Richard Teller Crane, II was born on August 12, 1882 in Denver, Colorado, the son of Charles R. Crane and Cornelia W. Smith. His grandfather was Richard Teller Crane, who founded the Crane Company of Chicago in 1855. Although his father, Charles Crane, had been formally educated to the age of fourteen, he became one of the most cultured men of his generation. He is most known publicly for the Crane-King report which he co-authored and for his years as American ambassador to China (1920-1922). Richard Crane attended Lawrenceville Preparatory School and received his A.B. degree from Harvard in 1904. In July, 1915 after an unsuccessful bid for congress, he was offered a position as private secretary to the Secretary of State, Robert Lansing. In April, 1919, Richard Crane was appointed by Woodrow Wilson as the first American ambassador to Czechoslovakia. For the next two years he was stationed in Prague, at a time when the new republic was just forming. Crane had previously known Thomas S. Masaryk, the president of Czechoslovakia, when he held the chair of Slavic Studies at the University of Chicago. The chair had been founded by Charles Crane. A letter from Masaryk during his trip to the U.S. in 1918 is in the collection. Crane's term as ambassador ended in 1921.