Introduction to the Collection
The Crapster collection is divided into two parts. Part I: Family History Files includes information on numerous families from Carroll County, arranged by family name. The files typically contain a variety of references including, abstracts of public documents such as deeds, wills, inventories of personal property and administration accounts. Only occasionally will a file contain copies of documents themselves; most of the information in the files consists of Dr. Crapster’s handwritten notes which can be difficult to read. Part II: Subject Files includes information on a wide variety of topics relating to the history of Carroll county. For each part of the collection, there is an index of files, followed by a summary of file contents.
Access to the Collection
Access to the Crapster Collection is by appointment with the Society’s curatorial staff during regular HSCC Library hours. Patrons should contact the staff for an appointment prior to visiting the Society. The Society’s staff can also conduct fee-based research in the Crapster Collection and provide copies of the material in some files. Because most of the files contain handwritten notes, they do not always copy well and can be difficult to read. HSCC will provide the best available copies of these materials but is not responsible for the poor quality of some copies. Please go to Research Fees and Policies for procedures for access to the collection or obtaining copies from the collection.
Part I: Family History Files
Part II: Subject Files
Dr. Basil Crapster: A Biographical Sketch
Dr. Basil Crapster was born to Basil and Ellen Bruce Long Crapster on July 3, 1920. He grew up in Taneytown, Carroll County, Maryland, and throughout his life he maintained an interest in the history and the people of his birthplace.
After graduating from Mercersburg Academy in 1937, he entered Princeton University where he received his under-graduate degree in 1941. The following year he earned his masters degree from Harvard University. Dr. Crapster served three years in Naval Intelligence during World War II. When the war was over he returned to Harvard for a doctorate in nineteenth century English history.
Armed with impeccable credentials and teaching ability, Dr. Crapster joined the faculty of Gettysburg College in 1949. He taught European History until his retirement in 1988. During his tenure at Gettysburg he wrote a number of articles for history journals and local newspapers. He received the Lindback Foundation Award for distinguished teaching.
Dr. Crapster and his wife Joan (Tewksbury) Crapster often worked together in researching the history of Taneytown and the northwest quadrant of present day Carroll County. Dr. Crapster’s interest in the history of his family and Taneytown, Md., became the core of his research. He and his wife were frequent visitors to the Frederick County Courthouse where early Taneytown documents are filed. As the body of research expanded, so did Dr. Crapster’s search area. Notes indicate that he had been active in most Maryland courthouses and in those of bordering states. He found information on people and events in the Maryland Hall of Records and in the National Archives. He pursued history in the Maryland Historical Society and in the societies of nearby states. The mass of information concerning the early history of the northwest quadrant of Carroll County is a tribute to his dedication to this project.
Mrs. Crapster died in 1989 and Dr. Crapster passed away two years later. Through the generosity of the Crapster children, their parents’ research has been entrusted to the Historical Society of Carroll County. It is truly a living legacy that illuminates the past and provides new areas for continuing research in the future.
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