Crowe was born in Carthage, Missouri. She holds degrees from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri (1939) and Syracuse University (1941), and conducted graduate work at Columbia University and The New School for Social Research. She married Thomas Crowe in 1945 and has three children.
Career and activism
Crowe worked for Bell Labs during World War II. In 1945, following the bombing of civilian populations in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, she became a peace activist. Her participation in numerous protests has led to arrests, trials, and imprisonment. She has been active in the Society of Friends, American Friends Service Committee (running the local office from the basement of her Northampton, Massachusetts home for several decades), and War Resisters League, and co-founded the Traprock Peace Center (based in Deerfield, Massachusetts) and the Committee to End Apartheid (based in Springfield, Massachusetts). In the 1960s, she founded the Northampton, Massachusetts chapter of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Sane Nuclear Policy Committee, and the Valley Peace Center (based in Amherst, Massachusetts), and has also participated in the activities of Women Against the War and Amnesty International.
In 1967, during the Vietnam War, she worked as a draft counselor, providing counseling to over 2,000 people about applying for conscientious objector status by the war's end. She continues to be an advocate for conscientious objectors. Stating that she cannot pay for killing, she has become a war tax refuser since the beginning of the Iraq War. She is also one of the core members of the Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq and the newly formed Alliance for Peace and Justice, which is a Western Massachusetts coalition consisting of individuals and organizations. The Alliance was formed in December 2009 in response to President Obama's call to increase the troops in Afghanistan and she was explicit in helping the Alliance pass the "Bring Our War $$ Home" resolution in Northampton, Massachusetts and Amherst, Massachusetts.
Crowe has been active in the movement against nuclear power and for safe energy in New England since the 1970s and was one of 1414 people arrested at the occupation of the Seabrook nuclear power plant construction site in April, 1977. She has been arrested for peace and justice numerous times. Three recent arrests: In September 2009, Crowe and three other women were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. She was also arrested in Washington DC at the Veterans for Peace demonstration on December 16, 2010 (at 91 yrs of age) along with 6 other women from Western MA. She was arrested on January 15, 2014 (94 years old) again at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant  Her most recent arrest occurred on June 24, 2017 at the age of 98. She was protesting the building of the Kinder-morgan pipeline through a Massachusetts forest.
For her lifelong commitment to the Peace Movement and her unrelenting opposition to war through war tax resistance and eco-pacifist lifestyle, she was awarded the Courage of Conscience award May 4, 2007, by the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts. An archive of her papers is kept at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Crowe is a recipient of the Joe A. Callaway award in December 2009. In her acceptance speech, Crowe said that "core awareness lies at the bottom not the top."
- Michael Kenney. Tracking the protest movements that had roots in New England The Boston Globe, December 30, 2009.
- Eeesha Williams. Protesters Arrested at Vermont Yankee Valley Post, September 29, 2009.
- Brattleboro Police Log
- The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List Archived February 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- A protester for the ages
- Frances Crowe page
- Frances Crowe Papers at Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College
- Additional Frances Crowe information
- Frances Crowe interview
- Frances Crowe presentation from "I am a Conscientious Objector," Traprock Peace Center's Veterans Program held at Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, Massachusetts, November 11, 2004
- Frances Crowe speech on promoting and using alternative media at Rally for Peace in Brattleboro, Vermont, July 30, 2006