Greenwood Graphics

As I’ve mentioned previously on the blog, one of my hobbies is giving tours of Greenwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Michigan. It is the resting place of Marshall M. Fredericks, Buck and Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Elmore Leonard, and Cranbrook Founders George and Ellen Booth (and many members of their family).

GreenwoodGraphics

On a recent drive through Birmingham, I decided to stop and visit our founders. I had always wondered, when I gave tours of the cemetery, why some family members had certain symbols on their markers. After working here at Cranbrook for a couple of years, those symbols now make sense. I captured photos of several of the markers to share with you.

Warren Scripps Booth has a yacht on his marker, but he wasn’t a sailor in World War I – he was in the Field Artillery. It was only by reading his obituary that I learned that his favorite activity was to sail on his yacht when he wanted to get away from it all.WSB

James Scripps Booth was a wonderful artist. His marker features an artist’s pallet with a stylized version of his initials “JSB.”JSB.jpg

Henry Scripps Booth was called “Thistle” since he was a child. It was no surprise a beautiful thistle adorns his marker.HSB.jpg

– Leslie S. Mio, Associate Registrar

Cranbrook Up North

For many of us who grew up in Michigan, going up north during summer vacation was (and still is) something very special – a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city and suburban life and become one with the natural beauty it has to offer. Throughout the 20th century, Cranbrook scientists, artists, architects, students and faculty, as well as members of the Booth family, took advantage of the native woods, white sandy beaches, and waters of Lake Michigan.

Logo for Pinehurst Inn, Indian River, 1940. Cranbrook Archives

Logo for Pinehurst Inn, Indian River, 1940. Cranbrook Archives.

Shelley Selim, Cranbrook Art Museum’s Ralph and Jeanne Graham Assistant Curator, curated the exhibition Designing Summer: Objects of Escape which features Michigan designers and companies who have contributed to summer innovations including tents, boats, and bicycles as well as a summer home designed by Florence Schust Knoll. In response to the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, June 20th, I opted to post a few highlights of Cranbrook’s ongoing relationship with northern Michigan.

Dudley Blakely painting at group site, Bois Blanc Island, 1938. Cranbrook Archives.

Dudley Blakely painting at group site, Bois Blanc Island, 1938. Cranbrook Archives.

As early as 1929, staff and faculty from the Institute of Science traveled north to conduct studies of animal and plant life on the many islands in Lake Michigan – from Bois Blanc to the Manitous. Reports of these research trips were documented in photographs, field notes, and ultimately published in Institute of Science newsletters and bulletins.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Henry Scripps Booth took his family up north for several summers, often vacationing with friends. One of their favorite spots was Good Hart, where they stayed either at The Krude Kraft Lodge or the Old Trail Inn.

Carolyn Farr Booth and Chauncy Bliss on the Fire Tower at Good Hart, ca 1940. Cranbrook Archives.

Carolyn Farr Booth and Chauncy Bliss on the Fire Tower at Good Hart, ca 1940. Cranbrook Archives.

Communities like Cross Village, Harbor Springs, and Glen Arbor have been inspirational for Cranbrook artists and architects for centuries. Former head of architecture, Robert Snyder, designed an A-Frame beach cottage for Wally Mitchell, while architecture student Harry Weese designed a trifecta of summer homes (two for the Weese family) at Glen Arbor. “Shack Tamarack” (named after the tamarack logs used in its construction) was built in 1936 and is still used by Weese descendants today. Harry followed that with “Cottage Two” in 1939, a one story house designed with his brother John, and the Pritchard House which spoke to the modern aesthetic Weese experienced as an architecture student at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Robert F. Swanson and Pipsan Saarinen Swanson spent decades designing commissions up north including the ultra-modern MacDonald Building in Harbor Springs, the L’Arbre Croche Condominium development, and the family’s own summer cottage at Menonaqua (along with son, Bob). Check out Shelley’s blog about Pipsan’s Sol Air furniture which is featured in the Designing Summer exhibition.

While architect Tod Williams (Cranbrook School ‘61) served as project manager for Richard Meier’s Douglas House project also located in Harbor Springs, other Cranbrook-related projects up north include The Munising Design Strategy Matrix – a community design project managed by The Community Design Advisory Program (CDAP). Established in 1987 by Design Michigan, a non-profit, state outreach program housed at Cranbrook Academy of Art, CDAP provided tailored community design and revitalization services to the city of Munising.

And, in 2013, Peter Pless (CAA ‘02) lead a design collaboration between the Human Centered Design Program at Northern Michigan University and the Lloyd Flanders furniture company of Menominee, Michigan.

Thankfully, there is seemingly no end in sight to the inspiration and possibilities of art, architecture, science, and plain old fashioned relaxation one can find up north.

Promotional Literature, Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce, 1941. Cranbrook Archives.

Promotional Literature, Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce, 1941. Cranbrook Archives.

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

A Portrait Comes Home to Cranbrook House

The portrait of Clara Gagnier Booth, mother of Cranbrook founder George Gough Booth, has been mounted in the Oak Room at Cranbrook House. This painting is on long-term loan to Cranbrook from the Saginaw Art Museum, which acquired the painting through a donation from Clara Booth’s grandson, John Lord Booth I.

Perelma_Image

Conservation in-progress, April 2013 by Kenneth B. Katz, Conservation and Museum Services.

After receiving conservation treatment and a new frame, this painting of Clara Booth will accompany that of her husband, Henry Wood Booth, as well as their son George, his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, and Ellen’s father James Edmund Scripps. Financial support from John Lord Booth II affords this opportunity to join the painting of the Booth family matriarch with those of her relatives at Cranbrook House.

The artwork was painted in 1918 by Russian-born artist Ossip Perelma, known particularly for his portraits of men of stature such as President Woodrow Wilson, King Albert I of Belgium, and several Russian and French political officials. Perelma also executed the stately portrait of Henry Wood Booth, currently on view in the Oak Room.

Demure in size and executed with soft and fluid brush strokes, Clara Booth’s portrait contrasts with that of her husband. While Henry is depicted in full length in an outdoor background, his wife is shown only by profile, with just the upper half of her torso included in the composition. The stylistic distinction between Clara’s portrait and that of her husband—and indeed many of Perelma’s other subjects—emphasizes the differing approach Perelma took to depicting a woman.

In the early twentieth century, even women of position, beauty, and culture were often removed from public view after their role as wife and mother was fulfilled, and their youth had faded. This portrait was painted when Clara Booth was 79, and it is notable that Perelma chose not to conceal his subject’s age. Indeed, the portrait is a rare and significant example of art providing legitimacy and prestige to a woman who remained elegant and strong as she reached an age when most women no longer had a public presence or were being immortalized by artists.

Both portraits, Clara Gagnier Booth and Henry Wood Booth, will be available for viewing when Cranbrook House opens for public tours on Sunday June 14th! For more information on the tours check out the Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxillary website.

Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton, Collections Fellow, Center for Collections and Research

A Fond Farewell

Farewell Gretchen

Gretchen in front of the North Gates before they head off to conservation.

As the end of the year approaches, it is with a heavy heart that the Center for Collections and Research is saying a fond farewell to our Associate Registrar Gretchen Sawatzki. After 2 years of working hard at Cranbrook cataloging and restoring cultural properties all over the campus, organizing the restoration of the North Gates, contributing to the blog, maintaining objects, coordinating loans, and much much more, Gretchen will be leaving Michigan. She has taken a position in California and will be driving out west in the new year! We couldn’t be happier for her and her new opportunity but she will be greatly missed here at the Center for Collections and Research, as well as at all over the Cranbrook Campus.

Please feel free to leave comments and well wishes to Gretchen as she begins this new chapter!

Stefanie Kae Dlugosz, Collections Fellow, Center for Collections and Research

Photo Friday: Happy New Year!

Charles Eames, settling in for the evening during a house party thrown by Eero Saarinen, circa 1950. Margueritte Kimball Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

Charles Eames, settling in for the evening during a house party thrown by Eero Saarinen, circa 1950. Margueritte Kimball Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

We don’t think this photo is actually from a New Year’s party, but we like Charles Eames’s approach to socializing at Eero Saarinen’s home—find a cozy corner (preferably blocked by a chair of your own design), and settle in for the night! From all of us here at Cranbrook Kitchen Sink, we hope you’ve enjoyed the December holidays and are getting ready for a lovely New Year’s Eve—with or without a designer curled up in windowsill!

Photo Friday: Stegosaurus Party

Bob and Lee Bowen at the Stegosaurus Party. Steve Kendricks/Cranbrook Archives.

Bob and Lee Bowen at the Stegosaurus Party. Steve Kendricks/Cranbrook Archives.

We post this photo with very little commentary, because what kind of explanation could possibly improve upon the title “stegosaurus party?” So enjoy it as it is!

Welcome to the Kitchen Sink!

A Home Economics classroom from Kingswood School, 1932.  Ironically, there's no kitchen sink in sight.

Home Economics classroom at Kingswood School, 1932. Cranbrook Archives.

Welcome to the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink!  This is our very first post, so please bear with us as we explain what we’re doing here and get all excited.  If we had glitter, we’d be throwing it right now.

The Cranbrook Kitchen Sink is an exciting new undertaking for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.  And what is the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, you might ask?  Well, we’re essentially a department of archivists and historians who focus on all things Cranbrook.  We’re charged with interpreting the history of this unique educational community, from its founding in 1908 as a country estate for George and Ellen Booth to its current incarnation as a 319-acre campus that includes a prestigious private school, a science museum, a graduate art academy and an art museum.  Also three historic houses, legendary gardens, architecture with National Historic Landmark status, a world-class art collection, and an archive so in-depth you could get lost in it for days…. you get the idea.  This is a big place with a lot of history, and we’re here to cover it all.

So what will you find at the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink?  Well, everything but the!  We want the Kitchen Sink to be a place where Cranbrook Center and Archives staff can post about their research, report back on cool and interesting documents or stories we’ve uncovered, and get just a sliver of the amazing material that makes up Cranbrook’s 100+ year history out into the wider world.  We’re here to tell you the stories you  haven’t heard about this strange, incredible place called Cranbrook.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy all things Cranbrook!

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