Skip to main content

Crain, Rance, 1938-



  • Existence: 1938    


Journalist Rance Crain was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1938. He attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana for two years before transferring to Northwestern University, where he served as the sports editor for The Daily Northwestern. He graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 1960.

Crain began his career as a reporter in Washington, D.C. for Advertising Age, a publication published by Crain Communications, a company started by his father, G.D. Crain, Jr., in 1916. G.D. Crain’s wife, Gertrude, who served as Secretary/Treasurer of the company for many years, became Chairman when the elder Mr. Crain died in 1973. When Gertrude passed away in 1996, she was succeeded by Crain’s brother, Keith.

Crain became the founding editor of Business Insurance in 1967, a publication his father conceived of 50 years before while running a news service in Louisville, Kentucky. He was named Editorial Director in 1971 and President of the company in 1973. Crain started Pensions & Investments in 1973 as a spinoff of Business Insurance, and Crain’s Chicago Business in 1978. He was also responsible for founding Crain’s New York Business, Investment News and Electronic Media.

Crain Communications has had four generations of family members working for the company. In addition to G.D. Crain, Jr. and Gertrude Crain, other members of the Crain family involved in the company are Rance’s brother Keith and Keith’s sons K.C. and Chris, and Rance’s granddaughter, Candace Hanson. Rance’s daughter, Cindi Crain, serves on the Board of Directors of Crain Communications.

In 1990, Rance Crain bought Golfweek magazine (a publication for avid golfers, which started in 1975), in Winter Haven, Florida as a separate business from Crain Communications. Since acquiring the publication and moving it to Orlando, the parent company, Turnstile Media Group, acquired a community newspaper, The Winter Park Observer, in Winter Park, Florida, and an art publication, Professional Artist, covering the business side of an art career.

Crain is a charter member of the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement and a recipient of the 1992 Northwestern University Merit Award. He received Kodak’s Print Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Missouri School of Journalism Medal of Honor from the University of Missouri. He is a member of the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and the Advertising Hall of Fame. He has served as a board member of Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa.

Crain married his wife, Merillee (1942-2012) in 1965, and has two daughters, Heather and Cindi, and six grandchildren.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Gertrude and G. D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series, Signed Posters

Identifier: 16/20

The Gertrude and G. D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series, Signed Posters collection consists of posters with images of the speakers and their signatures.

Dates: 1998 - 2004

Rance E. Crain Papers

Identifier: 31/6/151

Rance Crain attended Northwestern University from 1958-1960, graduating with a degree in Journalism from Medill. He was President of his family-owned publication company, Crain Communications, and served as editor-in-chief of Advertising Age and several other publications. The Papers include his columns for those publications as well as his notes and research, and span the period 1956-2015.

Dates: 1956-2015