Relatively little is known about the life and career of Ida Jolly Crawley. Born in Pond Creek, Tennessee, she was the daughter of Captain John Fred and Martha Phillips Crawley. After studying at the Corcoran Art School in Washington, D.C., she traveled throughout Europe and her oeuvre includes many continental subjects. Several of her paintings were exhibited in the 1910 Appalachian Expositions held in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In 1919, Crawley purchased a large residence in the city of Asheville, North Carolina. She established the home as the “Ida Jolly Crawley Museum of Art and Archaeology,” though it was also known as the “House of Pan.” There, Crawley exhibited her extensive collection of artifacts and artworks, including “antique furniture, Pompeian pottery and lava, Dead Sea water [and] botanical and geological specimens.”