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Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth Papers

Identifier: 1982-05

Collection Scope

Series I: General Correspondence (1909-1988) contains correspondence between Henry and Carolyn Booth and their family and friends in the period 1909-1988. Important subjects in this series include the following: Asheville School 1913-1918; University of Michigan 1918-1924; Travels in Europe by Henry Scripps Booth and J. Robert F. Swanson during the period July 1922 - May 1923. Correspondence between Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth; Travels by George Gough Booth and Ellen Warren Scripps Booth; Development of Cranbrook buildings and institutions.

Series II: Office Files (1924-1988) contains correspondence relating to HSB’s professional and philanthropic involvement in the arts, education, civic government, and various charitable organizations as well as material documenting his lifelong interest and participation in the growth of Cranbrook. Contained within the Office Files is the subseries of Cranbrook-related material, which documents HSB’s leadership of the Cranbrook Foundation, participation on the boards of Brookside, Kingswood, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the CEC.

The files on the Composarium, HSB’s plan to donate his home to Cranbrook for the purpose of creating a composers in residence retreat, contain administrative reports, committee meeting minutes, proposals, and financial summaries that exist only in this collection. The collection also contains material on the Institute for Advanced Pastoral Studies, an organization which although not directly affiliated with Cranbrook, held its meetings in Cranbrook House and paid rent to the Foundation; this material is also unique to the collection.

Series III: Biographical (1897-1988) includes family documents, memorabilia, listings of important dates, daily calendar and appointment information, and materials which describe in some part the lives and activities of Henry and Carolyn Booth and their immediate family.

Series IV: Writings (1908-1988, n.d.) contains Henry Booth’s writings. Henry Booth was a prolific writer. He wrote thousands of poems and psalms as well as short stories, plays, liturgies, letters, prayers, histories, essays and music. Booth was a profoundly religious man, and this is reflected in many of his writings. His writings were humorous, fanciful and serious. The writings in this collection date back to his elementary school days in the 1900’s and continue to within a few days of his death in February 1988.

Henry’s unedited and unpublished history of Cranbrook, titled “History,” was written over a period of several years and is based upon his own recollections, diary and calendar entries, and early Cranbrook Foundation correspondence and board minutes. It provides a personalized and extremely informational look into the ideas and processes involved with the development of Cranbrook from its beginning to the early 1980’s.

Published works in the series include: Psalms of Thistleonia (1968), Giant of Cranbrook (1959), Cranbrook Boasts a Ghost (1963), Pilgrim’s Guide to Christ Church Cranbrook (ca. 1930), Gardens and Parks of Cranbrook House (1951,1956), Cranbrook Booth Family of America (1955), Festival of Gifts (1928,1930), and Three Ships and Three Pilots (music, 1965).

Series V: Financial (1921-1987) contains Henry and Carolyn’s check registers, and various invoices related to purchases of art, books, furnishings, etc., and 7 personal ledger books for the years 1946-1988. Correspondence and reports associated with the Booth’s investments are restricted and unlisted in the finding aid.

SERIES VI: Ephemera (1923-1984) contains printed items collected by Henry Booth throughout his lifetime, but limited mainly to the time period of the 1920's-1970's. As an admirer of the cultural arts, Henry invariably collected programs from many of the events he attended. Represented in this series are programs and playbills for Detroit-area operas, theaters and their productions, and orchestras. Henry also amassed a large assortment of menus, obtained from the restaurants he visited locally, nationally, and abroad.

SERIES VII: Oversize (1916-1986) contains photographs, Thornlea inventories, and drawings.


  • 1897 - 1988
  • Majority of material found within 1909 - 1988



Access to the following areas of the collection is restricted: General Correspondence Series, boxes 13-24;

Writings Series, box 76; Financial Series, boxes 77-81, 83.


Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.


Henry Scripps Booth was born August 11, 1897 in Detroit, the fourth child of the founders of Cranbrook, George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. From birth to age ten, Henry lived in the Booth home on Trumbull Avenue near downtown Detroit. He attended kindergarten through fourth grade at the Liggett School, and after the family moved to Cranbrook in 1908, he was educated at home for four years. In 1913, he matriculated to the Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina, from which he graduated in 1918.

Later that year, “Harry”, as he was often called, returned to Michigan to study architecture at the University of Michigan. It was during this time that Henry, along with help from his father, designed the Meeting House on Cranbrook Road. In June 1922, he and his friend and fellow classmate, J. Robert F. Swanson, embarked upon a ten-month journey through Europe, where they visited and studied the architecture of Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, and France. Henry graduated from the University of Michigan in June 1924.

In September 1924, Henry married Carolyn Elizabeth Farr at the First Congregational Church of Detroit. Carolyn, born on February 8, 1902 in Detroit, was the daughter of Merton E. Farr, president of the American Shipbuilding Company. They honeymooned in Europe for two months before returning to Cranbrook, when in early 1925, ground was broken for their new home, Thornlea, designed by Henry. By this time, the architectural firm of Swanson (Robert) and Booth (Henry) had been actively collaborating with George Booth’s newly hired planner and architect, Eliel Saarinen, in designing the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s administration building, the sextonry at Christ Church, and the academic building at Cranbrook School. Their office was located at what is now referred to as the Hedgegate Apartment, on Cranbrook Road. Swanson and Booth ceased as a partnership in July 1926.

Henry and Carolyn had five children: Stephen, David, Cynthia, Melinda, and Martha. All the children were raised at Thornlea, and Mr. and Mrs. Booth lived there until their deaths.

Mr. Booth was actively involved with the development of all areas of Cranbrook. He served as a trustee of the Cranbrook Foundation for the entire period of its existence (1927-1973), and was its Executive Director from 1946-1965. He also was on the board of directors for Brookside School (1925-1945), Kingswood School Cranbrook (1930-1943), and the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1942-1968). He founded the St. Dunstan’s Guild, Cranbrook Music Guild, Cranbrook Writers’ Guild, and the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary. Henry and Carolyn actively supported the affairs of Christ Church Cranbrook; he served on the vestry (1944-45) and she served in the Altar Guild. Henry helped to establish many annual events at Cranbrook such as The Founders’ Day Service and Medal, Twelfth Night Gala, and the Festival of Gifts. In addition to being immersed in Cranbrook activities, Henry was on the board of trustees for the Evening News Association (1949-1973), Booth Newspapers (1952-1972), and he also founded the Oakland Citizens League (1937).

Carolyn was a trustee for the Michigan Children’s Aid Society, on the board of governors of the Menninger Foundation, and also helped to found the Village Women’s Club of Bloomfield Hills. Carolyn co-founded the Junior League of Birmingham and was a board member of Planned Parenthood in Detroit. She also was active at Christ Church Cranbrook, serving on the Altar Guild for many years and acting as its director from 1944-1945. She had a lifelong interest in the Visiting Nurses Association and was active in many of its functions.

The Booths were lovers of art and music. They collected art from around the world during many of their trips, and Henry, an artist himself, constantly utilized his drawing and painting skills. They regularly attended the symphony, and Henry had plans to create the “composarium” at Thornlea, a retreat for composers. He also was prolific in his writing; he authored thousands of poems, psalms, short stories, and even music. An avid genealogist, Henry documented the history of his family. In 1955, he published the results of his work in that area: The Booth Family of America. He also created a detailed year-by-year unpublished account of Cranbrook’s history by drawing upon his own diaries, correspondence, Cranbrook board minutes, and his memory.

Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth were dedicated to Cranbrook throughout their married lives. Henry succinctly stated his attitude later in life when he said “My main function in life is to keep Cranbrook a reasonable facsimile of what it used to be, to preserve its beauty and uniqueness.” Carolyn died on July 12, 1984, at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, while Henry passed away at Beaumont on February 7, 1988.

General Chronology

Henry Scripps Booth was born on August 11 in Detroit.
Carolyn Elizabeth Farr was born on February 8 in Detroit.
George Gough and Ellen Warren Scripps Booth moved with their family to Cranbrook.
HSB enrolled at Asheville School for Boys in North Carolina.
HSB enrolled at University of Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Architecture in 1924.
Carolyn Farr educated at University Liggett in Grosse Pointe and Miss Spence’s School for Girls in New York.
HSB and colleague J. Robert F. Swanson traveled in Europe.
HSB and J. Robert F. Swanson established Swanson & Booth, an architectural practice. Among their first projects were the Cranbrook Architectural Office and the Academic building at Cranbrook School.
HSB married Carolyn Farr on September 27 and honeymooned in Europe. Plans were drawn for Thornlea. Ground breaking occurred in 1925.
HSB served on Board of Trustees for Brookside School.
Cranbrook Foundation established. HSB became a member of the Board of Trustees, and served until 1973. He was Executive Director of the Foundation administration from 1946-1965.
Brookside School completed; designed primarily by HSB.
HSB acted as director of Kingswood School for Girls.
HSB founded the Oakland Citizen's League. HSB later helped organize the offshoot organizations Civic Research and Civic Searchlight.
HSB served on the Christ Church Cranbrook Vestry.
HSB helped found the Cranbrook Music Guild.
HSB helped found the Cranbrook Writers' Guild and Writers' Conference.
HSB awarded the Founder's Medal.
HSB and CFB elected to Board of Trustees of Menninger Foundation.
Cranbrook Gardens Auxiliary was founded with the support of HSB. The House Auxiliary followed in 1975.
Cranbrook Educational Community established, HSB served on the Board of Trustees until 1977.
On July 12, Carolyn Farr Booth died at the age of 82.
The sale of the Evening News Association stock became official in September. HSB gave a significant gift to the Cranbrook Educational Community.
On February 7, Henry Scripps Booth died at the age of 90.


48.3 Linear Feet (78 MS, 8 SB, 6 OS)

Language of Materials



Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth, lovers of art, music, and travel, were lifelong advocates of Cranbrook, dedicated to its development, both physically and organizationally. Henry (1897-1988) was the fourth child of the founders of Cranbrook, George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Carolyn (1902-1984) was the daughter of Merton E. Farr, president of the American Shipbuilding Company. While an architecture student at the University of Michigan, Henry helped his father design the Meeting House on Cranbrook Road. A few years later, just down the road he designed and built the family home, Thornlea, now a part of Cranbrook. His architectural firm with fellow University of Michigan student J. Robert F. Swanson worked with Cranbrook's architect, Eliel Saarinen, in designing the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s administration building, the sextonry at Christ Church, and the academic building at Cranbrook School. Henry also served Cranbook as a trustee and Executive Director of the Cranbrook Foundation and a board member for Brookside School,Kingswood School, and the Academy of Art. He founded St. Dunstan’s Guild, Cranbrook Music Guild, Cranbrook Writers’ Guild, Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary, and had plans for a composarium which never came to fruition. Henry also helped to establish many annual events at Cranbrook such as The Founders’ Day Service and Medal, Twelfth Night Gala, and the Festival of Gifts. Both Henry and Carolyn actively supported the affairs of Christ Church Cranbrook and were active in their communities and, in Henry's case, the family newspaper business. A prolific artist and writer and an avid genealogist, Henry documented much of the history of his family and Cranbrook. The collection details Henry and Carolyn's lives, their accomplishments, interests, connection to Cranbrook, and family relations. Material includes correspondence, Henry's administrative files, biographical information, Henry's writings, financial papers, ephemera, photographs, drawings, and audiovisual recordings.


All of the material in the collection is organized by subject matter; the folders are arranged alphabetically within each series and subseries (unless otherwise noted), and the documents are organized chronologically or alphanumerically within each folder. All materials relating to a particular topic or institution have been filed together as much as possible.

The collection is divided into seven series: General Correspondence (Box 1-28), Office Files (Box 29-56), Biographical (Box 57-61, 86), Writings (Box 62-76), Financial (Box 76-83), Ephemera (Box 84-85), and Oversize (Box 86-90).

The letters in Series I: General Correspondence are arranged chronologically.

Series III: Biographical exists in near original order as arranged by Henry and his secretaries.

Series IV: Writings is divided into eight subseries: Poems/Rhymes, Psalms, Fiction, History, Plays, Religious Writings, Non-Fiction and Music. These sub-series are arranged chronologically from oldest to newest works with the non-dated material at the end of each series.

The Poems/Rhymes and Psalms sub-series are arranged much the way as HSB had originally organized them--numerically--not chronologically. Poems/Rhymes are not individually listed in the finding aid, but they are available alphabetically by title in an index card file (see Archivist for location).

The Psalms are arranged numerically within the collection, however, an alphabetical list is located in Appendix C.

Series VI: Ephemera is arranged first by geographic location, and then chronologically when possible.

Additional Access

Architectural drawings are catalogued on Horizon.

An index for this collection is available. In the collection index, individuals are listed under the organization with which they were associated, unless they participated in more than one organization; in this case, individuals are listed alphabetically under their last names.

In addition to these series, an inventory to HSB's collection of photographs can be found in Appendix A. Appendix B lists the Archives holdings of HSB-related audio and visual media. For series, appendices and index locations, please refer to the table of contents.

Additional Access

An index to the collection is available.

Additional Access

The Henry S. Booth and Carolyn F. Booth Collection is also cataloged in Cranbrook's online library system.


The papers were acquired in multiple stages with final instrument of gift signed by the children of Henry Scripps and Carolyn Farr Booth on July 1, 1988.

Related Materials


Cranbrook Photograph Collection

Booth Family photo albums(1887-1987)

Pleasures of Life photo albums (1911-1940)

Additional photographs are in HSB’s University of Michigan scrapbook (Box 85)


St. Dunstan's Posters (formerly Box 89) and W.W.II "Buy U.S Defense Stamps/Bonds" posters (ca. 1943) removed to Poster Collection.

Many newspaper clippings concerning HSB, his family, and events at Cranbrook were removed from Series III: Biographical to the Excerpts and Miscellanea (E&M) files.

Audio/Film/Video Materials were transferred to the Audio Recording Collection (1990-09) and the Film and Video Recording Collection (1990-35).

Audiotapes include:

Tape 15.Henry S. Booth Funeral; Carillon hymns by Beverly Buchanan, 10 February 1988.

Tape 17.“A Service in the Life of Henry S. Booth”; Christ Church Cranbrook, 10 February 1988.

Tape 22.Henry S. Booth; Interviewed by Betty Appleby, 3 November 1987.

Tape 25.Henry S. Booth; unknown female interviewer, 8 September 1976 [see Tape 35].

Tape 26.Henry S. Booth; unknown female interviewer, 25 May 1976 [continued on Tape 27].

Tape 27.Henry S. Booth; unknown female interviewer, 25 May 1976 [conclusion of Tape 26].

Tape 30.Henry S. Booth; Funeral Service, Christ Church Cranbrook, 10 February 1988.

Tape 34.Henry S. Booth; Memorial Service at Christ Church Cranbrook, 10 February 1988.

Tape 35.Henry S. Booth; Unknown female interviewer, 8 September 1976 [see Tape 25].

Tape 36.Henry S. Booth; interviewed by Betty Appleby, 6 October 1987.

Tape 44.Cranbrook Gardens, Auxiliary Meeting; Henry S. Booth, host, 4 March 1971.

Tape 156.Cranbrook Composarium at Thornlea Meeting, Henry Scripps Booth 29 October 1984

Tape 157.Cranbrook Composarium at Thornlea Meeting, Henry Scripps Booth 10 December 1984

Tape 158.[cont. from Tape 157]

Tape 168.Cranbrook Composarium, Lillian Bauder and Henry Scripps Booth 24 September 1987

Tape 169.Service in Celebration of the Life of Henry Scripps Booth at Christ Church Cranbrook 10 February 1988

Videotapes include:

Tape 55VHS Henry Scripps Booth with Mark Coir at Cranbrook House, 21 August 1984, “George Booth and the Arts & Crafts Movement”

Tape 96VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview by Dennis Wint, 11 December 1984

Tape 121VHS 90th Birthday Party of Henry Scripps Booth; videotaped by Jeff Booth, 11 August 1987

Tape 136VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Cranbrook Estate History, Cranbrook House, 26 June 1984

Tape 137VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Arts and Crafts at Cranbrook, 21 August 1984

Tape 138VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Thornlea, 28 August 1984

Tape 139VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Christ Church Cranbrook, 11 September 1984

Tape 140VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; HSB’s Life, 25 September 1984

Tape 141VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Christ Church Cranbrook, 2 October 1984

Tape 142VHS Henry Scripps Booth Interview; Brookside School, 30 October 1984

** Umatic tapes – original series of the eight videotaped interviews of HSB; between June, 1984 and October, 1984 (see VHS Tape 136 – Tape 142) are located in Tower storage, Range 6

Processing History

Peggy Appleman:Writings Series, 1997

Hubert Beudert:Collection Inventory, 1995

James Hanks:General Correspondence Series, preparation of finding aid and index, 1996

Eric Hartz:General Correspondence Series, 1996

William Landis:Collection Inventory, 1995

Cathy Price:Office Files Series, preparation of finding aid and indexes, 1997

Ryan Wieber:Biographical Series, Ephemera Series, Financial Series, preparation of finding aid and indexes,1997.

Elizabeth Williamson: General Correspondence Series, Office Files Series, preparation of finding aid and index 1996, 1997.

Corajoyce RaussFinancial Personal Ledgers, 1946/887 books, Box 83 in Studio vault

HSB 83A:1-14, 1988

HSB & CFB 83A:15-16, 1994


Abundant Praise
Adventure in faith
All Saints
American Pompeii
Apathy of Action
Aping the apes
As we forgive
Au revoir
August 12th
Augustinian Psalm
Aura of Night
Be like the ass
Bearing and sharing
Believing and hoping
Black and blue
Blame and responsibility
Bless him, o spirit within
Bless their memory
Blessings on this house
But for the grace
Caldron of my mind
Calling for mercy but not for help
Canterbury Psalm
Challenge of our predicament
Charliean psalm
Chastise my thinking
Christmas crib
Church of god
Cloister in the making
Columbian psalm
Come into my life
Community of reason
Concord shot
Conduits from God
Couple of figs
Crown of Christian virtues
Crowning bit of wisdom
Crumpled lives
Cry for help
Guide to the Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth Papers
James Hanks
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Revision Statements

  • 1997: Writings series, Peggy Appleman
  • 1995: Correspondence series, Eric Hartz
  • 1997: Office files, finding aid and index, Cathy Price
  • 1997: Biographical, Financial, and Ephemera series, finding aid and index, Ryan Wieber
  • 1996-1997: Office series, finding aid and index, Elizabeth Williamson
  • 1987: Financial and personal ledgers, Box 83, Corajoyce Rauss
  • 1988: Box 83A, folders 1-14, Corajoyce Rauss
  • 1994: Box 83A, folders 15-16, Corajoyce Rauss

Repository Details

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