Forrest E. Craver
by Cynthia Mackey, class of 2003
Forrest Eugene Craver drove Dickinson College
and its athletic program to new heights. Craver served the school for over
forty years through teaching and or coaching. His attributes can still
be seen today on the campus.
Craver born September 24, 1875 to Frank and Mary Craver in Scanlin, Pennsylvania1 had two sisters and a brother. He attended Berwick High School, Wyoming Seminary and Dickinson Preparatory School before entering Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania in September 18953. While at Dickinson College, Craver did well in both athletics and academics. He belonged to various clubs during his years at Dickinson. His was a member of: the Union Philosophical Society, a society formed to improve its members in both science and literature, treasurer of the college YMCA, editor of the Hand Book, leader of the Inter-Society Debate, editor of the Microcosm, president of his class during sophomore year4 and a brother of Phi Kappa Sigma since 18975. Besides all these activities, Craver participated in both the track and football teams for all four years he attended Dickinson.
Craver will probably be most noted for his participation in football. Before Craver was a student at Dickinson College, he played football for the college when he was enrolled in Dickinson Preparatory School in 18946. At Dickinson he played right end and was the captain during the 1897 season. Perhaps this is where Craver get his nickname of "Cap."7 During his senior year, Craver led all scores from his end position by making fifty points on ten touchdowns8.
Track was Craver's other sport that he played at Dickinson. His events included the half mile run, running high jump, running broad jump and pole vault9. Craver broke the college record in pole vaulting with a leap of ten feet10. During a spring competition on May 17, 1898, Craver placed second in the hundred twenty yards hurdles, first in the pole vault and first in the running high jump11.
Craver was very active at his Commencement from Dickinson College held on June 7, 189912. He gave three orations during commencement activities: one during the ceremony entitled, "A Trust for Civilization", one for the his fraternity Phi Kappa Sigma, "Future Prospects of Epsilon," and finally one oration which was an addressee to the undergraduates13. Craver graduated as a classics major and received Phi Beta Kappa honors14.
After graduating from Dickinson College, Craver became an instructor of Greek and Latin at Dickinson Seminary school from 1899-1900 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He returned to Carlisle and taught Greek and Latin again at Dickinson Preparatory School which later became Conway Hall15. He also had duties as the physical director of the Dickinson College gym during this time. He assisted Ralph F. Hutchinson in football during the 1901 season16. Craver became the first alumnus to be the head coach for Dickinson College in 1904. Wilbur Gobrecht in The History of Football at Dickinson College, comments that: "Many more were to follow but none was to have a great impact on Dickinson Athletes as "Cap" Craver"17. Craver had many alumni assistants that would come back for a couple weeks at a time to help coach.
In 1905, Craver announced his resignation to take a teaching job at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey and to get married18. One explanation for Craver's resignation at this time is a lawsuit that involved Craver and Ralph Hall, a student pitching for the baseball team. Ralph Hall of Beech Creek sued Craver for two hundred and seventeen dollars for pitching for the college team. It had just been made public then that the Dickinson athletic department paid the tuition and expenses of players who had been brought to Dickinson for their services rendered on various teams. The case made it to the local court19.
Craver married Miss Margaret Nellie Moore of Laurel, Delaware on June 15, 1905. While at Montclair, Craver taught English and Latin20. Still on leave from Dickinson, Craver continued his studies as a graduate student at Columbia University between 1906-190721. The football program was slowly declining at Dickinson College and many were in the "drive for the return" of "Cap" Craver to help out the team22.
Craver returned in 1909 to accept the position of Physical Director of Dickinson College and adjunct Professor of Mathematics23. The position of Physical Director required Craver to have control over all the various teams in athletics, similar to a present day Athletic Director24. Craver remained at the college until the outbreak of World War I, when he moved to Port Deposit, Maryland to teach Physical Education at the Tome School. He also was the Physical Director at the Friends' School in Baltimore in 191825.
In 1919, Craver finally returned to Dickinson College for good. He was an Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and the Physical Director. One year later, Craver became a full Professor of Mathematics26. The Dickinsonian, Dickinson's newspaper, is quoted as stating Craver was "putting the pep in college athletics" upon his return to coaching27.
Overall, Craver was the head coach for the Dickinson football team in 1904, 1916, 1919, 1920 and 192128. He was also headcoach in 1909, 1910, and 1915, but the team was handled by a field coach at the same time. Craver is also noted for being the chief scout of Glenn E. "Pop" Warner from the Old Carlisle Indian School. Through his years of coaching, Craver improved the Dickinson football program to where he thought it should be. He wrote many editorials to the Dickinsonian commenting on the poor showing during the pre season of football players and what should be done about it. The eligibility rules came under attack while Craver was Physical Director. He wrote an article in the November 2, 1910 issue of the Dickinsonian answering everyone's criticism about the requirements to play on the team. Besides the criticism Craver received about the rules, he tried to ensure fine athletes through the cooperation of the whole student body. One of the things Craver wanted everyone to follow was to keep the noise to a minimum in dorms after ten o'clock at which time most of the athletes should be in bed29. Craver showed his dedication to football through his "Old Play Book" where he kept drawings of plays and records of the people on the team30. Sometimes, however Craver got carried away with his dedication to the team. In a letter from James Henry Morgan, President of Dickinson College from 1914-1928, 1931-1932, and 1933-1934, he addresses the issue about the academic eligibility of athletes on the team. According to the letter, Craver was not sending the grades of the players to the faculty. Morgan stated that the faculty should deem the academic eligibility of students who represent Dickinson at other schools31.
Besides coaching football, Craver coached track as well. He led the Dickinson College track team to ten undefeated seasons in 1912, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1934. He was the track coach in 1901, 1904, 1905, 1910 through 1918 and 1920 through 1938. Craver was the organizer and early president of the Old Middle Atlantic Collegiate Track and Field Association32. Craver kept articles and newspaper clippings related to track team in a scrapbook. There are records of the members of the team and their times for certain events33.
Craver wanted everyone to be physically fit and so as Physical Director he wanted to make sure the gym was accessible to all. In a report from Craver in the spring of 1911, he states that the gym hours should be accessible to all so they would not have to miss class to use it. He tried to make physical activity similar to a class insuring everyone had some physical activity. He proposed having student assistants working every week to have the gym running smoothly34. He introduced the idea of intramural sports so students had a chance to participate in sports on various levels. Intramural sports are still very popular on college campuses today. The students of Dickinson College recognized and appreciated Craver's dedication to the school and the athletic program. The athletic section in the 1922 Dickinson yearbook Microcosm is dedicated to Craver: "The man who for many years has been responsible for our Dickinson spirit"35.
Outside of Dickinson College, Craver was a member of Allison Methodist Church and a resident of the Carlisle community with his family, a son and a daughter. He became a part of the Allison Methodist Congregation on September 22, 1895 when he was eighteen years old36. The community recognized Craver's dedication to the community and the school by awarding him a Faithful Service Award, a certificate in honor of his forty-six years at Dickinson College. The community presented this award to Craver at Carlisle' s Faithful Service Dinner in the Alumni Gymnasium on May 2, 194637. Four years later, Craver received another Faithful Service Award for his fifty years at Dickinson College. The community presented this certificate to individuals "whose long and loyal service has contributed much to the welfare of the community"38Craver, however, retired from Dickinson College in 1946; yet according to Charles Sellers in his Dickinson College: A History, he states that Craver was part of the college's faculty from 1900 to 195039.
A year later he received an honorary degree of doctor of science in education at the one hundred seventy-fourth Dickinson College commencement on June 8, 194740. Craver served as a faculty member on both the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Sigma organizations during his career at Dickinson. After a lengthy illness Craver died on October 18, 1958 at the Carlisle Hospital at the age of eighty-three. At that time his wife, son, daughter, two sisters and brother survived him.
Margaret Craver, daughter of Craver, described her father as very unique individual. His hobbies were chess, gardening and crossword puzzles. Margaret told of how he would busy himself with carpentry were he would make rockers and desks for the family41. Margaret later went to Dickinson College as class of 1929 where many compared her with her "absent minded" father, as some saw him42.
Craver's memory lives on here at Dickinson College. A plaque at the basement of Old West describes his dedication to Dickinson College, its athletic program and to the students. Craver was a "brilliant scholar, by high standards. He pointed his students toward the best, Great athlete and coach, through sportsmanship he trained boys to become men"43.
Dickinson College Special Collections
2. "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
3. "Professor Craver Retires. Teachers varied courses in 36 years of Service," The Dickinsonian, 8 June1946, vol.73, p.3.
4. Phi Kappa Sigma Minute Book 1897-1899, Box 3, Folder 8, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
5. Microcosm, 1900, p. 25, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
6. Wilbur Gobrecht Jr. The History of Football at Dickinson College:1885-1969 (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: The Kerr Printing Company, 1971), 37.
8. Ibid., 51.
9. Professor Craver Retires. Teachers varied courses in 36 years of Service," The Dickinsonian, 8 June1946, vol.73, p.3.
10. Gobrecht, 51.
11. Microcosm, 1900, p. 151, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
12. Microcosm, 1901, p. 122, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
13. "A Commencement issue with full accounts of '99's Commencement," The Dickinsonian, June 1899, vol. 26, pp. 595-597.
14. "Death Claims Professor Forrest E. Craver." Dickinson Alumnus, December 1958, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 11-12.
15. George Leffingwell Reed, ed., Alumni Record of Dickinson College (Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania: Mount Holly Stationery and Printing Co., 1905), 363.
16. Gobrecht, 67.
17. Gobrecht, 77.
18. Gobrecht, 89.
19. "Beech Creek Athlete Won Suit over Non Payment by Dickinson," Lock Haven Express, 1905, found in "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
20. "Wedding Chimes," The Dickinsonian, 20 September 1905, vol. 33, p. 6.
21. Microcosm, 1922, p. 20, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
22. Gobrecht, 94.
23. "Coach Craver," The Dickinsonian, 14 April 1909, vol. 36, p. 3.
24. Gobrecht, 95.
25. The Dickinsonian, 8 June 1946, p.3.
27. The Dickinsonian, 26 September 1919, vol. 47. p. 1.
28. "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
29. Gobrecht, 127.
30. "Craver, Forrest E." Craver's Old Play Book, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
31. "Morgan, James Henry" Collections of Letters, Cra-Crom folder, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
32. "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
33. "Craver, Forrest E." Craver's Old Play Book, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
34. Report and Recommendations of Physical Director, May 1911, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
35. Microcosm, 1922, p. 20, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
36. Allison Methodist Church Records, book #292 p. 145 and book #293 pp. 71, 117, Cumberland County Historical Society.
37. "Craver Gets Service Award," The Dickinsonian, 19 May 1946, vol. 73, p. 1.
38. Faithful Service Award found in "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
39. Charles Coleman Sellers, Dickinson College: A History ( Middleton, Connecticut: Wesleyan, University Press, 1903), 542.
40. "Craver, Forrest E." DropFile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
41. Mrs. John C. Grimm(Margaret Craver). Interview held at 52 Conway Street in Carlisle, Pa on Friday, December 12, 1975 in Deborah Green "Dickinson College: A Biographical Sketch of Forrest Eugene Craver", Professor Gates, November, 17, 1975 footnotes.
42. Microcosm, 1929, p. 66, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
43. Forrest Craver plaque located basement of Old West, Dickinson College.
Allison Methodist Church Records, book #292 p. 145 and book #293 pp. 71, 117, Cumberland County Historical Society.
"Craver, Forrest." Plaque in Old West Basement, Dickinson College,
All these sources can be found in the May Morris Room at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
"Death Claims Professor Forrest E. Craver." Dickinson Alumnus. Vol. 36, no. 2 (December 1958): 11-12.
"Craver, Forrest E." Dropfile, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
"Craver, Forrest E." Craver's Old Play Book, Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
Gobrecht, Wilbur Jr.The History of Football at Dickinson College:1865-1969.
The Kerr Printing Co., 1971.
Green, Deborah. "Dickinson College: A Biographical Sketch of Forrest Eugene Craver." Professor Gates, Dickinson College, November, 17, 1975.
Microcosm. 1899, 1900, 1901, 1929, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
Morgan, James Henry. Dickinson College: 1783-1933. Harrisburg, PA: Mount Pleasant Press, 1933.
---. Letters during his Presidency at Dickinson College. Dickinson College Special Collections, Dickinson College.
Phi Kappa Sigma Minutes, Phi Kappa Sigma Minute Book 1897-1899, Box
3, Folder 8, Dickinson College Special
Collections, Dickinson College.
Reed, George Leffingwell, ed. Alumni Record of Dickinson College. Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania: Mount Holly Stationery and Printing Co., 1905.
Report and Recommendations of Physical Director, May 1911, Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Dickinson College: A History. Middleton,Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press 1903.
The Dickinsonian: June 1899; September 20, 1905; April 14,
1909; November 2, 1910; September 26, 1919; May 7, 1920; May 21, 1920;
May 9, 1946; June 8, 1946; Dickinson College Archives, Dickinson College.