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William Gehron Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 2003-08

Collection Scope

The William Gehron Papers consist primarily of correspondence between Gehron and Carl Milles from 1929-1949. The bulk of the correspondence relates to the Harrisburg projects and includes letters among Pennsylvania state officials, Gehron and Milles. Milles provides the artist’s view while Gehron’s letters are more practical – providing insight into the construction and mechanical processes of building a fountain. Milles’ correspondence also reveals the thought processes behind his work, his philosophical and spiritual views, and notes about life at Cranbrook and key figures on campus at the time.

Also included is a set of photographs, many of which relate to the Harrisburg fountains. These are housed in an oversize box with the collection.

Dates

  • 1917 - 2000

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

William Gehron was a New York based architect. In 1929, Gehron visited Stockholm to view Carl Milles’ sculpture and modern Swedish architecture. During his visit he wrote to Milles and asked permission to write an article about him, which was ultimately published in the journal Architecture. This began a lifelong friendship between the two men.

Gehron was instrumental in securing the 1938 commission for Milles of the bronze doors for the Finance Building at Capitol Park, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a building designed by Gehron. A second commission, for a fountain at Harrisburg, was never realized. [Elisabeth Liden’s “Between Water and Heaven: Carl Milles Search for American Commissions” devotes a chapter to the Harrisburg Fountain sculptures].

Extent

1.7 Linear Feet (1 MS, 1 OS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

William Gehron was a lifelong friend of Carl Milles from 1929 when he published an article on him in the journal Architecture. Gehron was instrumental in securing the 1938 commission for Milles of the bronze doors for the Finance Building at Capitol Park, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a building designed by Gehron. The William Gehron Papers consist primarily of correspondence between Gehron and Carl Milles from 1929-1949. The bulk of the correspondence relates to the Harrisburg projects and includes letters among Pennsylvania state officials, Gehron and Milles. It includes a set of photographs, many of which relate to the Harrisburg fountains.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically by incoming and outgoing correspondence, with photographs housed separately in an oversize box.

Additional Access

Architectural drawings are cataloged in the Cranbrook Academy of Art Library catalog.

Acquisition

Gift of Gilbert Seltzer in September 2003; additional material donated by Gilbert Seltzer in February 2012.

Related Materials

Carl Milles Papers (1989-13)

George Gough Booth Papers (1981-01)

Kate Thompson Bromley Papers (1981-04)

Cranbrook Academy of Art Administration Records (1981-09)

Cranbrook Foundation Office Records (1981-05)

Hillis Arnold Papers (2005-09)

Marguerite Kimball Papers (1991-03)

Nancy Leitch Papers (2007-04)

Carl and Olga Milles Papers, Archives of American Art-The Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. Microfilm.

Transfers

Four architectural drawings of the fountains by Milles and one of the Finance Building bronze doors have been removed to the drawings collection.

Processing History

Jill Griffiths, 2004; Cheri Y. Gay, 2012.
Title
Guide to the William Gehron Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Jill Griffiths
Date
2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

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