930
  • Glens Falls, New York
First Presbyterian Church, 1929
  • Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton University Chapel, 1928


This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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