New York Times/1922/Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts Crusader, Dies at 73

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Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts Crusader, Dies at 73  (1922) 



Prohibition Leader Who Was
Famous for His Attacks on
Popular Amusements.


Prolific Writer on Religious Topics
Was Long a Picturesque Figure
In Congressional Lobbies.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27.—Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts, for 28 years superintendent of the International Reform Bureau which he founded, and widely known because of his activities on behalf of prohibition and similar movements, died at a hospital here today of pneumonia. He was 73 years old.

Dr. Crafts, charged by opponents of legislation he sponsored with being a "reform fanatic," was for years a picturesque figure in congressional lobbies and committee rooms. By those in sympathy with his policies he was credited with having an influential part in enactment of prohibition, of laws to restrict the use of narcotics and of legislation of similar nature.

Outspoken in his opposition to Sunday amusements, Dr. Crafts sought to have them banned by legislation. He also endeavored to prevent the holding of the Dempsey-Carpentier bout in New Jersey in the Summer of 1921. He was a prolific writer on moral questions.

After funeral services here tomorrow the body will be sent to Westerly, R. I., for burial.

Dr. Crafts was born at Fryeburg, Me., a son of a Methodist preacher of puritan ancestry. He was graduated from Wesleyan in 1869 and from the Divinity School of Boston University in 1871. The first eight years of his long ministerial career he spent in his father's church, changing to Congregationalism in 1880, and in 1883 entering the Presbyterian ministry where he remained thereafter. In 1874 he married Sara J. Timanus, a prolific and forceful writer and worker in religious causes, his partner in many of his numerous activities, particularly those relating to Sunday schools.

Among reform leaders, few can have equaled Dr. Crafts in the amount of work done. His pen and his voice were allowed little rest during the last fifty years. He averaged six lectures a week, delivered in twenty-nine different countries, and had written a book a year, most, but not all, on religious topics. Here, for instance, is a curious title that crops up in a long list of others that do not surprise: "Rhetoric Made Racy." In addition to constantly contributing papers to religious magazines, he had since 1896 been chief editor of the Twentieth Century Quarterly.

To the general public Dr. Crafts was of course, best known for his attacks on popular amusements. Screen vampires, close dancing, "joy rides," which he said "often proved a ride of lifelong shame and woe"; Sunday baseball, cigarettes were a few of the objects of his tireless reforming zeal.