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Rance E. Crain Papers

Identifier: 31/6/151

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Rance Crain Papers fill thirteen boxes and span the period 1956-2015, and mainly comprise materials relating to Crain’s publishing career and corporate interests. The majority of the collection consists of the columns written by Crain for Advertising Age and (where he served as the editor-in-chief), and his notes and research for his columns. The papers are organized in six categories: biographical materials, correspondence, company files, interview transcripts and speech texts, and Crain Communications, Incorporated, publications.

Biographical materials include citations and/or acceptance speeches for awards from the American Advertising Hall of Fame, Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in addition to papers from his time as a college student at DePauw University and Northwestern University.

General correspondence, arranged chronologically and spanning the years 1956-2015, includes emails, faxes, and letters sent to and from Crain, along with undated, hand written interoffice notes. This correspondence is generally unrelated to business matters.

Company files include meeting minutes, publications, and correspondence related to Crain Communications, Incorporated; Lee Enterprises; and Turnstile Publishing Company (now Turnstile Media Group). The Turnstile files include correspondence specific to that company and its operating segments.

Interviews and speeches include transcripts of interviews conducted by Crain, usually upon the occasion of the interviewee’s induction into the American Advertising Hall of Fame. Also included are texts of speeches given by Crain and by others at conferences he attended.

Publications make up the largest section of the papers, and include the columns written by Crain through his position as editor-in-chief of Advertising Age and or in Crain’s Chicago Business. The columns include multiple versions of the publication. Several folders of Crain’s undated notes are included in this section. Some of the notes clearly relate to columns that were published, while the purpose of others is uncertain. There is also a box of oversized Crain publications.


  • 1956-2015


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


13.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



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.


The papers of Rance Crain are organized in six categories: biographical materials (arranged alphabetically by folder caption); education (arranged alphabetically by folder caption); correspondence (general correspondence and interoffice correspondence, each arranged chronologically); company files (organized by company and/or publication title, and date); speech texts (arranged by date); papers; interviews; and Crain Communications, Incorporated, publications (arranged by date); subject files (arranged alphabetically); column/personal notes.

Method of Acquisition

Rance Crain donated his papers to the University Archives as accession #15-69 in February, 2015.

Separated Materials

Three boxes of artifacts (listed below) are included with the papers. Photographs were removed to the University Archives photo collection, and Crain’s diploma jacket from Northwestern University was removed to the Archives diploma collection.

Artifacts- Biographical Movie DVD, Golfweek 25th Anniversary Golf Accessories, GolfweekTV DVD, Motorola Cellphone, Nokia Cellphone, RadioShack Microcassette Recorder, SanDisk Cruzer U Flash Drive, Sony Microcassette Recorder, Sony Microcassettes (2)

Artifacts- Bag (Tan, soft-sided, with American Advertising Federation label), Briefcase (Black, soft-sided, with Crain Communications nametag attached), Briefcase (Blue, soft-sided, with silver Comedy Central nametag and black The AdAge Group nametag attached), Briefcase (Brown, hard-sided, no attachments), Briefcase (Brown, soft-sided, no attachments), Briefcase (Red, soft-sided, with Worldwide Advertising Forum, Moscow 2007 label), Folio (Rance Crain, Britannica), Folio (World Communication Summit 1991, Rolex)

Processing Information

Kammer Strachan

Guide to the Rance E. Crain Papers
Kammer Strachan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US