A native of Kentucky and an MBA graduate of that state’s Centre College, Gustavus Dedman (G.D.) Crain Jr. spent his life enveloped in the news business. As a young boy he sold newspapers and at age 19, he joined the Louisville Herald newspaper. Two years later, he was made city editor and then sports editor.
Subsequently, he organized a business news service that produced news and features for nearly 100 business publications. Crain served as head of the firm from its inception until 1916, when he founded Hospital Management and Business Marketing.
Later in 1916 Crain moved his publishing headquarters to Chicago, Ill., and in 1930, he began Advertising Age. His idea for fast, effective news coverage in the general advertising and marketing field survived the depression, and Advertising Age moved steadily onward until it became one of the world’s premier business papers. For some 35 years, Crain wrote a column for Advertising Age entitled "Rough Proofs" under the name Copy Cub.
Crain’s other publications included Advertising Requirements, Advertising & Sales Promotion, Advertising Agency, Marketing Insights, Business Insurance, Automotive News, Pensions & Investments, American Laundry Digest, American Drycleaner, American Coin Op and American Clean Car. At various times he served as president, editor and publisher of the company from its inception until 1964, when he became chairman of the board, a post he held until the end of his life.
Crain was an early promoter of circulation audits, editorial independence and high standards for business publications. He was active in the National Association of Industrial Advertisers, the National Conference of Business Paper Editors, American Business Press, Magazine Publishers Association, Chicago Business Publications Association and the Chicago Industrial Advertisers Association.
In 1955 the Chicago Federated Advertising Club presented him with a citation for his contributions to advertising. In 1962 the Chicago Business Publications Association named Crain one of the foremost contributors to business publishing.