The Baroness von Rabe, was born in Rome, the eldest child of the American sculptor Thomas Crawford (1813–1857) and Louisa Ward (1823–1897). Her father is best known for sculpting the statue of Freedom on the U.S. Capitol building and her mother was the sister of Julia Ward Howe.
Crawford herself was a painter. She is the sister of novelists F. Marion Crawford and Mary Crawford (Mrs. Hugh Fraser). She married, sometime in the 1870s, the German officer Baron Erich von Rabe who served in the Franco-Prussian War with distinction. The couple lived on his estate in Lesnian, East Prussia. After her husband's death, she moved to Rome, where she died in 1912.
Crawford wrote only one book, the supernatural vampire tale A Mystery of the Campagna (1891) which was first serialized in Unwin's Annual for 1887 and later included in the Pseudonym Library under the pen-name "Von Degen."