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Francis N. Crenshaw Papers

Collection ID: RG 1-1B1

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the personal papers of Francis N. Crenshaw that document his career as well as his father, Captain Russell S. Crenshaw. The collection covers Francis N. Crenshaw's tenure on the Old Dominion Univeristy Board of Visitors. The collection also contains the naval orders of Crenshaw's father, Captain Russell Crenshaw, while he served in World War II.


  • 1927-1978, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/17/1976



1.20 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

A member of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors from 1968-1976, Francis Nelson Crenshaw was born in 1922 in Washington, D.C. After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia, Francis Crenshaw became a resident of the Tidewater area and lived there for over fifty years. Beginning his law career in 1948 with Edwin J. Smith, a Norfolk lawyer, Francis Crenshaw joined the firm of Baird, White, and Lanning in 1951. After a year, Mr. Crenshaw became a partner of the firm which later changed its name to Crenshaw, Ware, and Martin. Crenshaw was the senior partner of the firm until his retirement in 1997. Francis Crenshaw was a member of several local, state, and national bar associations. Among the offices which he held within these associations were the President of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association and Chairman of the Virginia Bar Association. In addition to these professional associations, Francis Crenshaw had been active in Norfolk civic and service organizations. Serving on the Board of Directors of Norfolk's Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Crenshaw was also a member and former chairman of the Norfolk City School Board from 1956 to 1964. During his years on the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors, Crenshaw served on several committees of the Board and he was Rector from 1970 to 1976. Crenshaw was also the attorney for the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Association, a position which he held from 1951 to the mid-1990s. The papers in the final series are those of Captain Russell S. Crenshaw, the father of Francis Crenshaw. Captain Crenshaw was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1886 and was appointed from Virginia to the US Naval Academy entering the class of 1907. He first served for five years on the Battleship Virginia, all of his service being in the gunnery department. He also served as Navigator of the Celtic, a fleet supply ship, and later as Radio Officer of the Panama Canal Zone. During most of World War I, Captain Crenshaw was located in Washington in convoy and routing duty, for which he received the US Army Distinguished Service Medal and a Navy letter of commendation. Subsequent assignments included Gunnery Officer of the USS Tennessee, Executive Officer of the USS Augusta and Commander of the Pensacola. Ashore, he served as Commander of the Naval Mine Depot at Yorktown, Virginia and as Assistant Commandant, Fifth Naval District, Norfolk, Virginia. Having retired from this position and active duty in 1946, Captain Crenshaw died in 1975. Francis N. Crenshaw passed away on January 26, 2012 at Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital. He was predeceased by his first wife Jane Elizabeth Treadwell Crenshaw and survived by his second wife Anne Alfriend Abbitt Crenshaw as well as his three daughters and two step-sons.

Note written by Sonia Yaco; Kathleen Smith

Language of Materials



Francis N. Crenshaw was a member of Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors (1968-1976). Material relates to his service as member and rector of the Board. The collection also contains papers of his father, Captain Russell Crenshaw (1886-1975), that chiefly relate to his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into two series: Series I: Francis N. Crenshaw; and Series II: Captain Russell Crenshaw.

Source of Acquisition

Francis N. Crenshaw

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A76-65

Accruals and Additions

Second accession: 8/25/1978

Related Materials

Oral Histories in the Perry Library: Francis N. Crenshaw

A Guide to the Francis N. Crenshaw Papers
Sonia Yaco; Kathleen Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US