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Cranbrook Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2020-03

Collection Scope

Cranbrook Photograph Collection is visual documentation of the people, places, and things that make up Cranbrook Educational Community. It encompasses not only its founding family, led by George G. and Ellen S. Booth, but the many artists, scientists, teachers, students, staff, and visitors that have worked, created, played, and discovered here. Images of its built and natural environment record it's early days as Bloomfield Hills farmland through its many evolutions, including the construction of its iconic institutions by architects Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen. From school classrooms, art studios, homes and gardens, and two museums, photographs also document collections, decorative arts, furnishings, artworks, cultural objects, and more found in building and grounds across the Cranbrook campus.

The collection contains over 500,000 still images on glass, film, and paper. These negatives, prints, and transparencies were primarily produced by staff photographers from 1931-1970, and various program area faculty and staff (Institute of Science, Academy of Art, Art Museum, Schools) in the course of business, or by photographers-for-hire. It is an artificial ongoing collection.

Cranbrook's founding family and all Cranbrook programmatic divisions and affiliations are well-represented, including the Foundation, Academy of Art, Institute of Science, Christ Church, Brookside School, Cranbrook Educational Community, Cranbrook Estate, Cranbrook School, Horizons-Upward Bound, Kingswood School, Middle Schools, Cranbrook Kingswood School, Summer Institute, Summer Theatre, and St. Dunstan's Theater.

While the vast majority of the images pertain specifically to Cranbrook, from its development as a family estate to a center of art, science, and education, there are activities, events, and art and architecture projects outside of Cranbrook contained within the collection. Predominately, these are Booth Family images, including business and recreational activities, as well as works and sites by artists and architects closely affiliated with Cranbrook, such as the Saarinen Family and Carl Milles.

Series I: Prints, 1920s-

Photographic prints on paper, some are access copies made from photographs in the Negatives Series. A substantial amount of the series covers both the Academy of Art and the Institute of Science, though every program area is featured to some extent, as is some of the history and development of the Cranbrook Community.

Subseries 1: Academy of Art contains activities, events, people, places, and faculty and student works. It covers both the Academy and the Art Museum.

Subseries 2: Christ Church Cranbrook contains activites, events, people, and places during the time the Church was formally affiliated with the Cranbrook Foundation.

Subseries 3: Educational Community contains activities, events, people, and places primarily from the time of its inception as the central governing administrative body of Cranbrook in 1973, although earlier campus-wide images may be interspersed.

Subseries 4: Foundation contains activites, events, auxiliary organizations, departments, people, and places from its inception in 1927 to it dissolution in the early 1970s.

Subseries 5: Institute of Science contains activities, events, classes, exhibits, people, places, and research conducted by staff.

Subseries 6: Local History and General Information contain affiliated groups and people, images from local newspapers, many of which were owned by the Booth Family, and related places significant to Cranbrook history.

Subseries 7: Schools contains activities, events, classes, clubs, committees, people, and places at Cranbrook School (for boys), Kingswood School (for girls), Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School, Brookside School, Middle School for Boys, Middle School for Girls, and Vaughn School (Birmingham Public School).

Series II: Negatives, 1860-2000

The negatives comprise the fullest series within the Cranbrook Photograph Collection, encompassing the original output on film, created by staff photographers, faculty, and others. Some negatives correspond to access copies found within the Prints Series. Alpha-numeric numbers in parentheses for each series denote original numbering system established by Cranbrook staff photographers and continued by Cranbrook Archives.

Subseries 1: Academy of Art (AA1-AA3229), 1944-1974. Predominately images by Harvey Croze. Includes activities, events, classes, exhibitions, people, Academy and Museum building and grounds, sports, and faculty and student works.

Subseries 2: Brookside School (B1 - B214B), 1932-1974. Photographers include Harvey Croze, Harold Smart, and George Hance. Images include activites, events, people, school building and grounds, and sports.

Subseries 3: Christ Church Cranbrook (CS1 - CS348), 1944-1974. Photographers include Harvey Croze. Images document activities, events, classes, people, and the Church building and grounds.

Subseries 4: Cranbrook School (CR1 - CR4107), 1944-1976. Photographer is unrecorded, but likely Harvey Croze. Images document activities, events, classes, people, school buildings and grounds, and sports.

Subseries 5: Educational Community (CEC1 - CEC5944), 1830s-2000. Photographers include Harvey Croze, Max Habrecht, Edmund Pratt, Henry Leung, Balthazar Korab, Stephen Farr Booth, Richard Hirneisen, Christina Capetillo, and Paul Erickson, among many others. The broadest and most comprehensive series, it documents all aspects of Cranbrook, its founding family, and associated projects (mainly architectural) outside of Cranbrook. Images include many copy negatives of early photographs (pre-CEC formation) and many images are undated. Covers activities, events, artworks, furniture, classes, schools, people, places, sports, and printed material.

Subseries 6: Estate (E1 - E602), 1889-1994. Documents Cranbrook House and landscape, the Booth family, and some activities held at the house, such as the Cranbrook Masque. Consists mainly of original glass plate negatives from the George Gough Booth family and their film copy negatives, however, not all glass plates had copy negatives made. There are a few original film negatives from later years.

Subseries 7: Foundation (FD1 - FD331 and CC1 - CC297), 1944-1974. Most of the images are by Harvey Croze, with a few attributed to Henry Scripps Booth. Images document the Foundation or early Cranbrook Community (pre-Cranbrook Educational Community) and include activites, events, people, places, and copy negatives of early printed documents.

Subseries 8: Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB1 - HUB21), 1965-1995. Photographers are unrecorded. Images document activites, events, and people.

Subseries 9: Institute of Science (CISB319 - CISB5561, C4 - D81, and ISA-88 - IS844), 1916-1982. Photographers include various CIS staff such as Robert T. Hatt, Luella Schroeder, and Victor H. Cahalane, as well as staff photographers Richard Askew and Harvey Croze. Croze photographs are arranged and described separately, according to the orginal arrangement imposed by the photographer. Documented are activities, events, exhibits (Cranbrook and other museums), people, the Institute building and grounds, and publications. Comprising a large portion of the subseries are images of artifacts, specimens, and field research subjects.

Subseries 10: Kingswood School (KA24 - KA365, K1 - K2697, and Hance K0 - K162), 1932-1974. Early images of the newly built school, many on glass, are by George Hance. The photographer for later images (1944-1974) is not recorded but was likely Harvey Croze. Documented are activites, events, people, the school building and grounds, and sports.

Subseries 11: Numbered (2150 - 7220 and A1 - A394), 1933-1944. Photographers include J.W. Hughes, Richard Askew, Richard Raseman, Joseph Munroe, James Packard and Harvey Croze. Images document the Booth Family and their interests, as well as all areas of Cranbrook, including the Institute of Science, Academy of Art, Art Museum, and Schools.

Subseries 12: Portraits (P Series: contains P11 - P4821), 1944-1970. Photographer was Harvey Croze. Images are formalized portraits of Schools and Academy students and faculty, as well as Cranbrook staff and associated individuals.

Subseries 13: Schools Public Relations (PR1 - PR104), 1993-1995. Photographer is not recorded. Images depict Brookside School, Middle Schools, and Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School activities, events, people, buildings, and sports taken for public relations purposes.

Subseries 14: St. Dunstan's Theater (SD1 - SD19), 1946. Consists soley of images of the play "Blithe Spirit" taken by Harvey Croze.

Subseries 15: Summer Institute (SI1 - SI98), 1946-1964. Depicts activities, events, classes, and people as taken by photographer Harvey Croze.

Subseries 16: Summer Theatre (ST1 - ST417), 1944-1969. Documents activities, events, people, and play productions as taken by photographer Harvey Croze.

Series III: Transparencies, 1920-2021. Includes positive images on glass or film.

Subseries 1: Glass Lantern Slides, circa 1920s-1930s Consists of early photographs of the various campus institutions. Many were taken by architectural photographers, including The Arnold Studio, Peter Nyholm, Max Habrecht, and George Hance, for inclusion in publications, and all were originally developed in black and white. The hand-painted watercolors were done at a later time by an unknown artist(s). Although these are the earliest known color images of the campus, they should be considered works of art and are not always true to color.

Subseries 2: 35mm Film Slides, circa 1800s-2000s Many, if not all, of these images are believed to be duplicates of images found in Series I and II. Comprised of: Cranbook Early Days; Cranbrook, Kent, England; Booth and Scripps Families; Stereographs; Cranbrook House interior and exterior; Works of Art; Aerial Photography; Greek Theatre; Pavillion; Cranbrook Press Foundation; Ancillary Building in Detroit; Summer Theatre: Grounds of the Cranbrook Community; Lyon House; CIS; Christ Church; Exhibits; Brookside School; ECC; Open House; Activities; Cranbrook School buildings, faculty, academics; Kingswood School exteriors, interiors, academics, annual events, students; Marquis; Kingswood Upper School faculty, staff, academics, athletics, annual events; Middle Schools student life, academic life; Academy of Art exteriors, interiors, events, exhibits, independent artists works, student and faculty works, Roy Slade, grad student works, Eliel Saarinen, Saarinen House, and Saarinen, Swanson, and Associates.


  • circa 1830-
  • Majority of material found within 1931 - 1970



Access to the prints series is unrestricted. Access to negatives and transparencies series is at the discretion of the archivist.


Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing. To inquire about high resolution copies of any images, contact Cranbrook Archives at


In 1904 George and Ellen Booth purchased a farm in the countryside of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Working largely from plans drawn up by George Booth, teams of landscape architects, farmers, gardeners, and laborers were engaged to transform the untended fields of Cranbrook into a beautiful country estate and working farm.

In June 1908, the family moved into their new home, Cranbrook House, which was designed by the noted Detroit architect Albert Kahn. As improvements progressed at Cranbrook, the Booths committed an ever-larger share of their expenditures on buildings intended for public use. The first to be constructed was the Greek Theatre (1915) followed by the Meeting House (1918), which were built as a center for a variety of social, recreational, political, and religious community gatherings.

During the 1920s-1940s, the Booths created an educational and cultural community on the grounds of their estate at Cranbrook, entrusting resident architect Eliel Saarinen with the design and construction of the bulk of the buildings on campus. They established six institutions on their land: Brookside School Cranbrook, Cranbrook School, Kingswood School Cranbrook, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Christ Church Cranbrook. The Cranbrook Foundation, a trust and administrative entity, was legally established by George and Ellen Booth on November 28, 1927, to endow and support the six institutions they founded.

As the campus was developing, early photographs of Cranbrook ( 1920s-1930s) were the result of photo shoots for architectural publications, mainly of the school buildings. These include work by Peter A. Nyholm, Max Habrecht, Arnold Studio (George Hance), J.W. Hughes, Hayes Studio, and Samuel Gottscho.

George W. Hance was employed half-time as Cranbrook's first staff photographer from 1931-1932. His sucessor, Richard Askew, was then hired to photograph all of Cranbrook's buildings, including Christ Church, as well as Eliel Saarinen’s and Carl Milles’ work outside Cranbrook. He also took photos of Cranbrook events, excluding sports. Askew is responsible for instituting a negative numbering system. At this time a dark room and studio were set up in the basement of the Art Museum building and Cranbrook Academy of Art (CAA), run by the Cranbrook Foundation until 1941, first established and administered a Photography Department. Its creation was meant to provide a convenient in-house service to the institutions for promotional purposes.

In 1943, the department moved under the auspices of the Cranbrook Central Committee (and eventually the P.R. Dept.). Harvey Croze was hired as staff photographer and operations manager. He continued a negative numbering system, albeit with a different method involving alpha-numeric combinations to denote Cranbrook institutions or subjects. A prolific photographer, Croze captured many events, portraits, art objects and more and added considerably to the photograph collection.

A massive reorganization of Cranbrook in the early 1970s culminated in the creation of the “Cranbrook Educational Community” (CEC) in 1973, severing administrative ties with Christ Church Cranbrook. With Croze's retirement in 1970, combined with continuing operational deficits, the Photography Department was dissolved in 1971.

For the next four decades, separate departments within each division (Cranbrook Schools, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Cranbrook Academy of Art) and the CEC central offices each contracted photographers-for-hire or charged staff with capturing events and activites. That practice has continued into the digital photography era and with the current (2021) 5 program areas of the CEC, expanded to include the Center for Collections and Research and the Art Museum (formerly part of the CAA). Less visual documenation of Cranbrook from the 1970s-present is a direct result of this decentralization.


Oct 1931-Dec 1932: George W. Hance

Jan 1933-Aug 1941: Richard G. Askew

1938-1940 (part-time): June Askew

May 1939-Feb 1942: James Packard (assistant until Aug 1941)

Feb-Oct 1942: Harriet Cooper (assistant)

Oct 1942-Jan 1943: Allen Cantor (assistant)

Mar 1942- Mar 1943: Joseph Munroe

Sept. 1, 1943- ? Donald Fuller

Dec 15, 1943 - June 26 1970: Harvey Croze


102 Linear Feet (17 file cabinets, MS, OS, 42 albums )

Language of Materials



Cranbrook history dates back to 1904 when George and Ellen Booth purchased land in Bloomfield Hills, MI for their home. The next five decades saw the majority of this land transformed into an educational, artistic, and scientific community. In the early 1970s, a major reorganzition created the Cranbrook Educational Community. More than a century later, in 2021, this Community comprises five program areas: Cranbrook Schools, Cranbrook Art Academy, Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. The Cranbrook Photograph Collection contains over 500,000 still images on glass, film, and paper that visually document Cranbrook's evolution. These negatives, prints, and transparencies were produced by staff photographers (1931-1970), program area faculty and staff in the course of business, or by photographers-for-hire. It is an artificial ongoing collection maintained and updated periodically by the Archives.


Cranbrook Photograph Collection is divided into 3 series by format: Prints, Negatives, and Transparencies. Because this is an ongoing collection, box numbers start over at 1 for each applicable series.

Series I: Prints (File Cabinets 9-25) Prints are arranged into 7 subseries by program area, governing body, or subject: Academy of Art, Christ Church Cranbrook, Educational Community, Foundation, Institute of Science, Local History and General Information, and Schools.

Academy of Art And Art Museum are arranged together.

Each subseries is further divided by general topics (photographic subjects).

Schools are first divided by individual school, and then by general topic.

Series II: Negatives (Boxes 1- ) Negatives are physically arranged by size and then in sequential alpha-numeric order imposed by staff photographers and continued by Archives staff. The alpha-numeric order corresponds with institutions, program areas, or governing bodies of Cranbrook. They comprise 16 subseries: Academy of Art, Brookside School, Christ Church Cranbrook, Cranbrook School, Educational Community, Estate, Foundation, Horizons-Upward Bound, Institute of Science, Kingswood School, Numbered, Portraits, Schools Public Relations, St. Dunstan's Theater, Summer Institute, and Summer Theatre.

Academy of Art And Art Museum are arranged together.

Description of each subseries is further divided by general topics (photographic subjects) for ease of discovery, but does not necessarily reflect their physical arrangement.

Series III: Transparencies (Albums 1-42, Boxes 1- )

Transparencies are divided into 2 subseries: Glass Lantern Slides and 35mm Film Slides.

35mm Film Slides are futher divided by subject matter.


The bulk of the collection was transferred from the Cranbrook Photography Department when it closed in 1970. Additional images are transferred from Cranbrook Educational Community Program Areas or donated by affiliated individuals on an irregular basis.


Accruals are ongoing; collection continually receives additions.

Other Copies

A growing number of images are digitized and can be found in our Digital Collections online. Link available on the Archives website.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Press and Photo Department Records (1990-42) Cranbrook Institutional Records Collections

Cranbrook Photographic Collections:

Jack Kausch Photograph Collection (2002-11) Cranbrook-Kingswood Dance Group Photograph Collection (1996-14) Wermuth and Son, Inc. Photograph Collection (1992-16) Balthazar Korab Slide Collection Richard Shirk Photograph Collection (1989-15) Harvey Croze Photograph Collection (2011-07) Cynthia Reno Waldeck Photographs (2001-04) William Colburn Photographs (1983-08) Paul Erickson Photographs (2002-06) George and Ellen Booth Photograph Albums Henry Scripps Booth Pleasures of Life Photograph Albums

Processing History

Processing by Cranbrook Archivists. Finding aid was created by Carolyn Sutton, July 2021. Revisions and additional description by Deborah Rice, August 2021.

Guide to the Cranbrook Photograph Collection
Carolyn Sutton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-08-24: History note written by Deborah Rice; Abstract, Scope and Content and Arrangement notes revised by Deborah Rice.

Repository Details

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