During his first trip to Russia in the summer of 1887, while on a train to Nizhnii Novgorod, Charles Crane met Petr Semenov-Tian-Shanskii (fig.1), head of the Imperial Geographic Society and former Secretary of the Committee for the Emancipation of the Russian Serfs. Crane recalled: 'He was entirely natural and cordial in the Russian fashion and after we had talked over a great many things he asked me if I had ever visited a Russian country estate" (Hapgood, David. Charles R. Crane. The Man Who Bet on People, 2000, p. 14). Semenov invited Crane to be his guest at his estate. Crane accepted the generous invitation and spent more than two weeks in the company of the host and his friends, a congenial group of influencial landed gentry with a slightly liberal political outlook. Crane was immediately drawn to this select group of Russian intellectuals. They became his best and most valuable Russian friends and it was through this limited circle of upper class elite that Crane came to admire their country. In his memoirs, Crane fondly recalled their correspondence, and described how he partook in their custom of an annual exchange of greetings on the nineteenth of February in commemoration of Tsar Alexander II's Emancipation Proclamation. He maintained this custom until 1910, and sent a final note to Semenov, who was the last surviving member of the group and Crane's friend of many years. Semenov acknowledged Crane's telegram and died a few weeks later at the age of ninety-three.