The Woman Behind the School: Julia Crane
Julia Etta Crane, the founder of The Crane School of Music, was born on May 19, 1855, in Hewittville, New York. Growing up in the North Country, and in close proximity to the Potsdam area, Crane was heavily influenced by the musical environment that was developing there.
Crane attended the Potsdam Normal School and after graduating, she went on to teach at the District Eight Public School in Potsdam. During the summers of 1875 and 1876, she went to Boston for musical studies. After her experiences in Boston, Crane went on to teach music, mathematics, and calisthenics at the Normal School in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1880, Crane returned to Potsdam to open her own vocal studio. Soon afterwards, General Edwin A. Merritt was appointed American Consul-General in London, and Crane was invited to London as a companion for Merritt’s wife. This not only provided Crane with the opportunity to travel, but to study with Signor Manuel Garcia, who was the teacher of the famed singer Jenny Lind.
She returned to Potsdam and reopened her studio briefly before accepting a teaching position at the Potsdam Normal School in September 1884.