Cramton-4291741

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 19, 2012 | Go to article overview

Cramton-4291741


Willa Gene "Chris" Cramton of Wheaton Willa Gene "Chris" Cramton, 75, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Feb. 7. 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. after several months of illness. She grew up as the only child of William Fraser Christianson and Genevieve Dorothy Hodge in Aberdeen, S.D., Pierz, Brainerd and Austin, Minn. "Chris," as she preferred to be called, completed her undergraduate studies at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. in 1958, earned a master's degree in education from the University of Delaware in 1966. and later completed a master's degree in history from Northern Illinois University in 1991. As a social worker, Chris served as assistant director of the Young Adult Department for the YWCA in Boston, Mass. from 1958 to 1960, and as teenage director for the Worcester, Mass. YWCA from 1960 to 1962. Chris developed expertise in American Midwestern frontier history as part of her work as site historian for the reconstructed 1816 fort in Fort Wayne, Ind., while the living history museum was being developed and built between 1974 and 1977. Her work included background research and oversight of the design and handsewing of costumes for the first-person women interpreters who guided the public through the Fort. She also oversaw the selection and design of furnishings for the Fort and trained the interpreters to portray the characters they represented with historical accuracy. Chris' later research interests included Fort Dearborn (Chicago), American women's history, historic textiles and domestic furnishings, particularly the cultural significance and day-to-day use ("material culture") of the historic artifacts she collected. …

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