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

Jessie T. Winter and the Kindergarten Movement

Many people may not be aware that Brookside School Cranbrook was on the “cutting edge” when it opened in 1922, and it was all thanks to the first and longest serving headmistress of Brookside, Ms. Jessie T. Winter.

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View of Jessie T. Winter in front of the Crane, 1922. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

 

In 1913, Miss Winter attended the National Kindergarten and Elementary College in Evanston, Illinois, graduating in 1915.  National Kindergarten and Elementary College trained women as kindergarten teachers, a radical concept that had taken hold in America in the late 19th Century.

Before coming to Michigan, Miss Winter was the director of a number of new schools.  After graduation, Miss Winter became director of a newly established Kindergarten-Primary school in Urbana, Illinois, where she worked until 1918.  Miss Winter then served as director of National Kindergarten and Elementary College’s Practice Kindergarten.  From 1920-1922, she was Director of the National Kindergarten and Elementary College’s Demonstration Kindergarten (now the Baker Demonstration School).  A demonstration school is an elementary or secondary school operated, in association with a university, college, for the training of future teachers.

In 1922, Miss Winter was hired by George and Ellen Booth to serve as headmistress of the Bloomfield Hills School (later renamed Brookside School Cranbrook), which opened with a class of seven children in September of that year. The Booths had acquired not only a well-educated headmistress, but also a woman who knew how to organize a school, train teachers, and adhered to an educational philosophy that mirrored the Booths’ Arts & Crafts sensibilities.

It is amazing to think that, before the kindergarten movement, play was considered a waste of time in an educational setting.

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Brookside children playing with school costumes, 1936. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

 

With this new philosophy, children developed fine motor skills by such activities as cutting, stringing beads, sewing on cardboard and playing with clay. They sang songs, listened to stories, and developed social skills by playing with one another.

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Students making valentines with art teacher Murray Douglas, 1944. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

 

Back in 1922, and continuing on through today, the students at Brookside of course learn reading, writing, math, science, geography, and spelling; but Brookside students are also encouraged to explore creative outlets like painting, printmaking, weaving, pottery, poetry, and language.

Miss Winter served as Headmistress at Brookside until her retirement in June 1961.

-Leslie S. Mio, Assistant Registrar

Putting on a Holiday Scene

Every year, the Center for Collections and Research decorates George G. Booth’s Office for the Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary’s Holiday Splendor event. This year, we were inspired by the Booth children and grandchildren.

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Some of the Booth grandchildren put on a play at George and Ellen Booth’s 50th wedding anniversary, 1937. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

All children enjoy playing “dress-up” – whether in a costume or in the clothes of a family member. For George and Ellen Booth’s family, especially their youngest children Florence (“Smike”) and Henry (“Thistle”), any occasion was an excuse to dress-up – a family picnic, a visit from family or friends, the arrival of a new boat for Glastonbury Lake.

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Marjorie Booth wearing her grandmother Ellen Scripps Booth’s wedding dress, on the occasion of George and Ellen’s 50th wedding anniversary, 1937. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives

For this year’s holiday installation, we imagined the Booth grandchildren playing dress-up with clothes from their grandparent’s closet—their grandmother’s dresses and hats, costumes from performances at the Greek Theater, and other items stored in the vast closets here at Cranbrook House. Perhaps they’re putting on a play, as they did for their grandparents’ anniversary in 1937, or maybe they’re simply celebrating and having fun, as Smike and Thistle were so fond of doing in their youth.

Accompanying the five outfits, the Center decorated a small tree and the mantle with iridescent, green, and silver ornaments, drawing out the colors of Florence Booth’s green dress and a beautiful Rene Lalique (1860-1945) glass vase (before 1930) we’ve set out on the desk. In the center of the mantle we’ve displayed Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth’s Nativity (mid-20th century), sculpted by Clivia Calder Morrison (1909-2010). A Michigan native, Calder Morrison studied at the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts with Samuel Cashwan and later at the Art Students League in New York, and this small crèche featuring the three Magi with gifts, Mary holding Jesus, and Joseph was kept in the oratory at Thornlea. Oh, and the Santa bag and hat on display were part of Henry’s costume he donned for Christmas parties here at the House!

Our display will be up through the New Year.  If you are in Cranbrook House for the Center’s piano/violin concert & book launch, Carl Milles’s Muse: Ludwig van Beethoven on December 11, or a Holiday Tea, Luncheon, or just for a meeting, please stop by and visit.

-Kevin Adkisson, Center Collections Fellow; Leslie S. Mio, Assistant Registrar

Photo Friday: Viva Mexico!

With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching, we are thinking about Mexico. George and Ellen Booth visited Mexico for two months in 1939. The image below was taken by their travel companion, Nellie Beveridge. The Booths traveled by rail and visited Chichen-Itza,Vera Cruz, Merida, and the ruins of Uxmal.

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Temple of Quetzalcoatl, 1939. George Gough Booth Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

Photo Friday: Twisted Sister

In the summer of 1911, the Booth clan left Cranbrook, headed for a European vacation.  The family traveled via New York, where they boarded the RMS Olympic, part of the White Star Line and sister ship to the Titanic. Designed as a luxury ship, many of the features on the Olympic were identical to the more famous Titanic The Olympic had its maiden voyage on June 14, 1911, arriving in New York on June 21, 1911.  The captain of its first voyage was none other than Edward Smith, who would lose his life aboard the Titanic one year later.  The ship’s return trip to England left June 28, 1911, carrying the Booths.  Another famous passenger on board was ship designer Thomas Andrews, who would also later perish on Titanic.

RMS Olympic

The RMS Olympic arrives in Southampton on July 5, 1911. Cranbrook Archives

In April of 1912, the Olympic was one of the ships that received the distress call from Titanic, but it was too far to help in the rescue.  The Olympic offered to take on survivors, but was turned down, as it was thought that passengers would panic at having to board a ship that was a mirror-image to the Titanic.

After the Titanic disaster, the Olympic had to be refitted, as it, too, did not carry enough life boats for all the passengers.

~Robbie Terman, Archivist

Photo Friday: A Quiet Force

She was petite and reserved, the constant helpmate of her husband George Booth, but Ellen Scripps Booth (1863-1948) was a powerhouse in her own right. It was Ellen who insisted that a girl’s school be built so that her granddaughters could get a good education. In January 1928, Ellen gifted $200,000 to the Cranbrook Foundation for the building of Kingswood School for Girls. She would later contribute more to ensure the project reached completion.

Known for her modesty, strong religious values, and devotion to her family, Ellen was a steadfast force in the Cranbrook community, and beyond.

~Robbie Terman, archivist

Ellen Scripps Booth, c.1914. Cranbrook Archives

Ellen Scripps Booth, c.1914. Cranbrook Archives

Photo Friday: Maija and Nelly

Maija Grotell and Nelly Beveridge at work on the base of a fountain, 1940.

Maija Grotell and Nelly Beveridge at work on the base of a fountain, 1940. Richard P. Raseman, Historical Photograph Collection, Cranbrook Archives.

Finnish-born ceramicist Maija Grotell served as the head of the Ceramics Department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1938 to 1966.  Here, she works on the base of a fountain with student Nelly Beveridge.  Beveridge played many roles on campus, serving as a companion and nurse to George and Ellen Booth in their later years even as she completed her studies at the Academy.

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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