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Jack Kausch Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2002-11

Collection Scope

Beginning in 2002, Betsy Kausch made donations of her husband’s photographic collections to various institutions. Photographs and documents relevant to local history were donated to the Birmingham Museum. Photographs relevant to the automotive industry, the churches of Gordon Lloyd, and Michigan in general were donated to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. The collection donated to Cranbrook Archives includes photographs relevant to the Cranbrook Educational Community. SERIES I: Christ Church Cranbrook (CCC) (1961-2000; n.d.):

Subseries 1: Buildings and Grounds includes exterior and interior images as well as documentary photographs of a major restoration undertaken in 1992.

Subseries 2: People contains a significant number of staff images.

Subseries 3: Services.

Subseries 4: Ephemera contains several interesting brochures, cards and programs that add context to the images.

Subseries 5: Slides mimics the Buildings and Grounds, People, and Services subseries in subject matter.

SERIES II: Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB) (1967-1994; n.d.). There are three folders that contain undated images. Most of the images are portraits of individuals or groups. For some years, a roster of the individuals photographed are included. SERIES III: Cranbrook Educational Community (CEC) (1960-1998; n.d.) includes images relevant to the community that do not fit into the other Series. Significant subjects include Booth family members, the Jack Kausch Numbered Series of negatives (1-204), Saarinen House, and Thornlea House and Studio.

Subseries 1: slides. SERIES IV: Cranbrook Schools (CS) (1977-1993) includes images of both the school buildings and people. Other significant subjects include the restoration of Alumni Court in 1984 and the inauguration of Dan Martin as president of the community.

Subseries 1: Slides. SERIES V: General (1967-1989) is inclusive of images and ephemera that are part of this collection but do not relate directly to Cranbrook. Subjects in this series include local history, personal history, General Motors, University of Michigan and the churches of architect Gordon Lloyd. SERIES VI: Oversize (n.d.) is comprised of four boxes, one each for Christ Church Cranbrook, Horizons Upward Bound, Cranbrook Educational Community, and Cranbrook Schools. The contents include prints larger than 8 ½ x 11 and up to 20 x 22, some of which are mounted. SERIES VII: Audio/Visual (1971-2001; n.d.)

Subseries 1: Christ Church Cranbrook contains a range of audio, video and film recordings.

Subseries 2: Cranbrook Schools contains a range of audio, video and film recordings related to the Great Restoration in 1985. SERIES VIII: Realia (n.d.) contains camera equipment that belonged to Jack Kausch. These include a lens and several film holders.


  • 1960 - 2001



Access to the collection is unrestricted.


Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.


John W. (Jack) Kausch was born in New York in 1929. His family moved to Michigan when he was a youth, and Kausch grew up in Detroit and Dearborn. He earned a scholarship to attend Cranbrook School, graduated in 1947, and went on to attend the University of Michigan. The Korean War interrupted Kausch’s studies. He joined the Air National Guard and was sent to a base in New England, where he serviced radar equipment but also handled the base photography lab. When the war ended, the G.I. bill enabled him to return to the University of Michigan. He helped his mother run a construction firm while he attended night school, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1956. He married Betsy Drake in 1957, and the family moved to Birmingham, Michigan. Kausch’s interest in photography began at age eight, when his mother gave him a camera and dark room set. While a student at Cranbrook, he became a photographer for The Crane (student newspaper) and The Brook (yearbook). After graduating from college, he went to work for the Jam Handy Organization in Detroit, helping to produce training films. In 1960, he took a job with General Motors Photographic where he worked for the next 17 years. During this time, he returned to the University of Michigan to earn a master’s in business administration. In 1976, Kausch realized a lifelong dream when he opened his own photographic studio at 1188 S. Woodward in Birmingham, where Betsy joined him as the receptionist. Kausch specialized in family portraits during this time but continued to explore his interest in film documentaries and restoring old photographs. He was considered to be a master of lighting and framing a scene. He retired in 1994. Kausch completed many photographic and recording projects for the communities to which he belonged, including Cranbrook Educational Community, Christ Church Cranbrook, the Birmingham Historical Society, and the Les Cheneaux Historical Society on Les Cheneaux Island in northern Lake Huron. He also photographed the landmark churches of Gordon Lloyd, and produced films about the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the 17-year Cicada, and automotive plant closings. Jack Kausch died on July 29, 2002. He was the posthumous recipient of the 2001-02 Birmingham Bloomfield Cultural Arts Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009, an exhibit about his life and work, Jack Kausch, A Photographer’s Retrospective, was presented by the Birmingham Museum. References: Letter from Betsy Kausch regarding the Jack Kausch: A Photographer’s Retrospective [exhibit], 2009, Birmingham Museum, Birmingham Michigan.


25.4 Linear Feet (10 SB, 4 MS, 9 OS)

Language of Materials



John W. (Jack) Kausch (1929-2002) was a Cranbrook School ('47) and University of Michigan ('56) alum whose keen interest in photography and film led to a lucrative career as a photographer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. His first stint as a photographer for Cranbrook’s student newspaper (The Crane), and yearbook (The Brook) was the launchpad for his 34-year long career. Kausch not only owned a photographic studio in Birmingham, MI, he participated in projects organized by the likes of the Jam Handy Organization, General Motors, Cranbrook Educational Community, Christ Church Cranbrook, and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, just to name a few. Shortly after his death in 2002, Kausch was awarded posthumously with the 2001-02 Birmingham Bloomfield Cultural Arts Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009 the Birmingham Museum presented Jack Kausch, A Photographer’s Retrospective, an exhibit about his life and work. The Kausch collection is comprised largely of photographic elements, including prints, negatives, transparencies, and slides. There are a few groups of ephemera and one group of realia.


The John W. (Jack) Kausch Photographic Collection is arranged in six series:

SERIES I: Christ Church Cranbrook (Boxes 1-7) is divided into five subseries: 1) Buildings and Grounds(Boxes 1-2) 2) People (Boxes 3-4); 3) Services (Box 4), organized by date of service, unless the specific kind of service is identified, such as Christmas or Easter; 4) Ephemera (Box 4); 5) Slides (Boxes 5-7);

SERIES II: Horizons-Upward Bound (Boxes 8-10), arranged in chronological order.

SERIES III: Cranbrook Educational Community (11-13) includes 1 subseries of slides (Box 13)

SERIES IV: Cranbrook Schools (Boxes 14-15) includes 1 subseries of slides (Box 15)

SERIES V: General (Box 16)

SERIES VI: Oversize (Boxes 17-20)

SERIES VII: Audio/Visual (Boxes 21-22)

SERIES VIII:Realia (Box 23)


Gift of Betsy Kausch, 2002 through 2013.

Related Materials

Christ Church Cranbrook Records (1992-01); Cranbrook Archives Photograph Collections; Horizons-Upward Bound Records (1992-15).

Processing History

Processed by Lori Eaton, 2017.


Guide to the Jack Kausch Photograph Collection
Original finding aid written by Lori Eaton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Resource record created by Nichole L. Manlove.

Repository Details

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