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Oral history interview with Henry Booth, 1979 September 10

Booth, Henry Scripps, 1897-1988



Collection Information

Size: 1 Sound cassette; 22 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav file. Duration is 1 hr., 24 min.

Summary: An interview of Henry Booth conducted 1979 September 10, by J. Gerard, W. M. Riordan, and D. Taragin. Booth speaks of Eero Saarinen and the art and architecture of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry S. Booth (1897-1988) was an architect from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Full name Henry Scripps Booth.


Provenance unknown.

Language Note

English .


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.



The following oral history transcript is the result of a recorded interview with Henry Scripps Booth on September 10, 1997. The interview took place in his home in Bloomfield, Michigan, and was conducted by [] for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Mary Riordan and Johnna Gerard also interview Mr. Booth.

The Archives of American Art has reviewed the transcript and has made corrections and emendations. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability by the Archives of American Art. The reader should bear in mind that they are reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  —[inaudible] Dallas kept bringing over students, more and more, because he added to the last several years, and I'm supposed to be taking them through Cranbrook House and giving them a lingo, which goodness, so far I'll say, it's never quite the same each year. I suppose that would cover some of the ground that you may want, I don't know.

MARY RIORDAN:  Well, that would be a good idea, just get a tape of that tomorrow morning.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Maybe you ought to be over here tomorrow, and take it down. One of the first part of this, at least—last year, I got them to sit down in the library, and I just gave them a general Cranbrook introduction on how things got started, and some of the philosophy and so on, and what my father had, that sort of thing. I'll probably talk to you along the same line.

MARY RIORDAN:  Well, that would be a very good idea not to reproduce what you're going to do tomorrow, but rather do some specifics that maybe we need to know, that you would not include tomorrow.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, why don't you go ahead and tell me what you want to know? I'll try to tell you what I know.

MARY RIORDAN:  I think that, Davira, Johnna [ph] does. Okay. Johnna, do you want to start?

JOHNNA GERARD:  One of the questions we first wanted to know is what were the circumstances which brought Saarinen here to Cranbrook? I mean, attracted Booth to him.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I was at the University of Michigan, in the architectural school, and at the time of the Chicago Tribune competition. [00:02:05] And Saarinen, from Finland, decided to enter, and arrived in Chicago with his drawing, but after the date the competition was supposed to be closed. So Mr. Saarinen could not receive the first prize, or any prize, I guess, under those circumstances, or those rules. The committee, as I understood it, was so impressed that they decided to give him the honorable mention. So, they accepted his design and presentation to that extent. The feeling was, certainly, that if Saarinen's drawing had gotten in on time, that the Chicago Tribune building would have looked like Saarinen's design, which of course was—well, a little bit, not too much, or too close, to Burton Tower in Ann Arbor, but a very simple tower that sort of precessed [ph] a little bit, then, eagerly near the top. Professor Warwich [ph] at the University of Michigan, the head of the department, he had the idea of getting Saarinen to come to the University of Michigan as a visiting design professor. He managed to sell the president and the board of regents on that idea, and so Saarinen came to the university, as I recall, about middle of November of my senior year. [00:04:00] The students didn't know too much about Saarinen, and I don't know just how much Warwich knew about him either, but anyway, Saarinen had a reputation, and was publicized quite a bit. Warwich decided we ought to do something about welcoming this distinguished foreign architect, and so did the students. Warwich worked on the Michigan Institute of Architects Division, and Michigan Society for Architects, and they decided to have a dinner in honor of Mr. Saarinen. Mr. Warwich had the idea of getting my dad to make the main speech. Along at the same time that was being developed, the students decided, well, we're going to do something, and put on a big show in honor of this distinguished foreigner, so we put on a pageant before the dinner at the Michigan Union. I've always been sort of pageant-minded. I have always loved heraldry and flags [laughs], other colorful bits. [Laughs.] So they came to me to go ahead and write a pageant, and to costume it, and train what little acting there was in it and so on, and put it on [laughs]. Well, it was quite an experience. I don't know how long Saarinen was there before the thing actually came off, but I know a lot of them hardly attended school for two or three weeks, at least, [laughs] putting on this pageant. Every actor, instead of going to design class, some of my friends, we'd go downtown in Ann Arbor and drape ourselves in the aisles of the main department store down there, trying to figure out what we would make for costumes. [00:06:10] Of course, I took a lot of stuff over from Cranbrook, too. So we did have some very elegant costumes. Things were used in the Cranbrook mass back in 1960 and so on. One piece of gold brocade and so on. Just super-duper [laughs]. Well, the pageant went off, the idea being that architecture is the mother of the arts, and that the arts are primarily with the glory of God, as in the—got the idea of a library fireplace in here, where architecture is standing there as the indication of the leader, in a sense, of the arts and crafts, which were depicted in the card. Well, of course, I had to take the part of a high priest, because nobody else would. And I would bell forth and—sonorous—I guess that's the word [laughs] tones and so on. Sort of liturgy, as all these characters, the arts and music, and dance, and everything else, came before this. We had this great, big, sort of primitive pylon well before Solomon [ph] and so on. I think it worked out rather well. I don't know how impressed Saarinen was. He probably was amused, because Saarinen had a sense of humor. If he saw something funny, he would say, "Well," [laughs] he'd get a kick out of it and thoroughly enjoy it. [00:08:01] Well, at the dinner, as I said, my father made this speech. Frankly, I don't know what he talked about. I suppose we may have the speech down in the archives or something. But no doubt about the—undoubtedly about arts and architecture and so on, and Detroit, and Michigan, and so on. That's the way—where and when father and Mr. Saarinen got acquainted. Afterwards, the Saarinens were asked over to Cranbrook on Sundays, two or three times, at least. In those days, I didn't do much in school on weekends. I was over here. Probably why my education was as poor as it was. [Laughs.] I was too easily diverted, especially from mathematics and steel construction, and things like that, which I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever.

JOHNNA GERARD:  [Inaudible] time for you.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Bending moments [ph] and so on [laughs]. I think Warwich, again, was the key figure in the next thing that happened. After the First World War, voters in the city of Detroit voted to erect the Memorial Hall, but they never got around to voting [inaudible] so it was never built. At the time—after it had been approved, the idea, then the question was who would design it? [00:10:01] Well, of course, the architects in Detroit, I suppose, secretly, they all wished they'd get the job, and everybody else knew—maybe someone expressed publicly that they never could agree on a local person, because, well, that would be asking too much. That's where Warwich undoubtedly came in, by saying, "Here, we've got a distinguished architect in our midst. How about him?" Warwich and the architects of Detroit decided to make a deal with Saarinen to design a Memorial Hall. Of course, they didn't have any money to pay a distinguished architect for a job, so Warwich, of course, approached my father. I don't think it ever came out publicly that Dad financed the project at all, it was the Michigan Society and American Institute's project. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that Memorial Hall drawing—isn't that in the academy's collection or not?

JOHNNA GERARD:  The state archives in Finland has photocopies, in Helsinki, of all—it has a number of different views and drawings.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I know we had here—no. I'm thinking of something else. I remember the drawing. I don't know, I sort of thought we had it, but frankly, I don't know how we would get it.

MARY RIORDAN:  No, I don't recall that we have the original. It might be in the city of Detroit.


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, yes, it might be at the Institute of Arts, or in the American Archives or something like that. [00:12:03]

JOHNNA GERARD: In Helsinki, there are about three or four different drawings, sort of similar. One for the city hall, and then one a general aerial view. Several others, I believe, for that, but they are all photocopies. So this is something that we would have to look into.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  You've got some drawings of the local things at Cranbrook. You've got some originals there of Cranbrook School.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Right. No, I'm talking about the Memorial Plaza.

MARY RIORDAN:  Right, now was this part of the riverfront development?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  The first thing—that's where the idea of the riverfront really got going. They hadn't acquired any property or anything.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Was Albert Kahn in any way specifically involved in this, or was one of—when you say local architects, would you consider him one of them also, when you say that term?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I wouldn't be surprised if he was in on it. Warwich knew Kahn well, and Kahn knew my father well, and so on, so goodness knows, they may have had a three-angled meeting for all I know [laughs]. Quite possible. Well, anyway, so that was done while Mr. Saarinen was still living in Ann Arbor. This is the year after I graduated. I graduated in 1924, and Eero Saarinen was there that year and the following year. I think it was just the two years he was there. He lived in Ann Arbor, and he made the Memorial Hall drawing there. When that was underway, Father approached him on making a design for Cranbrook Academy of Art and Cranbrook School. [00:14:10]

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Was that design based on your plans?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  No. No, my—as I told Mr. Gerard the other day, I was the first one that had made any kind of a plan for an art academy.

 JOHNNA GERARD:  When did you actually begin your own plans for the art academy?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I did that in Saarinen's class out in Ann Arbor. I never got too far. I was too busy putting on pageants. [They laugh.] Anyway, of course, one of the problems was that none of us really had too clear of an idea of just exactly what we were talking about. Mother and Father had visited the American Academy in Rome, and we got very much interested in doing something—advance artists of all kinds here, they thought it had possibilities. Of course, the academy idea started with the idea of masters and apprentices, so to speak, and more or less the medieval or Renaissance type of—or attitude about art education. So while they were at Ann Arbor, Saarinen laid out this magnificent academy. We have that drawing, don't we? We don't have the model.


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  The model stood in this room here for at least three years. I think my father decided to have it destroyed. [Laughs.] He just—he couldn't get over the fact that it looked as though somebody had delusions of grandeur [laughs]. [00:16:00] Of course, as I've said, in more than one sense, if all the funds spent on Cranbrook had been concentrated in one space, like the Academy of Art, maybe the whole thing could have been done. But I don't know whether—I don't think it could possibly have been done in the way Saarinen had initially designed it. In the first place, it would probably be ultra-impractical, and you wouldn't be able to afford to keep a third of it up at present-day costs. God, it was just an elegant piece of design. Of course, Saarinen had some ideas of what various areas would be used for, but he had two long wings coming out this direction, and they were all supposed to be private studios. Of course, when he was working on that, Mrs. Saarinen made the model, which you see in photographs. That created quite a sensation around here, of course. Well, but while—let's see. I'm just trying to keep things—the time sequence. The first building that—this must have been 1925, after I got through college, that Saarinen made sketch plans for the present administration building. [00:18:04] Swanson and Booth, and I was one of the partners with Frederick Swanson [ph]. We went ahead and made the drawings for that building, and it started to be erected. That was—in fact, the first part was completed before Cranbrook School actually got underway. As I look out my window, which is the lower offices—you turn to the left, inside the main door there, along the northwest corner, I had that. I looked out the window while the steam shovel was poking into the old silo to knock it down. Well, I've said this so many times that it sounds almost boring to me [laughs]. But you're—[inaudible] building the Cranbrook School was supposed to be made out of the farm building that was there, which was a concrete block building with shingled roof, a hay barn to the left of the silo, and the silo, and cow, and horse barn, and so on turned into a main building of the school. Well, Saarinen, full of enthusiasm and imagination, of course, started embellishing this rather handsome, simple building, and introduced all sorts of fancy brickwork and so on. So much so, in fact, that when Mermeth [ph] was contractor rebuilding the church, he made the comment that if he got the job, he'd tear the building down and start over again. [00:20:04] That was exactly what happened. Mermeth got the job there and did that, and he did Kingswood, and he did the other academy buildings, or all the academy buildings, and Institute of Science. Of course, now you can't say all Cranbrook School now, but new science building and so on. One of the things that—do you think I've covered that pretty thoroughly?

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Was Albert Kahn involved in bringing Mr. Saarinen to Cranbrook? Did that influence Mr. Booth?


DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Did Albert Kahn influence your father in any way to bring Mr. Saarinen to Cranbrook?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I don't think so, or at least I never heard it. I wouldn't say he didn't. Kahn, of course, he became interested in Saarinen and [Geza] Maroti. He didn't use Saarinen, but he used Maroti, the painter/sculptor, the Hungarian, who was here. Maroti was the one who did all the decorations down in the lobby of the Fisher Building.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Would he have done the paintings in the lower dining hall at the boys' school?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  No. That was done by Catherine McKuen, the same women that did the frescoes at the church.

 JOHNNA GERARD:  When were they done? Do you have any idea? The paintings in the—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  They're still on the wall over there. At least I'd assume so.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yeah, but what—'28?


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I believe so. Not too long after the dining room hall was finished. See, before they had a cafeteria service there and spread the hours of eating, noon [ph] required a lot more dining table space than they had for the boarders, who wanted to have breakfast and dinner, so they had to have an additional dining hall down in the basement. [00:22:23] Which, incidentally, when Saarinen designed the room, he never thought of it for that purpose. Some of the directors, I think, talked about the fact that boys have a great way of collecting things. So the original idea of that space down in the dining hall was a place where boys could build up sort of a typical boy museum of boy collections and all kinds of stuff. That is one reason which looks very strange. As you look at it today, you've got a corridor down the middle, with a whole series of piers and arches and space behind. Well, the original idea was that you'd have—from the piers, going out to the outer wall, you'd have cases.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Were the cases ever designed?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  No. Never got that far.

MARY RIORDAN:  Catherine McKuen also painted in Brookside School, didn't she? Embellished the ceiling.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Catherine McKuen? Yeah, she did the decoration in the meetinghouse. She was a very active member of the Arts and Crafts Society of Detroit. And a lot of them were frescoes and so on here. She did a lot of the designing of costumes for the Cranbrook mass, and things like that. [00:24:01]

JOHNNA GERARD:  Going back, you were discussing Saarinen's original plan for Cranbrook. There had been talk of an academy of music and dance, originally?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, the original charter of the academy, there wasn't really any limit as to what ground you could cover. In fact, at one period, there was a definite interest in having a unit that concentrated on landscape design. There was a plan for a big greenhouse up there, north of the Jonah [Pool] pond. I don't know how long that lasted, but I remember seeing drawings of it. They never got going on the dramatics. That was started, really, by the Cranbrook School, which has become more and more successful. The summer theater school up here that the Weinbergers run I understand it's the only thing at Cranbrook that breaks even financially [laughs]. But I suppose part of the reason is that the theater is there, and they don't have a lot of maintenance expense to pay. Then, I'm sure, also, there isn't much maintenance done on it as there ought to be, which helps make it look very good proposition financially. [They laugh.] I've been astounded at what they've managed to do starting with young kids up there. Kids being left off at the front door, that have never been away from home before, bawling their heads out, and within a week, having them up there on the front of the stage, making an oration all by themselves. [00:26:06] I saw that happen once. Just astounding. Another thing that's—talking to students, and almost anybody I've talked about Cranbrook's development, I think it's rather important to point out the fact that people frequently ask, "What about a master plan? Wasn't there a master plan for the educational aspect of Cranbrook? Or wasn't there a master plan for the architectural part?" There wasn't any such thing in either case. Things grew, more or less, like Topsy, although the growing was all encouraged by things that looked like needs, or looked like good bets. And if there an opp—what my father would look on as an opportunity, nine chances out of 10, you would be starting to work on it the next morning, after the night that it had been decided there was an opportunity. More than once, I'm sure that happened. Actually, the steam shovels were working the next morning. He was a fast worker. As my brother James used to say, all he needed was an excuse to build. He was very good at it. He never went to an architect without a pretty good concept of what he wanted to do, whether it was a newspaper plant or what. [00:28:04] He would go with a plan all made out, and know how you related the circulation to the editorial, and the printing and so on. There was always a practical reason.

MARY RIORDAN:  Is there a drawing by your father for the academy? I don't—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Is there a drawing?

MARY RIORDAN:  —that he might have made sketches? That he might have made before any of the buildings there?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I'll show it to you. There's this book out here, and it has some of his sketches in them, but I don't recall one from the academy. I know he had one for an auditorium over on the side of the hill over here, by one of these ponds. It would be sort of back up to where the tennis courts are now, I would guess. No, there aren't any tennis courts. Pardon me. They've been taken away [laughs].

MARY RIORDAN:  Where the parking lot is?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  That's one thing I don't think he did. He may have. I'm sure all the little sketches he made weren't saved by any means. The plan is quite remarkable. Of course, I think in this connection, a good example of the way things are done, sometimes, are [inaudible]. The complex up on the top of the hill there is a good one. This tower over here by Tower Cottage [ph] used to be the water tower. Every once in a while, the water tank would overflow. I know my Grandfather Booth got the idea of, gee, we ought to make use of that water. We don't want to have it just go down a drain. So he had the idea of building a cascade, piping the water from the tower over there. [00:30:00] So he and one man, built that cascade. I suppose, in a couple of cases, where they had extra big rocks to move, they may have gotten another man or two, but that was the exception, not the rule. There wasn't any pond down at the lot that came after the cascade got started. After the cascade was well along, then they got the idea of a swimming pool up at the [inaudible]. That was all done, I believe, by the time we started talking about the Greek Theater. The thing was just built in reverse: Cascade, swimming pool, Greek Theater, and lastly, a pavilion. Because of the fact, in the very first performance, the Cranbrook mass got rained out. So the pavilion was built as a shelter. But, after the pavilion got built, the first time anyone [ph] used it, was just enough breeze so all the heavy rain just all blew in there, and people got just about as drenched as they would have been out in the open. So, the pavilion was enclosed with glass. Stayed that way for a while. [Laughs.] Then, when the academy got started, informally, they wanted a place for exhibits and lectures, the solid walls were built in the pavilion. So it was used as a lecture hall and exhibit place. So that, too, was [inaudible]. [Inaudible] he was tired of stopping that mass [ph].

MARY RIORDAN:  Excuse me. [00:32:00]

[Audio Break.]

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Mr. Booth, do you have your plans for the academy that you had done with Mr. Swanson?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I don't know, I may have it down with some of my junk, but I haven't looked [laughs] through it for ages. I might have something. It would be interesting to find it, if I knew any more about it. Oh, I found some—see whether they're prints. I'm going to bring them out—I think they were prints, and that was just the negatives, of the model we built in Saarinen's class out in Ann Arbor. We were supposed to be designing an architectural school for Ann Arbor. Each student took part of it to work on, and made this model, and I took some pictures. Saarinen is in one of them, it's not an awfully good picture of him. I think Eero is in one, too. I've got those set aside to bring up. Well, the history is a peculiar mixture of things [inaudible].

JOHNNA GERARD:  Just one more question. I know there had been talk at first of having two museums, one for antiquities and one for contemporary art. Was this also—whose idea—was this developed when Saarinen had already begun, or what was the history behind—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I really—I'm afraid I can't answer that. Saarinen's model had two museums—one on either side of the—Paris style—[00:34:03]—well, in those days, there wasn't any Paris style, it was just an opening between two buildings. As two museums, that would have been impractical. You wouldn't be able to supervise them. You'd have to have two of everything. Two securities, and two toilets, and [laughs] everything all the way down the line.

MARY RIORDAN:  You think, though, the idea for the two museums, the antiquities and the contemporary, came out of your father's interests? First, he collected antiquities, but he also encouraged contemporary?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think it could have been Saarinen, too. I think Saarinen, he was a modernist, to be sure of it. I think he liked old things around. Certainly Milles did.

MARY RIORDAN:  With all of the antiquities put in the walls, in all of the niches provided, one of these things, was that a Saarinen idea?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I think some of those things are up there, the small things, one of the arches near the sculpture studio, those, I think, were things that were required by some friend of Saarinen's that took a trip to Italy, and Father gave him some money to spend and see what he could find interesting to buy. Milles, I heard him say myself that he believed in having reproductions around like all the famous palaces and gardens of Europe and so on. He didn't frown on that. If something is good, it's worth having people see. The modern idea, of course, seemed to be the only [inaudible] thing that's antique. [00:36:00] You've got more antiques around there now than we had back in Saarinen and Milles's day. [Laughs.] Brought two or three of them out there myself [laughs]. I had something to do with them. But I think the—it's hard for me to believe that people that may like the ultra-modern things also enjoy coming down here and seeing some of the older type of things here. For some reason, somebody got the notion that you've got to be a purist. Life isn't that pure. It's adulterated in all sorts of ways. [Laughs.]

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Mr. Booth, we've run into much evidence of personality conflict around the early years at Cranbrook, and wondered if you could say something about the [Arthur Nevill] Kirk dismissal.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, Kirk a craftsman that delighted in magnificent ad [ph] work. Saarinen tried to get him to do some modern things, and I think Saarinen made some sketches that Kirk used. But I think probably Kirk's attitude would be, well, these are too mechanical. Something that probably could be made by machine if you tried hard enough. Why should I spend my time making something like that when I have real skill in designing things that are more intricate? [00:38:05] I don't have no reason to believe that Kirk couldn't see beauty in some of the simple things that Saarinen designed. I just don't have—personally, I would think it would be a waste of Kirk's time. He could make a beautiful thing in a relatively short time, with a hell [ph] of a lot of work on it. I don't know if you've ever seen the Brookside badge that—about this big, with enamel coat of arms on it, with an inscription around the thing, pierced silver, and words. Brookside was originally called Bloomfield Hills School. Bloomfield Hills School [inaudible] all pierced. That cost me $100. Now, today, it would be a couple of thousand, I'm sure, at least. Well, of course [inaudible] times have changed, but I haven't the slightest idea—maybe Kirk got gipped back then. [Laughs.] I just happen to remember that, because I think I paid the bill myself.

MARY RIORDAN:  Who did the Kingswood medallion?

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Marshall Fredericks.

MARY RIORDAN:  Oh, did he? The enamel work on it?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, there's an enamel one. You have a—the academy. That was made by Kirk. The enamel one, if it's the one I'm thinking of. Kirk made—in the days when the boarding students were required to go to church on Sunday mornings, they had a—sat in the front of the church, the boys on one side and the girls on the other, and they had two standards [ph], but they stood in the aisle to indicate where those pews were for the boys and girls. [00:40:07] They had a Cranbrook School arm on one, and a Kingswood arm on the other, the enamel work by Kirk. Both were stolen. They had a very nicely designed [inaudible] slid into the top of the standard. That's what those are made for, and this, I think, was a trial piece or something connected with that, as I recall. I don't think that was ever used for anything else.  Milles, of course, as you all know, he had what he called his library of antiques. He thought it was valuable, if not necessary, to have fine old things around. I remember, we had family portraits painted by John Koch in New York, who did—he died a year or two ago. He did the most meticulous, beautiful, modern interiors. Sort of, in a sense, sort of à la the beautiful Dutch interiors, you know? Just magnificent painting and drawing, and design, and a lot of them were portraits. This young artist, we met and he met. Mr. Koch asked him, "Have you seen the exhibit at the Metropolitan?" I don't know what it was. [00:42:00] "I wouldn't walk across the street to see it." This young fellow [inaudible] [laughs]. Mr. Koch just shook his head, "There's no hope for him." [They laugh.]

JOHNNA GERARD:  Talking about Milles, there seems to be some differing versions of why Milles came here. What was your father's role in bringing him here?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think primarily in paying the bill. [They laugh.] He was an acquaintance of Saarinen's. I don't know how well Saarinen knew him. But Saarinen had the idea. Maybe the idea was very likely stimulated when Saarinen found out that there was going to be a traveling Milles show in this country. I'm just guessing at that. He may have learned it early, before it happened. Of course, that is when all the Cranbrook Milles pieces were bought from that exhibit which traveled around the country. I don't know where all it went. I know it went to Brooklyn, because that's where I saw it.

MARY RIORDAN:  It was in St. Louis.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  That's where they got inspired to have them, down there.

MARY RIORDAN:  I'm sure.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Was David Evans at Cranbrook at that time, when there was consideration of bringing Mr. Milles here?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  No, Evans was—before Milles, wasn't he? David Evans, he did some rather nice things, but he wasn't very happy here. He was too British, or too something or other.

MARY RIORDAN:  How long was he here?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Oh, I don't know. [00:44:00] Maybe two years, but I wouldn't be able to tell you. He did the football panel for Cranbrook School.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  The Madonna at Kingswood.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Oh, yes. And I think there are a couple small ones around the house, aren't there? I think there's one right out here in the drafting room. I think there's a David Evans. Anyway, there's one, at least. But he was not happy here. So, one of my father's problems was sending him away happy. There was more than one occasion when the [inaudible] [laughs] came along, and father had the problem trying to solve the personal problems of the individual, sending him back to Europe or wherever it was they came from [laughs]. It wasn't always easy.

MARY RIORDAN:  What about that eagle over the entrance to Cranbrook School?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  We were talking about that the other day. I had the hunch—and I think I'm sure of myself now than I was the other day—that it's an English-led piece. The reason I think it is, because when it was put up there, it was just at the time that—what was the mayor of Chicago's name? Big Bill Thompson. He made some sort of a crack at Queen Mary that he'd just love to push a pie in her face. [Laughs.] That was all in the headlines all over the country. [00:46:00] Queen Mary, of course, is famous for her hats. She was probably the last person in the world who wore exotic hats.

MARY RIORDAN:  That's right.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  But they weren't half as exotic as some of the hats that were several years before that. At any rate, this, I'm sure, was put up almost at the same time as that business in Chicago was with Thompson. That's what I'm sure makes the—that this is British, because I think it was at the time that the British show of the arts and crafts, when that [inaudible] tapestry was bought. Have you got a catalog of that show?

MARY RIORDAN:  I think that could be traced.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  It may not have come out of that, but I have a hunch it probably did.

MARY RIORDAN:  But that would be a good place to look, to research that.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Did you hear about my idea of getting a book of photographs of all of Cranbrook's gods and goddesses and so on?


[END OF TRACK AAA_booth79_2736_r.]

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  —I bet it takes some time to really get good pictures, because depending on the season and what angle the light and so on. There are a lot of—there are something like at least seven—I think it's 75 things around Cranbrook that could make very interesting pictures, and I thought it would make a terrifically interesting variety of things, including the [inaudible] chords over in the choir at the church, and all those—and so on, see. Then having somebody that has some literary ability to write a couple of paragraphs—for the Greek god. Well, go ahead and get a little resume of his history, but try to hook it up to modern life in some way, see? Well, we've got—

MARY RIORDAN:  That's a challenging idea. Very challenging.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think it is so challenging, I have a hunch if it was done really right, it could be a huge success [laughs].

MARY RIORDAN:  It really could.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Of course, it might be a costly success and not even realize it. My thought was, well, at least work with such a thing, keep grinding away.

MARY RIORDAN:  What a marvelous photo essay. That's right. That would be really superb.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  A lot of things around here, I don't think, have ever had a picture taken of them.

MARY RIORDAN:  That's true.


MARY RIORDAN:  In details are always—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  If a photograph was taken at just the right time and so on, to bring out the character of things [inaudible] or whatever it is—I think they'd be extremely interesting. Because I like the idea, also, looking at the allegory or whatever it is with modern life in some way. All these myths have some basic quality, [laughs] whether we see it in it or not. [00:02:00] Well, I've done too much talking. I've supplied you with answers. What else do you want to ask me?

JOHNNA GERARD:  Could you describe Eero's position here at Cranbrook? When he left here, he went—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  He was about 14 or 15 or something when I was in Ann Arbor. He used to come down to the school and hang around in the afternoon. He went to school out there, and come down to the drafting room, where his father was working. The first thing he did at Cranbrook School were those tiles of the entrance lobby. Then he designed—they're over in the big—outside of the big conference room at Cranbrook School, between the dormitories there. He did those little heads in the round. Then, I suppose, it probably was about the time of the school opening that he designed the school seal of the archer. For a while, I think he was teaching design at the so-called academy. The academy, of course, wasn't organized, just an informal sort of a place. He lived there. I remember dad being somewhat annoyed by Eero deciding to paint all the doors different colors or something or other in his apartment. Father's idea was that it was an institution, you couldn't afford everybody do as they please, because you would have to pay the bill to get the next person housed properly. [00:04:01] I can't say I recall anything about his design experience there. I couldn't have been in on it somehow. Eero was sort of a strange person. He was sort of a—I suppose like the extreme—this may not be just, but it's an attempt. [Laughs.] You get a cartoon of an idea. It's always made ultra—in order to emphasize the thing. He was sort of not the absentminded professor. He went around and really looked as though he was in sort of a daze half the time. I don't know whether he was actually as deep in thought as he gave the impression he was or not. I always liked him. The way I ended up that business, after I said I liked him, it sounded as though I was very skeptical. I don't know whether I was or not.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Did he participate extensively in Kingswood? It's always said that he did the furniture.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  He designed all the leaded glass.


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Yes. And I think he developed the sketches—I think his father—if I'm not mistaken, his father made sketches for the furniture, and I think it was Eero that carried them out. Maybe Eero designed some of the furniture, too.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Would Eero have done much of the leaded glass then at the boys' school dining hall? [00:06:01]

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  That's very likely. I really couldn't tell you about that. I know he did Kingswood.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yeah, Pipsan [Saarinen], of course, worked on Kingswood designs, too.


MARY RIORDAN:  Pipsan worked on the Kingswood design.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Yes, Pipsan worked on the decorations at Kingswood. The decorations at the dining hall were, I think, entirely Pipsan. Incidentally, those panels with those girls' names on them that they've got up in the upper part of the auditorium, I think they all ought to be painted the color the wall used to be. Shouldn't be like the bottom part at all. They spoil the room.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yeah. What was that, a carpenter who went in and redesigned—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  They didn't have any more space to put names, so they put panels up above the paneling.

MARY RIORDAN:  I know. I know.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  It's all dark, like the ones down below. Just ruins the room.

MARY RIORDAN:  It really has.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I get over there so seldom, I'm glad to be reminded to try and do something about those. [Laughs.]

MARY RIORDAN:  And that cutout above the doors, or above the original molding, where they have the white chair.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Where they put the lights on for parties?

MARY RIORDAN:  That's it, the light show. Yeah.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think they could do something that's more Saarinen-esque than that.

MARY RIORDAN:  I do, too. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think somebody designed that for a party, and it just stayed there for every other party [laughs]. Of course, the academy, I think you know, was starting to be an accumulation, if you want to use that word, of various craftsmen. [00:08:01] Father, of course, had been active in the arts and crafts movement, and knew a lot of the people active in the work down East and so on. Knew Mr. Macomber, who was head of the—operator, I guess you'd call him, of the Boston Society, who was a great source of individual craftsmen. He came here for a year or two, but I don't know just what the problem was with him. Well, I guess part of it was partly the Depression coming along, and father deciding, well, we had to pull in our horn, seeing in those days there was no operation. The developing academy came out of my father's pocket.

JOHNNA GERARD:  One of the reasons that I had heard that Kirk left was because of the Depression. There were other teachers, or other people, who had left because of the times.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think you're right. I think you're right. That's where it helps to know what year something was. I might have stopped to think just when it was—I'm sure I would have recognized the Depression year.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  It strikes me, then, as unusual that Kingswood and the Science Institute were built at that same time, just after the Depression.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I don't know the details of my father's finances, but he knew perfectly well, once the Depression was over, the price of everything was going to leap up. [00:10:00] Apparently, he decided he was able to go ahead and finance the thing under Depression prices, so he barged ahead, making use of those prices. That was a definite reason for going ahead on those two projects. I don't think there would be too many people today that would be that optimistic that they'd not only be able to build it, but after the thing was built, that you'd be able to finance running it [laughs]. Things are much more difficult today. Maybe he was naive, I don't know. [They laugh.]

MARY RIORDAN:  I doubt that.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, a little naivety is a good idea. You don't—if you get too concerned, you just don't do anything. [Inaudible], but have a bright idea.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Eero Saarinen, when he first started, apparently had two students. Is that correct? I don't know if you'd call them students or—when he was first—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Oh, I guess they were called students. I don't know what else we'd call them.

JOHNNA GERARD:  What exactly were their positions here, and how were they chosen, and what were their backgrounds, and what did they do?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  The first two students came from the University of Michigan School of Architecture, and were really Saarinen's students. They had their bailiwick up on the second floor, the northwest corner of the main building there, on the east side of Academy Road, right next to Saarinen House. [00:12:11] It used to be Eric Bechtel's department in there, I guess when you were there.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yes, it was.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  It was upstairs. They were up there. Had two or three rooms. They were just going on from working at Ann Arbor, university, doing some design work under Saarinen. I don't know whether—[inaudible] whether they were paid or we were paid. Most likely that they were paid. [They laugh.]

MARY RIORDAN:  Probably.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I don't know on what basis they would have come and paid. I don't know who—whether they'd know who to pay. Those two—Weiss was one of them. I think he's quite—if he's still living, I think he's quite well-known in the city planning world.


HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  "Wees" is it, or—I thought it was Weiss.

MARY RIORDAN:  No, it wouldn't be Harry Weiss.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think he was down in Washington. I thought he was connected with the government. The other one was Siu [ph]—I don't remember his first name—from—I think it was Shanghai, or China, anyway. He's come back here at least once to see Cranbrook. Those are the first two people who were first students.

JOHNNA GERARD:  What did they do when they were here?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  They were working on a design project of their own, under Saarinen, architectural design of some kind. [00:14:06]

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  There's been a comment that Mr. Saarinen wished, at one time, to assume the educational leadership of all of the Cranbrook schools. Could you comment on that?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Where did you hear that?

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Marshall Fredericks.

JOHNNA GERARD:  There's also some evidence in the archives of apparently some controversy in the '30s. There's some correspondence about Mr. Saarinen's getting—relationship with the other schools, and his interest in taking over.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, if I knew about it, I think I've forgotten. Now that you mention it, maybe I'll think of [laughs]. I think, back in those days, one of the problems, of course, was, new institutions of getting known. [00:16:00]

[Audio Break.]

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  And I wouldn't be a bit surprised—just off the top of my head—wouldn't be a bit surprised they were really looking for somebody that had some so-called stature, prestige, if you will, that might sort of speak for all of Cranbrook. At the moment, I can't imagine Saarinen doing it. He might have been interested, but I don't—I think he would have had a hard time being convincing to many people beyond the artistic world. Maybe that's not true, but—

JOHNNA GERARD:  He apparently had a very high—his reputation was apparently very, very grand here. He was looked upon as a great educator, and that was, I think, the reason they wanted to—one of the things was to bring the rest of Cranbrook up to what he had accomplished in the academy.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I'm afraid I can't comment on that.

JOHNNA GERARD:  One other thing. Being women in today's society, we're interested in Mrs. Booth's role, firstly in the community, and in the development of the Cranbrook idea.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well—the double portrait by Zoltan Sepeshy that's over in the Oak Room, while in one sense, it's not a very good likeness of Mother, it has a lot of her in it. I seem to be one of the few people in the family that will admit it. [Laughs.] [00:18:01] I think the objections of her portrait is the fact of the hair being so stiff. But the portrait is symbolic in the sense that my father was the more imaginative of the two. He was always looking ahead, always having ideas of what to do, and so on. My mother's role was chiefly the supporter. Didn't mean that she didn't have ideas. My father always said she was the one that really got the Kingswood School started. Of course, it was potentially stated that the reason it was started is because she poked George in the ribs with her rather sharp elbow, and said, "George, where are the granddaughters going to school?" Whether that's true or false or not, but it's a good story, and there's no harm in telling it. [They laugh.] It was true, more or less. She was the supporter, and she certainly had good judgment about art and so on. She certainly claimed no professional ability or anything. My father didn't either. He was the primary one who knew what he liked, but he had a great sense of design. He was really more interested in having examples of art that were really good design, whether they were authentic or not. [00:20:00] If the salespeople insisted that this was the last word in authenticity and so on, and wanted to charge a top price, my father would certainly be darn sure he was getting what he was paying for if he was paying the top price, but he saw everything on merit, and even second-rate things, if the artist had some imagination on how to solve a problem and so on. I remember reading, a long time ago, about museums, and one criticism somebody made once—the trouble with a big museum, the art is all too darn good. Nobody has any fun of picking out the best ones. I think there's a lot to it. If you've got nothing but masterpiece, what's the thrill? If one just—why just, look at that. There's a cat's meow there, then you get a real thrill out of it. I think there's a lot to it. My father's attitude was, you could also learn from these other people. If they struggled to solve a problem, even if they didn't succeed 100 percent, if you discovered what they're working on, you might get an idea of it yourself. That's why, in collecting things for the museum—God rest our souls [laughs]—he believed in having examples of various kinds of—one type of object, having examples from various kinds of cultures, to show how they went at the same job.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Did your mother assist in any of the acquisitions that were made, or was your father and friends—[00:22:03]

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  They almost—they always went together on practically everything. My father used to say, every once in a while, mother was the real sport. She said, "Come on, George, let's go ahead. It's good. Let's buy it." [Laughs.] They certainly weren't extravagant buyers. They realized they didn't have the unlimited fortune to go ahead and spend on art, anymore than—I read just recently that James E. Scripps felt that he had unlimited funds to buy Old Masters. When he started buying Old Masters, he decided he was going to work on the second-rate ones, not the first—the top-notch ones, because he'd spend all his money on one picture. Of course, he bought some things that are, I reckon now, as very fine and rare now. Certainly still prized possessions of the Institute of Art. He was buying all those when most people who had means were buying Bouguereaus and French salon paintings. He stuck his neck out, and stuck his neck out so much that it took him a while to sell the old art museum board to accept them as a gift.

MARY RIORDAN:  Are either of the houses still standing, the Scripps House or the Trumbull House?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, the original part of it is standing, and the part where they added the great hall on, and there's one of the towers still on it, but the art galleries and the library are torn down. [00:24:12] Or the library, the library has moved across the street and is part of the public library. Then, after years, it was bulldozed. Say, even the mosaic floor, which could have been taken up with relative ease.

JOHNNA GERARD:  And these are private residences now? What's left of them?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  What's left of—it was a Catholic home for years, and they've given it up, and they've just sold it to the Lutherans. I don't know if it's going to be a Lutheran headquarters in Detroit or what, but I'm glad somebody's bought it that will preserve it. The original house is sort of late Victorian, not extreme Victorian, with the sort of Tudor additions.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  And the Trumbull House?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  It's on Trumbull Avenue, just a short distance up from Grand River, on the east side of Trumbull.

MARY RIORDAN:  It's still there?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Yes. I don't know what else I have to—

MARY RIORDAN:  We've talked a lot about Eliel Saarinen. What about Loja Saarinen's role in the Cranbrook community, and with—in relation to your family?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I think my first association with Mrs. Saarinen was out in Ann Arbor. She put on a little exhibit at the architectural school of her batiks. [00:26:00] I decided to buy about a half a dozen of them, and then I never could get a bill from Mrs. Saarinen for the fact. I don't think she ever collected a cent [laughs], because I could never get a bill out of her. [Laughs.]

JOHNNA GERARD:  Do you have the pieces?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think we still have some of them, a couple of beautiful shawls. I'm sure we must have at least one. Maybe you'd like to exhibit them, would you?


JOHNNA GERARD:  Very interesting.

MARY RIORDAN:  That is interesting. We should certainly get them out and photograph them, and document them.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I'm sure Mrs. Booth's got them put away someplace. I don't think she's given them away. Back in the '20s, when shawls were quite the things, Mrs. Booth had her photograph taken with at least one of them. Mrs. Saarinen, as you may know, is sort of a retiring kind of person. Mr. Saarinen was much less formal, and had a real sense of humor. I think Mrs. Saarinen probably had a sense of humor, but she never relaxed in the same fashion Mr. Saarinen did [laughs]. Of course, Milles and Saarinen were always playing jokes on each other. I can't tell you what any of them were, but I remember some cruel thing, when they were going away or coming back or something, which reminds me of—the Saarinens were coming back from Europe the day after we were married, and we spent our first night down at the Statler Hotel in Detroit. Bob Swanson was our best man. [00:28:01] Well, he felt he had to go and greet the Saarinens, and they were in the hotel, in the Statler, down on another floor. Well, he went down to see them, and then came back and said, "The Saarinens insist that you come down there in their room to see them." Well, we finally succumbed to going down and so on, and then went back to the room later. Sometime, I don't know when it was, Mrs. Booth opened up her suitcase, and here was something that looked like a dead rat or something in the suitcase [laughs]. It turned out to be a little pair of fur baby booties they had brought from Finland. [They laugh.] Gee, I wonder what ever became of those booties.

MARY RIORDAN:  That's marvelous.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Maybe Steven got them. She had—no question about the fact she had a good sense of design and so on. She was very meticulous. She didn't—well, I don't know whether it was Bob Swanson or who that told me that she never let Eliel have a fire in the living room fireplace, because she didn't like the mess. As far as I know, they never had a fire in the fireplace in the living room of the Saarinen house. Of course, with those elegant [inaudible] it was next to impossible to have one anyway. I guess you couldn't move a log if you had to. [Laughs.] [00:30:00] I think we have some table linen that Mrs. Saarinen designed and wove, if I'm not mistaken.

JOHNNA GERARD:  That would be very interesting to see.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Whether she actually wove it, I wouldn't be able to tell.

JOHNNA GERARD:  But even if she designed it, I think it would be very interesting.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I have a little sketch of a nude that Saarinen did that I have down at my studio.

JOHNNA GERARD:  When was it dated?


JOHNNA GERARD:  Is it dated?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  It's a little sketch about this big.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Is there a date on it?

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Oh, I don't know, but it was done about 1930, I guess. They had life classes up there that were open to the public for a while.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Maybe sometime—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Do they have such thing as life classes nowadays?

MARY RIORDAN:  I think they do.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Drawing classes.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Why do they take life classes? Why does anybody still study the human anatomy nowadays, when they don't make anything that—doesn't look anything like a human being or anything else?

MARY RIORDAN:  Well, Roy Slate went into the life class and did some drawings. Are you familiar with his color drawings? They're just vertical lines in different colors. Those were from life class. It's movement.

JOHNNA GERARD:  There are a series of drawings, of new drawings that are in the Finnish archives now, which Saarinen did. Some of them, I think he did when he first came to the United States, and some of them are from before. [00:32:06] So it might be nice to see yours, and see if perhaps it would fit into the series that he had done when he first came here.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I think that little nude is the only thing I have of Saarinen. I suppose all those drawings of the Chicago lakefront, those are all in Sweden aren't they?

MARY RIORDAN:  I think they're in Chicago, aren't they?


JOHNNA GERARD:  There are some of them that are the originals in Finland, though. There are a few in Finland.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  We ought to find out where that Memorial Hall drawing is.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yes, we should.

JOHNNA GERARD:  That's a project that we're going to have to undertake.

MARY RIORDAN:  Especially after—since the City Hall has been moved. I really don't know where their archival material might have been kept.

JOHNNA GERARD:  No. I think that is definitely a project that we will have to undertake.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Want a picture of the pageant? [Laughs.]

MARY RIORDAN:  Yes, I think that would be just delightful.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I don't have a duplicate. It's in my Kodak book.

MARY RIORDAN:  But a negative could be made from the picture.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I don't know, it might be one of those curiosities.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Yes, but a very important curiosity.

 MARY RIORDAN:  I would think so. And the text—if there was some kind of a little program or text from the talk that was given.

JOHNNA GERARD:  I think I've seen that in the archives.


JOHNNA GERARD:  The text is in the Archives of American Art. So that is preserved.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  You mean the speech? The speech father made? [00:34:00]

JOHNNA GERARD:  Yes. I think that is there.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Do we have a copy—we ought to get a copy of that for here.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yes, we should.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, I don't know what else to offer.


JOHNNA GERARD:  Thank you. You've been really wonderful. Thank you.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Well, one conversation always leads to further questions.

MARY RIORDAN:  I was going to say we'll be back again.

JOHNNA GERARD:  That's right.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I find it true myself, I just go start talking, and if I don't think of something new that day, well, I may, in the middle of the night, following, that something comes to mind that I had forgotten all about.

JOHNNA GERARD:  We've, I think, clarified a lot of points for us, things that research has turned up, that I think you have clarified. And—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  If you have some more questions, ask them, and I'll try and answer.

DAVIRA SPIRO TARAGIN:  Won't be the first time. [They laugh.]

JOHNNA GERARD:  We'll start making another list, then.

MARY RIORDAN:  It will take quite a while to kind of follow up on some of these things and get back.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  We could get things like this—after you've listened to this, is there enough merit in this thing so that the Archives of American Art might like it? I would think maybe they would. 

JOHNNA GERARD:  Let me take—and since I'm not in that area—

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Because they may not have any of the sort of intimate kind of stuff that—

JOHNNA GERARD:  They don't. What they do is they may want to come out there and make their own oral history with you.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  They probably would, and I'd have to do it all over again. I'd much rather have them copy this.

JOHNNA GERARD:  Let me speak to them, since I'm down there.

MARY RIORDAN:  I was wondering if the first thing, though, could be to get transcriptions.

JOHNNA GERARD:  That's what we're all hoping for.

MARY RIORDAN:  Yes, because it seems to me the transcriptions could be put in American archives. [00:36:03]

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  I'm sure it's not difficult to make another copy of this and give that to them, let them work on it. They can leave out the blank spots or—

MARY RIORDAN:  Of course.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  —erase a few things that they don't need to have.

JOHNNA GERARD:  I'm sure they wouldn't do any of that.

HENRY SCRIPPS BOOTH:  Those blank spots are important history.

MARY RIORDAN:  That's right. [They laugh.]

[END OF TRACK AAA_booth79_2737_r.]


How to Use This Collection

Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Henry Booth, 1979 September 10. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.