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Cranbrook Writers’ Guild Records

 Collection
Identifier: 1995-02

Collection Scope

The records of the Cranbrook Writers' Guild reflect the activities of a small volunteer organization dedicated to the support of Michigan student writers and to the promotion of writing in general. Records document organizational planning, fund raising, publicity, and the programs and conferences sponsored by the Guild

SERIES I: Administrative (1970-2005; n.d.) documents the organization’s beginning, background, membership, meeting minutes and dissolution. Trustees are identified beginning in 1970 and the first membership list is 1984. Board member identification continues through 2005. Meeting minutes give detailed description of the organization’s agendas and planning over its 30-plus year history. SERIES II: Finance (1972-2008) includes budgets and treasurer’s reports, fundraising solicitations and grant appeals, with some complete applications. These records offer insight into the budget of the organization as well as efforts to secure funds within the Cranbrook Educational Community, and from external donors. Financial information pertaining to specific programs, including the annual Writer’s Conference, is organized with those programs. Series III: Correspondence (1971-2007) is general in nature. Communication related to specific events or topics, such as fund solicitation or programs, is kept with that topic. Series IV: Programs (1967-2006) is the largest series of the collection as it was the main function of the CWG. This series documents the annual work of the organization which includes literary programs, publicity, meeting minutes, and correspondence relating to the year's programming. The early files contain some records created by Henry Scripps Booth, including the presentation script of the literary award to Bruce Catton. Later records include files on specific events such as the 1987 evening with Erma Bombeck. One of the most notable programs was the Literary Auction (1990-1993). The records include solicitations from notable authors for donations of autographed books, rare books, original artwork, memorabilia, and goods and services. Tallies for recording auction bids, item descriptions, and sales receipts are included in the documentation. Of note are signed letters from humorist Erma Bombeck, W.D. Snodgrass, Jim Harrison, and Lilian Jackson Braun. Authors on Stage (1994-2004) was another ongoing, successful program which included collaborations with the Birmingham Village Players. The annual Writer’s Conference, the program on which the CWG was founded, was held from 1967 to 2007. These records include invitation lists, correspondence, and published writings by participants from the majority of the conferences. In 1991, the conference broke with Cranbrook and was held in Brighton, Michigan. SERIES V: Publications (1996-2005; n.d.) consists primarily of Guild newsletters.

Dates

  • 1967 - 2008
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 1993

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

The Cranbrook Writers' Guild (CWG) was incorporated in 1970 as a non-profit organization. The major programmatic objective was continuing the four-day Cranbrook Writers' Conference first held in 1967 as a special project of the literature committee of the Michigan State Council for the Arts. Promising student writers from Michigan colleges were sponsored for four days of workshops and seminars led by established professional writers. State appropriations for the writing conference were withdrawn in 1969, motivating the formation of the Cranbrook Writers' Guild to search for alternate conference financing. The Guild, separate in structure from the Cranbrook Educational Community, was comprised of a volunteer Board of Trustees who determined membership qualifications, dues, and privileges, and held regular meetings. Henry Scripps Booth was influential in the early formation of the Guild and served as president of the Board. Ivabell Harlan and Frank Angelo, managing and associate executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, also served as presidents. A conference director was appointed to handle student applications and general conference business. Professional writers participating in the conferences included Joyce Carol Oates, Elmore Leonard, Stuart Dybek, Donald Hall, Robert Hayden, Edward Hirsch, Gary Gildner, Thomas Lynch and Madison Smartt Bell. In 1973 the Cranbrook Writers' Guild drafted guidelines for the presentation of a literary award to honor distinguished Michigan writers. Bruce Catton was the first recipient of this award in 1974. Subsequent awards were given to Theodore Roethke, John Voelker and Elmore Leonard. Fund raising activities to support the writers' conference included the sponsorship of literary programs such as "An Evening with Erma Bombeck" in 1987 and “Authors on Stage,” solicitations for corporate support, and auctions of donated articles, often literary in nature. The Guild was legally dissolved as a non-profit corporation on March 11, 2008. In September 2008 they gave their remaining funds to Springfed Arts, a Michigan non-profit organization, with the stipulation that the funds support “The Cranbrook Writers’ Guild Fiction Chair” at the annual Springfed Writers Retreat.

Extent

3.4 Linear Feet (3 SB, 1 MS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Cranbrook Writers' Guild (CWG) was a non-profit organization that operated between 1970 and 2008. The organization's focus was continuing the four-day Cranbrook Writers' Conference which was a special project of the literature committee of the Michigan State Council for the Arts. The conference sponsored student writers from Michigan colleges and comprised of workshops and seminars led by established professional writers. The materials within the collection cover a range of administrative, financial, programmatic, correspondence, and published materials. These include but are not limited to documents pertaining to the Guild’s history and membership; budget and fundraising records; correspondence pertaining to fund raising and events; documents associated with various programs; meeting minutes; and newsletters. Items to note include Henry Scripps Booth’s presentation script of the literary award to Bruce Catton; as well as materials associated with the Literary Auction, and the Authors on Stage program. Of particular interest may be signed letters from humorist Erma Bombeck, W.D. Snodgrass, Jim Harrison, and Lilian Jackson Braun, and solicitations from notable authors for donations of autographed books, rare books, original artwork, memorabilia, etc.

Arrangement

The records of the Cranbrook Writers' Guild are aranged into five series: Administrative (Box 1), Finances (Boxes 1-2), Correspondence (Box 2), Programs (Boxes 2-4), and Publications (Box 4). The Correspondence and Publications series are arranged chronologically. Within the Publications series there is often considerable overlap between years.

Additional Access

An index to the collection is available.

Acquisition

Gift of the Cranbrook Writers’ Guild.

Transfers

Photographs have been transferred to the Archives Photograph Collection.

Processing History

Original processing by Kendra A. Frost, May 1996. New materials added and collection reprocessed by Cheri Y. Gay, March 2010.
Title
Guide to the Cranbrook Writers’ Guild Records
Status
Completed
Author
Original finding aid written by Kendra A. Frost.
Date
1996-10
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Nichole L. Manlove.

Revision Statements

  • 2010: Collection reprocessed and finding aid revised by Cheri Y. Gay.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository

Contact:
39221 Woodward Ave.
P.O. Box 801
Bloomfield Hills MI 48303 US