While browsing the historical writings of Henry Scripps Booth recently, I came upon the answer to a question that Collections Fellow, Stefanie Dlugosz, had posed late last year. As she prepared the Center for Collections and Research’s Holiday Tables exhibit (“Illuminate the Seasons” was the theme), which highlighted the early use of electricity in Cranbrook House, Stefanie had wondered what the source of electricity was, in 1908, for a relatively isolated place like Cranbrook. Efforts by several people could not turn up an answer. Until now.
“Although Caldwell’s electric fixtures had been installed about December 1, we still had to use candles and oil lamps for light because the private Edison line being installed from Highland Park to Cranbrook House was incomplete.” This was recorded during the 1980’s in Henry’s unpublished History (which relates the history of Cranbrook Educational Community and the Booth family between 1800 and 1987).
As the bill from Albert Kahn shows, George G. Booth spent $1863.48, around $49,000 in today’s dollars, on lighting fixtures in Cranbrook House. The order is itemized, room by room, on seven pages of legal-sized paper, in Booth’s papers.
Read the original blog for more information on the Caldwell lighting fixtures at Cranbrook House.
— Cheri Gay, Archivist
Great research! And, as my stepfather was wont to remark, “All it takes is money.”
My father, Henry, was only 10 years old in 1908. Did he really write that clearly at 10?
Thanks so much for your comment. Indeed, Henry did not write that when he was 10, and in 1908, but retrospectively during the 1980’s when he began compiling his History of Cranbrook. Thanks for your catch!