This collection has two main components: Ben Baldwin’s correspondence, written almost exclusively to Harry Weese, and work for his book, An Autobiography in Design. All the stages of authorship, from proposal to finished product are represented, including efforts made by his niece Shirley Young Weese to see the book to publication.
Series I: Personal (1938-2000) contains letters by Ben Baldwin to Harry Weese, chiefly from 1939-1940, just after they left Cranbrook. They reflect some of Baldwin’s insecurity about his architectural ability and his deep feelings and to some extent, dependency on, Weese. There are also numerous letters by others to Harry (who became his brother-in-law), including Marianne Strengell, Ralph Rapson, Lily Swann and Wallace Mitchell, that reflect the camaraderie, exchange of ideas, and yearning between a cadre of friends formed at Cranbrook.
Series II: Professional (1941-1992) is chiefly a small amount of correspondence, and magazine articles on his interior design work and the renovation of his many homes. It also includes some drawings for fabric and china designs.
Series III: An Autobiography in Design (1967-1995) contains the manuscript for his book, in all its various stages, along with related correspondence to publishers and photographers. The manuscript versions are, for the most part, undated. Box 8 contains envelopes of images used in the book. They include transparencies, prints and slides. There are also 3.5 floppy disks with book-related information.
Series IV: Photographs (1913-1991) has a family photo album that begins with photos of Baldwin as a small child, and continues up until 1957. There is a box of largely black and white images of his work, friends and homes, plus a few slides and negatives. There are also photographs in Series V, Oversize.
Series V: Oversize (1925-1973) contains photographs, drawings and a poster.
- Other: 1940
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
From the Collection: 5.5 Linear Feet (8 MS, 1 SB, 2 OS)
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository