R. Percy Crandall, 1866 - 1938

by Brian Stevenson
last updated October, 2020

Rand Percy Crandall, a physician in the U.S. Navy, was an enthusiastic amateur microscopist during the 1890s. He joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1890, and the American Microscopical Society in 1891. He resigned from the AMS during 1897, suggesting that his time as an active microscopist may also have ended that year. All of his known microscope slides are dry-mounts of foraminifera and other oceanic objects (Figure 1). As a naval officer, he sailed throughout the world, and may have collected all of these specimens himself.

Figure 1. Microscope slides by R. Percy Crandall. Two are dated 1893, at which time, Crandall was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He is known to have been an active microscopist between 1890 and 1897. All of the slides are made of opaque white glass. The specimen-holders are a molded plastic-like material.


Figure 2. R. Percy Crandall, when serving as surgeon on the battleship U.S.S. Iowa, circa 1898.


Rand Percy Crandall was born in New York City on January 21, 1866. His parents, Henry and Margaret Crandall originally hailed from Nova Scotia, Canada. The 1875 census of New York recorded Henry Crandall as being a “shipping merchant”. Percy was the eldest of at least four children.

Crandall graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with his M.D. degree in 1887. He appears to have immediately entered the U.S. Navy. He was promoted from Assistant Surgeon to Surgeon in 1899.

In December, 1888, Crandall sailed as Assistant Surgeon aboard the U.S.S. Galena on a military expedition to Haiti. He evidently stayed on that island for some time, as he wrote a medical paper on “phthisis in Haiti” in 1890 (“Phthisis” is pulmonary tuberculosis).

In 1890, Crandall joined The American Association for the Advancement of Science. The next year, he joined The American Microscopical Society. He was then based at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. During 1894, he was reassigned, and listed his postal address as the Navy Pay Office of San Francisco, California. He spent over a year, probably including much of 1894, in Hawaii.

Crandall was also an avid bicyclist. A member of The Brooklyn Bicycle Club, Crandall reported that he rode over 2600 miles between April and September, 1896. He appears to have taken his bicycle with him aboard ship, as he wrote of biking abroad. In 1895, he described the excellent roads of Hawaii, stating that “in several hundred miles of wheeling never came across an unridable road”.

As would be expected of a naval officer, Crandall moved frequently and served aboard numerous ships. In 1898 he was on U.S.S. Iowa. In 1901, he served aboard the U.S.T.S. Constellation at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island. He sailed on the U.S.S. Oregon and U.S.S. New Orleans between 1904-08, visiting the Philippines and Australia. In 1913, he was assigned command of the Naval Hospital in Canacao, Philippines. In 1919, by then promoted to the rank of Captain, was appointed head of the Medical Supply Depot in Brooklyn, New York.

Crandall died on December 8, 1938, in Brooklyn. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



The Amateur Athlete (1896) “The mileage of the members of the Brooklyn Bicycle Club from April 1, but not including September, is as follows: … R. Percy Crandall, 2,631”, Vol. 2, page 12

American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record (1919) “Captain R.P. Crandall, who is at the head of the Medical Supply Depot in Brooklyn, is a surgeon and brought to the work of the depot a broad and varied experience in the service. But he has been generous in acknowledging the good work done by the pharmacists on his staff both in planning the depot and in its operation, for the building now occupied by the depot was erected in accordance with plans and specifications drawn up by architects working under the direction of Captain Crandall and his staff. Every detail of the construction and arrangement of the depot has been completed in accordance with those plans and the efficiency and despatch with which the work of the depot was performed is the best evidence that those plans were wisely drawn.”, Vol. 67, page 22

Army and Navy Register (1904) High jinks on the Oregon, Vol. 36, November 5 issue, pages 28 and 30

Army and Navy Register (1904) “Surgeon R.P. Crandall, detached from the Oregon and ordered to the New Orleans”, Vol. 36, November 26 issue, page 24

Catalogue of the University of Pennsylvania (1887) Degrees, page 174

Crandall, R. Percy (1890) Phthisis in Hayti, Medical Record, Vol. 37, pages 40-41

Crandall, R. Percy (1891) Clinical notes on five cases of beri-beri, Medical Record, Vol. 40, page 452

Crandall, R. Percy (1895) Road work by convicts in Hawaii, The L.A.W. Bulletin and Good Roads, Vol. 22, page 23

Crandall, R. Percy (1897) Venereal disease in the Navy and its prevention, Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Vol. 7, pages 194-204

Crandall, R. Percy, and Angwin, W.A. (1921) Plan of organization for a naval hospital of 300 beds and over, as utilized at Great Lakes, Illinois, 1920, United States Naval Medical Bulletin, Vol. 15, pages 316-346

Harper’s Weekly (1888) The expedition to Hayti, Vol. 32, page 983

Journal of the American Medical Association (1900) “Surgeon R.P. Crandall, commissioned surgeon from Sept. 24, 1899”, Vol. 34, page 767

Journal of the American Medical Association (1901) “Surgeon R. P. Crandall, detached from the U. S. T. S. Constellation, upon reporting of relief, ordered to temporary duty in connection with recruiting at Milwaukee, Wis., and then home to wait orders”, Vol. 36, page 222

The New England Journal of Medicine (1913) “July 23, R.P. Crandall, medical inspector. Detached from Norfolk Receiving Ship, and ordered to command Naval Hospital, Canacao, P.I.”, Vol. 169, page 220

Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1892) Members, “Crandall, R. Percy, Ass’t Surgeon USN, U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y.”, page xiv

Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society (1892) Members, “Crandall, Rand Percy, M.D., ’91, U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y.”, page 170

Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society (1894) Members, “Crandall, Rand Percy, M.D., ’91, U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y.”, page 251

Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society (1895) Members, “Crandall, Rand Percy, M.D., ’91, Navy Pay Office, San Francisco, Cal.

Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society (1897) Members, “Crandall, Rand Percy, M.D., ’91, Navy Pay Office, San Francisco, Cal.”, page 407

Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society (1898) Members, Crandall not listed

U.S. census and other records, accessed through ancestry.com

Williams, Graeme H. (2013) A Social-Cultural Reading: the Melbourne Savage Club Through its Collections, Master of Arts Thesis, Deakin University, “The Minute book of the MSC of 14th August 1908 (Special Committee Meeting) records a letter saying that Admiral Sperring had accepted the Club’s invitation for twenty officers of the American Fleet (‘The Great White Fleet’) to attend the Club’s concert on 3rd September 1908. A further minute, of the meeting of 16th September 1908, records a ‘Chinese dog’ donated by Cptn. R. Percy Crandale of United States Navy, presuming that it had been gifted by the medical officer of the Georgia who had been present at the dinner. (MSC Archives). It is assumed that reference in the minutes to Admiral Speering, actually refers to Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperring, commander of the Fleet, First Squadron, and First Division and that reference to Captain R. Percy Crandale actually refers to Fleet Surgeon, Dr. R. Percy Crandall.