Photographer Jack Kausch and Cranbrook

In many of the posts we put up on Facebook or on the Kitchen Sink, the credit line “Photographer Jack Kausch” appears. Since he took so many iconic images of Cranbrook’s people and places in the second half of the twentieth century, I’d like to introduce you to Jack Kausch himself.

Jack Kausch at work developing photographs while at Cranbrook School, The Brook 1947. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

John William (Jack) Kausch was born in 1929, in Queens, New York. His family moved to Detroit shortly after he was born. Jack’s interest in photography began at age eight, when his mother gave him a camera and dark room set. He earned a scholarship to attend Cranbrook School for Boys, graduating in 1947. While a student at Cranbrook, he became a photographer for The Crane student newspaper and The Brook yearbook.

Jack Kausch’s Senior entry in The Brook, 1947. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Jack went on to attend the University of Michigan. The Korean War interrupted his studies, and he joined the Air National Guard. Stationed on a base in New England, he serviced radar equipment and handled the base’s photography lab. When the war ended, the G.I. bill enabled him to return to the University of Michigan. He helped his mother run a construction firm while he attended night school, earning a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1956.

In September 1957, Jack married Elizabeth (Betsy) Drake. He then took a job with General Motors Photographic in 1960, where he worked for the next seventeen years. During this time, he returned to the University of Michigan to earn a Master’s in Business Administration. He opened Jack Kausch Photography in 1976 in Birmingham, Michigan. It was around this time he returned to Cranbrook to again take photographs for various Cranbrook publications and events.

Shortly after his death in 2002, Jack was posthumously awarded the 2001-2002 Birmingham Bloomfield Cultural Arts Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009, an exhibit about his life and work, Jack Kausch, A Photographer’s Retrospective, was presented by the Birmingham Museum.

I thought I would share some of my favorite Kausch photographs of Cranbrook’s people and places:

Henry Scripps Booth at work at his desk in Thornlea Studio, 1981. Photographer Jack Kausch. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
The Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB) Red Key, 1976. Red Key consists of a group of senior HUB students who are responsible for representing HUB to visitors. Photographer Jack Kausch. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Computer class at Cranbrook School in 1976. Photographer Jack Kausch. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
A view of the Dining room from the Living room at Saarinen House, 1978. Photographer Jack Kausch. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
The Cranbrook House Front door, circa 1988. This image, along with others, would be used to create the poster, Doors of Cranbrook. Photographer Jack Kausch. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.

Beginning in 2002, Betsy Kausch made donations of her husband’s photographic collections to various institutions. Photographs and documents relevant to local history were donated to the Birmingham Museum. Photographs relevant to the automotive industry, the churches of architect Gordon Lloyd, and Michigan in general were donated to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. The collection donated to Cranbrook Archives includes photographs relevant to the Cranbrook Educational Community.

Leslie S. Mio, Associate Registrar, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research

6 thoughts on “Photographer Jack Kausch and Cranbrook

  1. How nice that you did that piece in his memory. would be nice to see the other two collections. i will click on them later to see if they shown more of his work. Wonderful legacy he left.

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  2. LESLIE,

    A VERY INTERESTING POST!

    HAVING VOLUNTEERED AT ARCHIVES FOR SO MANY YEARS, I PARTICULARLY ENJOYED JACK’S PHOTO SHOWING HENRY’S STUDIO WHEN IT SERVED AS HIS PERSONAL SPACE AND OFFICE.

    I VIEW THE DESIGN AND DECOR AS A VERY APPEALING SPACE FOR HIM TO WORK AT HIS CONSIDERABLE ENDEAVORS.

    I ENJOYED SEEING THIS PARTICULAR PHOTO THAT SHOWS THE STUDIO’S STRONG APPEAL IN ITS ORIGINAL STATE.

    THANKS, LOIS HARSH

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  3. Leslie,

    Jack’s sister Judy was in my K’59 class.
    The entire class was enamored of Jack. He was absolutely drop dead handsome and kind to his little sister’s friends. At Judy’s class parties he helped their Mother entertain us.
    Years later, for many of us in the community, he took family Christmas card photographs.
    He and Betsy were members of CCC; his photos of the stain glass windows, carvings, frescoes, etc. are world class.

    Thank you for another of your engaging stories,

    Karen Street

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  4. When we had a 100th Birthday celebration for my mother, Connie Barton, we asked Jack to be the photographer, of course! We have a wonderful album and a photo of Jack taking his photos in our house!
    Margie Matter

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  5. Mr. Kausch always did the reunions and so many family photographs. He was a main stay in Birmingham. And, a very nice man to everyone.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Get Outlook for Android

    ________________________________

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