Charles R. Crane (1858-1939) had a fascinating career. He started at Crane Company—the family firm and one of the largest manufacturers of plumbing and related supplies—and ended as a great American philanthropist engaged in wide-ranging political activities. Mr. Crane contributed substantial sums to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; international activities of the YMCA; the Harvard Medical School of China in Shanghai; and Constantinople Women's College. Columbia University also received support for purchase of books on the Near East.
Public service played an important role in Mr. Crane's life. President Taft appointed him the U.S. minister to China in 1909. Following his second term as minister to China (1921 - 1922), Crane founded the New York-based Institute for Current World Affairs (ICWA) in 1925.
Norman E. Saul is Professor of Modern Russian History and of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Kansas. He received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, and taught modern Russian history at Purdue and Brown before beginning his tenure at the University of Kansas. Since the 1970s, his main focus has been on Russian-American relations, and he has completed four books on this subject. His Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet-American Relations will be published by Scarecrow Press in October 2008.
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