Francis Calvert

Francis Calvert

Founder at Gran-Cal Inc.

General Information


President of the Photography Society of Cleveland  - Woman


Member  - Photographic Society of America

Member  - National League of American Penwomen

Life Member  - Arnold Expedition Historical Society

Recent News  

Francis Calvert, of French heritage, born in Spain, raised in Algeria, was a World War I French Navy veteran.He found himself stranded in New York City on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, as the war came to an end and the government of France could not afford to bring his ship and its crew home.A resourceful young man, Francis Calvert proceeded to learn electrical engineering and was hired by the General Electric Company to do electrical installations in power plants.So it was that he found himself in Madison and met Mary Renier.They were married October 4, 1924 in the parlor of the Renier home on Main Street in Madison. The partnership was to continue 72 years, as the Calverts traveled all over the United States working first for the General Electric Company and later for themselves.Mr. Calvert founded several companies in the early 1950s, the Husky Corporation and the PLM Corporation, both of which manufactured high-voltage electrical equipment and were later sold.With Mrs. Calvert's assistance he founded Gran-Cal Inc., which produced cable accessories and fittings, and then the Calvert Company in June 1956.This company grew and prospered and was finally sold in 1992. Mrs. Calvert took up photography out of necessity, in order to photograph electrical equipment for the Calvert Company.She continued it as a hobby, specializing in nature photography, entering competitions and winning awards with her studies of wild flowers and birds.She studied with acclaimed photographers Dr. Helen Manzer and Freeman Patterson.Soon she specialized in travelogues, making 16 extended tours to the far corners of the world.Her travels took her "off the beaten path" to spots in South America, Alaska, Easter Island, Iceland, and in 1982 to China and around the world.She photographed icebergs, volcanoes, the midnight sun, glaciers, the Himalayas, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China.She also photographed the people in the lands she visited, especially the children, with the affectionate eye of a mother and grandmother.Three of her books, published in the 1980s, are collections of her own color photographs: Maine Captured in Color, Nature Trails, and Children. Mrs. Calvert's interest in Maine history grew out of her career in photography.After she had photographed the Arnold Expedition Re-enactment in 1975 and the last log drives on the Kennebec River in 1976, it seemed natural to start writing about them.Mr. and Mrs. Calvert celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on October, 4, 1994 with a dinner at Schooner Cove attended by 14 of their children and grandchildren and two great-grandsons.The 72-year partnership came to an end May 20, 1997, when Francis Calvert passed away peacefully.He was 94 years old. Mrs. Calvert was a 20-year member of the Photographic Society of America.She was a past president of the Woman's Photography Society of Cleveland; a member of the National League of American Penwomen; an active member of the Lincoln County Camera Club; and the New England Wildflower Society; the Maine Society of Mayflower Descendants; and the DAR, Pemaquid Chapter.She was a life member of the Arnold Expedition Historical Society. For her work in photography and writing she received the Deborah Morton Award at the 1983 commencement exercises at Westbrook College.She was honored at the dedication of the Westbrook College Library October 22, 1986, when the new Maine Women in History Room was given her name.A collection of her books and photographs is housed in the room named in her honor in the library of the University of Maine at Augusta.

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