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Secretary Correspondence, Cecil A. Billington, 1930 - 1937

 File — Container: Box 2, Folder: 3

Collection Scope

From the Collection:

Series I. Administrative (1927-1973): Included here is correspondence (both outgoing and incoming) from George G. Booth (chairman of the Foundation from 1927-1949), from Executive Directors, Harry S. Booth and Edward Lerchen, and with the Trustees. Also included are the minutes of the meetings of the Trustees, as well as correspondence regarding various members of the Foundation staff, including the Secretary and the educational consultant. Subseries 4: Office Administration has been arranged in five sub-subseries: Organization, Gifts, General Office Files, Legal, and Planning.

Series II. Departments (1925-1980): This series consists of the early areas that the Foundation oversaw, with the exception of the Institutions. These include accounting, building and grounds, maintenance, the Police and Fire departments, Cranbrook Photo (until 1939 when it fell under the Academy of Art), the Cranbrook Homestead, and the Foundation office. Additional departments included Guard and Patrolling Services, Jonah Swimming Pool, Architectural and Building Services, Rental Property and the Greenhouse. The departments generally remained in place until 1943 when the Cranbrook Central Committee was formed as a Division, and several of the departments fell under the supervision of the Committee.

The CAO was a separate department until May 1930 when all bookkeeping was assumed by the Foundation. For ease in use, all CAO records have been included in this series. In some instances, records relating to departments were filed by office staff and remain as topical files.

Series III. Divisions (1919-1981): This series includes several offices/committees that were established at Cranbrook in an attempt to centralize services.

Subseries 1, the Cranbrook Academy of Art (CAA), was formed in 1932 as a division of the Foundation. The records in this subseries relate to all issues pertaining to the Academy until it became a separate trust institution in mid-1942. Some records post-date 1942 as it was more logical to maintain a group of records than separate them by date. By and large, most pre-1942 records have been removed from the CAA Records of the Administration (1998-05) and housed here, with the exception of Academy student announcement catalogs and publications, such as the Academy News. In addition, the Art Collection Purchase records (formerly G88) have been added to this series. On 28 Nov 1927, George Booth donated an art collection to the Foundation and a purchase account was opened. In May 1942, the collection was given to the Academy of Art, however the purchase account remained open to record gifts from the Booths and a few purchases that were subsequently given to the Academy. This subseries consists of eight sub-subseries: Administrative, Financial Records, Art Collection, Correspondence, Evens, Exhibitions, Publications, and Topical.

The second through sixth subseries contain records regarding the various central organizations that were created to support the Cranbrook institutions from 1929 through the early 1970’s. Each organization was developed to address the changing non-academic needs of the institutions it was designed to serve. Outside consulting firms were used on two occasions to analyze the administrative structure of the institutions and to make recommendations for organizational improvements: Cresap, McCormick and Paget in 1960 and Heald, Hobson and Associates in 1969. The findings of the Cresap Report lead to the creation of the Cranbrook Central Services Commission (CCSC) in 1963. This report and all correspondence regarding it are included in the CCSC subseries. The Heald Report was commissioned by the Foundation in 1969 to review the organizational arrangement of Cranbrook’s institutions and eventually lead to the dissolution of the Foundation. The Heald organizational study, related correspondence, and recommendations, are included in the Cranbrook Central Business Office subseries.

1929-1931 Cranbrook Association

1943-1952 Cranbrook Central Committee (Paul Friedrich, Executive Secretary)

1963-1966 Cranbrook Central Service Commission (Arthur Wittliff, General Mgr)

1966-1967 Cranbrook Service Advisory Council

1967-1973 Cranbrook Central Business Office (Ed Lerchen, Executive Director)

Subseries 2. The Cranbrook Association, was short-lived just lasting from Jun 1929 to Oct 1931, and was formed as an advisory organization and counsel to the institutions and the Cranbrook Foundation through the Boards of each institution. The Foundation appointed a Chairman of the Board for the Association.

Subseries 3. Cranbrook Central Committee, was formed in Jul 1943, with an Executive Secretary, Paul Friedrich. The two primary functions of this committee was the supervision of common utilities and maintenance, and public relations for all of Cranbrook. The Cranbrook Central Committee was replaced in 1952 by the Public Relations Department, and in 1960, a Public Relations Advisory Council was formed. (By 1966, the Public Affairs Office replaced the P.R. Department and the Advisory Council, and had its offices in the Academy Administration building, functioning as part of the Central Business Office).

Subseries 4. Cranbrook Central Service Commission was formed in Apr 1963 with Arthur Wittliff as the General Manager. It was organized by the Foundation to perform non-academic functions, and was a semi-autonomous division of the Foundation which kept separate records and books. When the Public Relations Department was formed in 1952, the supervision of maintenance, buildings and grounds, and utilities fell under the auspices of the Foundation. In Jul 1964, the Cranbrook Central Service Commission assumed responsibility for the Fire and Police departments, utilities and the Cranbrook Press.

Subseries 5. Cranbrook Service Advisory Council was established in 1966 to fulfill some of the functions of the Central Service Commission, but only lasted until 1967 when the Cranbrook Business Office was formed.

Subseries 6. The Cranbrook Central Business Office (CCBO). In May 1967, the Foundation Board of Trustees adopted a resolution pertaining to the centralization of non-academic affairs. The Cranbrook Central Business Office was managed by the Executive Director, Ed Lerchen, and had six divisions: Controller, Purchasing and Personnel, Plant Services, Food Service, Public Relations and Educational Services. In addition, the Central Business Office had its own administration which included the central telephone and switchboard services and supervision of swimming on campus. The records in the following five sub-subseries have been arranged topically and chronologically for ease of use. Some records date from prior to the establishment of the CCBO, as noted below.

Sub-subseries A: Educational Services Division encompassed the Central Library (formed in 1964), the Archives (formed in 1966), and an Audio-Visual Center. These were located at Cranbrook House until the Central Library was transferred to Cranbrook School c1972. The Archives truly began as early as 1936 in the basement of Cranbrook House under the supervision of Helen McIlroy.

Sub-sub-series B: Personnel, contains records relating to Foundation employees, salary studies and benefits packages from 1955-1972.

Sub sub-series C: Plant Services-Buildings Maintenance contains records pertaining to skilled trades, and maintenance of the institutions and rental buildings from 1966-1973. Prior to the formation of this office, O.D. “Red” Hillman was in charge of the Building, Maintenance and Construction Departments, while Dominick Vettraino was in charge of the Grounds, Security and Utility Departments.

Sub sub-series D: Plant Services-Grounds Maintenance includes all transportation, security and utilities records. For ease in use, the Cranbrook Police and Fire Department (post 1950) records have been arranged in this series.

Sub sub-series E: Public Affairs, contains the records of all publicity efforts of the Foundation, including publications. For ease of use, all Public Relations records are contained in this subseries, even though the Public Affairs Office was not formed until 1966. The records in this subseries include publicity studies and efforts as early as 1935.

Series IV. Cranbrook Institutions (1926-1972): This series includes six subseries: Brookside School, Christ Church Cranbrook, Cranbrook School, the Institute of Science, Kingswood School and Trust Documents. Trust documents as well as related records for all institutions are included in the Trust Document subseries. Note, a large number of records pertaining to the trust documents were incorporated from the Lerchen Papers.

Series V. Auxiliary Organizations (1942-1972): This series is comprised of a variety of organizations that were supported financially by the Foundation, or used Foundation buildings or grounds for their activities.

Series VI. Events (1935-1972): This series relates to a variety of events that were held under the auspices of the Foundation.

Series VII. Property (1927-1973): This series includes one subseries, Real Estate, which the Foundation owned during its’ 46 year history.

Series VIII. Oversize (undated): This series consists of Cranbrook employee file cards.


  • 1930 - 1937


Access to the collection is unrestricted.


From the Collection: 20.7 Linear Feet (49 MS, 1 OS)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English