Photo Friday: Model Club

Gregg and Model Class

Cranbrook School’s Model Club, March 1952. From left: Faculty Advisor Richard Gregg, David Higbie, Don Young, David Morris, President Richard Gielow, Adams McHenry, Don Hart, Pete Dawkins, Dahmen Brown, and Jerry Phillips. Harvy Croze, photographer. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

This week’s Photo Friday shows the Cranbrook Model Club of 1952—a well-dressed group of Cranbrook School boys and their faculty advisor, Richard Gregg, who met to further their interest and skills at model making. Models, of course, interested Cranbrook’s founder George Booth and are integral to the architectural design process, so its fitting that Cranbrook School had a Model Club.

Model making as a middle-class hobby boomed after World War II, when boys and their fathers were encouraged to take up productive and wholesome pursuits in their leisure time. The broad affordability and availability of plastic model kits meant hobbyists didn’t have to have special tools or carving skills to produce a model—anyone could assemble a kit! Looking closely at the photograph of the Model Club (you can zoom in on the photo here), I believe these are airplanes assembled from such kits.

Gregg with Students cropped.JPG

Cranbrook School art class with instructor Richard “Dick” Gregg sculpting a bust, 1952. Harvy Croze, photographer. Courtesy of Cranbrook Archives.

The model club’s advisor was Richard Gregg, a 1951 Academy of Art graduate. Born in Kalamazoo, Gregg studied sculpture at the Academy. While a student, he worked on various sets for productions by St. Dunstan’s Theater. Following his studies, he taught art at Cranbrook School for Boys during the 1951-1952 school year. After he left Cranbrook, his love of art and art education continued; Gregg went on to work in museums as a design instructor, a curator, and a director at various places across the Midwest and East Coast.

I don’t know that much about the Cranbrook Model Club, but on this hot, blue-skied Friday, I thought it was a nice moment for a photo of something as leisurely and enjoyable as model airplanes!

– Kevin Adkisson, Collections Fellow, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research

Photo Friday: Feasting Together

The Center hopes you and your loved ones had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and that you were able to have a great meal together like these Cranbrook students back in 1935!


Cranbrook School for Boys Dining Hall. Photographer, Dick G. Askew, June 1935.

Kevin Adkisson, Collections Fellow

Photo Friday: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

In October 2014, archivist Cheri Gay, wrote a blog on the pet cemetery at Thornlea Studio and the love the Booth family had for their animals.

In the blog, Cheri states, “When Henry was growing up, the Booth family had beagles, Prince and Mike, and a great dane, Ginger. Mike, according to Henry, ‘… loved having a fuss made over him, one time going so far as being pushed around in a doll carriage while wearing a canvas hat.’ Oh to have a photograph of that!”

On this Photo Friday, the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink is proud to present:

Mike the beagle, being pushed in a doll stroller... wearing a canvas hat!

Mike the beagle, being pushed around in a doll carriage… while wearing a canvas hat!

Leslie S. Mio, Assistant Registrar

Photo Friday: Keeping Cool

The temps have been high this July! We hope you are keeping cool. The smiling faces in today’s Photo Friday are from the 1953 session of the Kingswood-Cranbrook Summer Day Camp. The program was a precursor to the summer camps offered today on the Brookside, Kingswood, and Cranbrook school campuses.

The first summer “camp” at Cranbrook was a war-inspired program for girls ages 14 and older– the Summer Institute of Kingswood-Cranbrook School. The curriculum provided courses that were helpful to the war effort. The Summer Institute of Kingswood-Cranbrook School continued through 1944 when it evolved into the Kingswood Summer Day Camp. In 1947, Cranbrook initiated the Cranbrook Summer Institute, offering “programs and recreation for the entire family.” Summer Institute provided courses in weaving, ceramics, lapidary techniques, music, theatre — and of course, the opportunity to cool off in Lake Jonah!

Children sitting on the rocks at Lake Jonah/Jonah Pools. Harvey Croze, photographer, Jul 1953.

Children sitting on the rocks at Lake Jonah. Harvey Croze, photographer, Jul 1953.

Gina Tecos, Archivist

Photo Friday: “Things Architectural”

In November 1932, Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Executive Secretary, Richard Raseman, invited architects from the Detroit area to come to Cranbrook for “dinner and discussion of things Architectural.” The following Cranbrook School news article describes the evening.



“Architects Gather Here for Forum,” The Crane, 20 Dec 1932

In addition to Raseman, Eliel Saarinen, Albert Kahn, and Emil Lorch, attendees included former Kahn associate Ernest Wilby and Ralph Hammett.

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist




Photo Monday: Oops!

Photo Friday ran away with us last week, so here it is Monday already. Today’s post is about Camp Brady on Green Lake, Independence Township, Michigan. You are probably wondering how this camp relates to Cranbrook? The photo below shows a group photo of Cranbrook School boys, taken at Camp Brady in the winter 1930.

Cranbrook School boys at Camp Brady, Feb 1930. W. Bryant Tyrrell, photographer. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives.

Cranbrook School boys at Camp Brady, Feb 1930. W. Bryant Tyrrell, photographer. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives.

Camp Brady was established in 1921 in honor of George Nexsen Brady (1837-1920). Brady, born and raised in Detroit, became a businessman and philanthropist always interested in the welfare of children. He was a big supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and allowed the Detroit chapter to use his forty-acre parcel on Green Lake as a summer camp. After he passed away (and donated his land to the Scouts), it was known as Camp Brady until it was sold in 1946.

What does Brady have to do with Cranbrook? After he retired, Brady moved to Bloomfield Hills and was a member of the Bloomfield Hills Country Club. He purchased 45 acres along Cranbrook Road, across the street from Cranbrook. Thornlea Studio (the old archives building) is located on his property, on what is known as Brady Lane!

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

Photo Friday: Opening Doors

Today, while up in storage at Cranbrook House, we rediscovered the Master Key for Cranbrook School For Boys, given to George G. Booth in 1927. The locks have changed, after almost 90 years, but it is still fun to see and think about.

Cranbrook Schools original master key.

Cranbrook School original master key.

Bart Simpson: What’s that weird key for?
Ralph Wiggum: That’s Daddy’s magic key. It opens every door in town.
Bart Simpson: The police master key? Oh, Ralph. Do you realize what we can do with…

Like Bart Simpson in This Little Wiggy, what would you do with the Master Key to the Cranbrook Schools? I think I’d eat all the cookies in the dining hall . . .

Leslie Mio, Assistant Registrar

Photo Friday: Posters Tell a Story

The Cranbrook Archives exhibition, Designs of the Times: 100 Years of Posters at Cranbrook, opens this weekend. The exhibition documents events and performances that have enhanced and enriched the Cranbrook community for more than a century. The image below is just one of many that will be on display through March 20th, 2016.


Performing Arts poster, 1955

This poster, signed “M.W.” was  designed by Michael Justin Wentworth (Cranbrook School ’56). In addition to designing posters, Wentworth was the art editor for both the Brook and the Crane, and designed the sets for the Ergasterion productions and the scenery for the bi-annual Operettas. He received his MA and MFA from University of Michigan, and his PhD from Harvard where he wrote his dissertation on the artist James Tissot, a lifelong interest.

The posters in the exhibition represent all areas of campus – we hope you come check it out!

Gina Tecos, Archivist

Early Bicycle Sled?

Courtesy Cranbrook Archives

Courtesy Cranbrook Archives

This gentleman caught my eye as a colleague was browsing through a George G. Booth (GGB) scrapbook containing clippings of illustrations from magazines. The scrapbook was GGB’s “Dream Book” of art and architecture examples on which to model his new home at Cranbrook, and is part of his papers.

Amidst illustrations of terraces, statues and waterfalls was this Alpine dandy. Why is his picture there, and what is that contraption he’s sitting on? A search on the Internet revealed no information on this early 20th century, bladed “vehicle” for seated conveyance. If anyone out there knows more about it, I’d be delighted to know!

–Cheri Gay, Archivist

Good news! One of the Archives’ volunteers, Lois Harsh, spent a cold afternoon diligently searching the Internet and found this web site, that identifies several versions of the ski bike. This particular version is from around 1914. Thanks, Lois!


Photo Friday: The Art of Richard Thomas

While researching an archival query this past week I discovered yet more hidden gems in our collection—the work of metalsmith Richard Thomas (1917-1988). Thomas held several positions at Cranbrook, including Head of the Metalsmithing Department, Dean of Students, Registrar, and Administrative Assistant to the President. The Archives has a small collection which documents many of Thomas’ private commissions.

One of the key works he created for Cranbrook was the Ceremonial Mace (1978) at the request of the Cranbrook Educational Community. Traditionally, the Christian processional cross had been carried at Cranbrook and Kingswood Upper School graduation ceremonies, but by the 1970s, upper school students objected to the fact that the cross did not accurately reflect the religious beliefs of the diverse student body. In 1973 and 1974, Kingswood head, Wilfred Hemmer, moved the cross from the front of the processional to the rear, then in 1975 agreed to remove it from the ceremony altogether.

Cranbrook Mace

Photo courtesy Cranbrook Art Museum.

After Hemmer’s resignation in early 1976, acting head Christopher Corkery reinstated the processional cross and a student protest ensued. Letters to the editor were written to both upper school newspapers and four Kingswood seniors refused to attend the Kingswood commencement. By May, ten percent of the student body threatened to boycott the ceremony.

Thomas’ design of the Cranbrook Mace incorporates symbols of four major religions: the Christian cross, the Star of David, the Crescent of Islam, and the symbol of Yin and Yang which represents the Eastern philosophies of China, Japan, India and Indonesia. The seals of the Cranbrook institutions are also a part of the design of the mace, which is made of rosewood, ivory, steel, sterling silver and gold.  The Cranbrook Mace is still used in graduation ceremonies to this day.

Richard Thomas sketch

Sketch from the Richard Thomas Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

In 1981, Thomas was awarded the Cranbrook’s Founders Medal. His design and fabrication of liturgical objects can be seen in more than ninety churches, synagogues, and temples across the country. He designed the Cranbrook Foundation’s silver punch bowl, the Saarinen Medal, and the commemorative medal for the Academy of Art’s fiftieth anniversary.

Gina Tecos, Archivist and Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

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