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Roswell G. Curtis, Jr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 1997-03

Collection Scope

This small collection contains general correspondence which contains, in addition to letters to Curtis, letters to William Stevens’ son, Hugo Stevens, from Harold Hoey and Carleton McClain; correspondence from Dr. William O. Stevens; ephemera related to Stevens including several articles written by him as well as his 1932 and 1933 commencement addresses. There is also a small amount of memorabilia that includes two 1933 dance cards.

There are two boxes of oversize material. One containing drawings by William O. Stevens, a scrapbook with newspaper clippings about Cranbrook School, and a handwritten and illustrated text on the Middle Ages, by Cranbrook School boys. The second box contains two books by William O. Stevens: An Annapolis Alphabet and Another Annapolis Alphabet; and the book A Brief and True Report for the Traveller Concerning Williamsburg in Virginia, given to Curtis by William O. Stevens. Realia includes a wooden sign with gold lettering that reads “William O. Stevens Headmaster” and a Cranbrook School boy’s cap.

Dates

  • 1906 - 1980

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

Roswell Goodrich Curtis was born December 26, 1914 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1925, Curtis moved with his family into a newly constructed home on Orchard Ridge Road.He and his family were extremely excited at the idea of a boy's school to be built on the grounds of the Booth farm. From 1925 to 1927, Curtis attended the Hill School in Birmingham and in September 1927 he became a charter member of Cranbrook School by entering as a first former. He graduated from Cranbrook School in 1933.

It was during the summer of 1927 that Curtis met Cranbrook School's first headmaster, William O. Stevens. He admired Dr. and Mrs. Stevens and they ultimately maintained a close friendship throughout the rest of their lives. Curtis travelled once to Europe with Dr. Stevens and annually visited the Stevens' summer home on Nantucket Island. Curtis also played an active role in trying to keep Dr. Stevens from being forced to resign his headmaster's position in 1935, by meeting and discussing the situation with several members of the Board of Directors, including George G. Booth and Rev. Dr. Samuel Marquis.

Roswell Curtis was an organizer and original member of the Alumni Association when it formed in 1935. He served for many years as the editor of the Alumni News, and was also a treasurer and vice president (1946-48) of the Alumni Association's board of trustees.

Curtis attended the University of Michigan, graduating with an A.B. in 1937. He immediately went to work for his father's lumber business, the Roswell Curtis Company in Detroit, eventually becoming president of the business after his father passed away in the mid-1940s. During World War II he was an Ensign in the Naval Reserve and served in Hawaii and the South Pacific, attached to the air groups Saratoga and Enterprise. He was married to Phyllis Fox in 1949 and they had two children, Catherine Memmer and Roswell Curtis III. He lived for most of his life in Milford and Union Lake, Michigan, before retiring to La Habra, California where he passed away on August 29, 1986 at the age of 71.

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet ((1 MS, 2 OS), 1 folder)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

From 1925 to 1927, Curtis attended the Hill School in Birmingham and in September 1927 he became a charter member of Cranbrook School by entering as a first former. He graduated from Cranbrook School in 1933. It was during the summer of 1927 that Curtis met Cranbrook School's first headmaster, William O. Stevens. He admired Dr. and Mrs. Stevens and they ultimately maintained a close friendship throughout the rest of their lives. Roswell Curtis was an organizer and original member of the Alumni Association when it formed in 1935. He served for many years as the editor of the Alumni News, and was also a treasurer and vice president (1946-48) of the Alumni Association's board of trustees. This small collection contains general correspondence which contains, in addition to letters to Curtis, letters to William Stevens’ son, Hugo Stevens, from Harold Hoey and Carleton McClain; correspondence from Dr. William O. Stevens; ephemera related to Stevens including several articles written by him as well as his 1932 and 1933 commencement addresses. There is also a small amount of memorabilia that includes two 1933 dance cards. The collection also contains a text and two books written by Stevens, a wooden sign and a Cranbrook School cap.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in alphabetical order.

Acquisition

Gift of Cathy Memmer.

Related Materials

Cranbrook School Records (1979-06)

William O. Stevens Papers (1995-90)

Oral History Interview, Tape #93

Processing History

Mark Coir, 1987; Ryan Wieber, 1997; Cheri Y. Gay, 2012.
Title
Guide to the Roswell G. Curtis, Jr. Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Mark Coir
Date
1987
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Revision Statements

  • 1997: Ryan Wieber
  • 2012: 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