Ralph Adams Cram

Personal Data

Ralph Adams Cram was born on December 16, 1863, in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, the son of Rev. William Augustine Cram and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Blake (daughter of Ira Blake).

He married on September 20, 1900, in New Bedford, to Elizabeth Carrington Read (b. 1872-1873 in Farmville GA), daughter of Clement C. Read and his wife, Mary Johnson.

Ralph Cram died on September 22, 1942, in Boston.


Ralph Cram came to Boston in 1881 and worked for five years in the offices of Rotch and Tilden,

after which he studied in Rome.

He returned to Boston and, in April of 1889, he joined in partnership with Charles Wentworth in the firm of Cram and Wentworth.  In 1891, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue joined the firm, and in January of 1892 became a partner, forming Cram, Wentworth, and Goodhue.  Wentworth retired from active practice in 1895 and died in 1897, and Frank W. Ferguson (who had joined the office as a draftsman in 1891), became a partner in the newly-named firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson.  Goodhue opened the firm’s offices in New York in the early 1900s, and Cram remained in Boston.  In 1913, Goodhue withdrew from the partnership and it became Cram and Ferguson.  Ferguson died in 1926 and Cram died in 1942, but the firm continued to operate under the name Cram and Ferguson.

Cram was a leading exponent of Gothic architecture and is best known for his churches, the West Point campus; and the Princeton University Graduate College campus.  His church designs include All Saints Church, Ashmount (1892); Christ Church, Hyde Park (1892); Emmanuel Church, Newport (1900); Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh (1904); Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, New York (1904); St. Thomas Church, New York City (1905-1913);  the redesign of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Devine in New York (1911); and many more.

For more information, see: Boston Bohemia 1881-1900: Ralph Adams Cram and his Architecture, by Douglass Shand-Tucci (University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst; 1995); and Ralph Adams Cram: An Architect’s Four Quests, by Douglass Shand-Tucci (University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst; 1995).

Back Bay Work

1907 334 Beacon (Remodeling) [Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson]
1927 181 Commonwealth (Remodeling) [Cram and Ferguson]