Friday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cosmos Club
Purchase your tables or tickets below.
Seating is limited!
If you would like to pay for your table or tickets by check, ACH or wire, please contact Bruce Teeter.
Marking the history of US-Czech relations
ICWA founder Charles Crane invited the philosophy professor Tomas Masaryk—the future first president of independent Czechoslovakia—to the United States in 1902 to give a series of lectures at the University of Chicago. The two men would go on to develop a personal relationship that would serve as an important link between their two countries.
The United States provided instrumental support for the creation of an independent Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke apart following World War I. The new Czechoslovakia became one of Europe’s first successful multi-party parliamentary democracies, prospering until Nazi Germany invaded in 1938.
Today, transatlantic relations are again at the center of US foreign policy, with Western countries renewing their alliances. The Czech Republic and Central Europe is playing an important role on Ukraine, disinformation, illiberalism, and other issues at another time of historic change on the continent.
Please join us on Friday, May 20, to discuss current events and mark the friendship between Masaryk and Crane together with the Czech Embassy. We’ll hold a mid-day panel discussion at the Czech Embassy on Central European countries’ role in the fight for democracy on the Continent, and a dinner at the Cosmos Club.
Crane and Czechoslovakia
Before he founded ICWA in 1925, Charles Crane was already deeply involved in world affairs. The philanthropist, diplomat and friend and adviser to President Woodrow Wilson served in multiple roles in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere.
His family connection to Czechoslovakia deepened when Masaryk’s son Jan married Crane’s daughter Frances Crane Leatherbee in 1924. Crane also became a strong supporter of Czechoslovak culture. He financed the painter Alphonse Mucha’s Slavonic Epic, a collection of paintings portraying the history of the Slavic people. Mucha expressed his gratitude by incorporating his portrait of Crane’s daughter, Josephine Crane Bradley, as Slavia in his design for the first Czechoslovak 100 koruna banknote. Crane had commissioned the portrait ten years earlier to decorate a house he was building for Josephine.
When an American mission was sent to the new Czechoslovakia, Crane’s son Richard Teller Crane II was the first diplomat to be accredited there.
Czech President Milos Zeman posthumously awarded Crane the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk in 2017 to honor his contributions to creating an independent nation.
Portrait: Josephine Crane Bradley as Slavia, Alphonse Mucha (1908), National Gallery in Prague