Skip to main content

Maurice Crane papers

Identifier: UA-17.346

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence, documents from the Vincent Voice Library, Maurice Crane's teaching notes and cassette tapes for classes he taught, photographs, newspaper clippings, and publications. The cassette tapes contain speeches of famous people and events.

Also in the collection are materials related to the Geriatric Six Plus One band, such as newspaper clippings, flyers/announcements, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.


Maurice Aaron Crane was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 6, 1926. He received his M.A. in English from the University of Chicago in 1950 and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois in 1953. Crane came to Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1953 to teach Humanities. He later achieved the rank of full professor in 1967. During his tenure, he taught overseas at the University of London and Ryukyu Daigaku. He also took a sabbatical at Cambridge University. He was also part of the group that started the Honors College. In 1974, Crane was appointed director of the Vincent Voice Library at MSU. During his time as Head of the Vincent Voice Library, Crane opened up the card catalog to the public and made the collection available for items to be borrowed that were without copyright restrictions. He also added more recordings in all subject areas, such as speeches of U.S. Presidents, labor history, popular culture, the history of Michigan State University, and intellectual and political history to the Voice Library.

Crane was also involved in many other projects. He wrote, performed in, and created music for a dozen educational films. He also had six television series, four radio series, including “Voices of Times Past” which ran for three years on PBS, and “Spin Back the Years.” He published articles, reviews, fiction, and poetry that appeared in local magazines and scholarly journals. Crane received awards for his work, including first prize at the Venice Film Festival (1961), Wilson Hall Outstanding Teacher Award (1963), Omicron Delta Kappa (Honoris Causa) (1969) and Tau Sigma (Honoris Causa) (1978). Crane won the highest awards given by MSU students (Honors College Outstanding Professor Award, 1969), by faculty (Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty Award, 1979), and by alumni (Lifetime member Honoris Causa of the MSU Alumni Association, 1988.) He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1984 for his three-cassette series on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speeches that were selected by the Book of the Month Club.

Crane formed and lead a Dixieland jazz band called the Geriatric Six Plus One in 1970. The band consisted of six MSU faculty members and a fellow musician from Lansing. Over time, different professors from campus would also join the band. They played gigs at the University Club and other events. In 1976, MSU Athletics Director Joe Kearney invited the group to play before home football games. This tradition lasted around 31 years, with the band also traveling to some away games. The band donated proceeds from its recordings and performances to MSU’s Jazz Studies program. The group disbanded in 2009.

Crane retired from MSU in 2000 and continued to live in the East Lansing area until his death on June 1, 2014.


4.63 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Maurice Crane Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Jennie Russell
December 30, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US