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Albert Kahn Associates records, 1825-2014 (majority within 1900-1945)

166 linear feet (in 180 boxes; textual materials, photographs, and audiovisual materials) — 90 portfolios (photographs) — 22 scrapbooks (sample architectural materials) — 131 oversize volumes (books) — 12,731 drawings (in 45 drawers and 114 tubes; architectural drawings) — 111 MB (online)

Albert Kahn was a Detroit-based architect, active from 1896 to 1942. He founded the firm, Albert Kahn Associated Architects & Engineers, which is today known as Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. He was best known for his industrial design work, including the Ford Motor Company's Highland Park and River Rouge plants; numerous commercial buildings in Detroit such as the Fisher Building, Detroit Athletic Club, and General Motors Building; and much of the University of Michigan's Central Campus, including Angell Hall, the Clements Library, and Hill Auditorium, as well as the Willow Run Bomber Plant near Ann Arbor, Michigan. After Kahn's death in 1942, his architectural firm, Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., has continued to be a worldwide leader in the design of factory buildings that enhance the manufacturing process. The Albert Kahn Associates records are composed of materials produced by Albert Kahn the architect, as well as materials produced by his firm, Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., and include correspondence, company files, photographs, published materials, and architectural drawings.

The Albert Kahn Associates records offer researchers the opportunity to study the correspondence, transcripts of speeches, photographs, and architectural drawings of the preeminent, American, industrial architect, Albert Kahn, and his firm, Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. On March 21, 2003 (the 134th anniversary of Albert Kahn's birthday), Albert Kahn Associates, Inc. (AKA) donated this collection to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan to ensure the conservation and accessibility of these records. Through this gift, AKA has shown its commitment to preserving the legacy of Kahn, whose factories on five continents influenced the development of industrial architecture and whose commercial, residential and institutional buildings define the character of Detroit and the University of Michigan today. The collection encompasses 166 linear feet (in 180 boxes) of correspondence, transcripts of speeches, newspaper and journal articles, company files, audiovisual materials, photographs and slides, as well as 90 leather portfolios containing photographs of completed buildings, 22 albums of sample architectural materials, 131 books, and 12,731 architectural drawings in 45 flat-file drawers and 114 oversize tubes.

The narrative and visual materials in the collection illuminate the breadth of Kahn's career and highlight the work of his architectural firm, Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., which continued to develop projects after his death, and remains a living institution. In pairing the textual materials with the photographs and architectural drawings associated with Kahn's projects, this collection offers a rich perspective on the master architect himself, illuminating his personal views on his own architecture and its place in a changing and often tumultuous world.


Charles Tyley Newton Papers, 1907-1947

4 linear feet

Ypsilanti, Michigan automobile salesman, antique collector for Greenfield Village, and real estate agent for the Ford Motor Company. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, and pamphlet material concerning his work for Ford Motor Company, and his interest in William H. McGuffey and Stephen Foster; and photographs.

The collection has been arranged into the following series: Correspondence; Newspaper clippings; Printed Material; Greenfield Village acquisitions; Real estate acquisitions; and Photographs.


Conant Family papers, 1833-2001

1 linear foot — 1 oversize folder

The Conant Family papers trace several generations of the Conant family in Van Buren Township, Wayne County and Salem Township, Washtenaw County. The collection contains Civil War correspondence, general family correspondence spanning a period of 130 years, warranty deeds regarding the Conant farmstead, genealogical research, photographs and negatives.

The Conant Family papers cover the period between 1833 and 2001. The collection consists primarily of correspondence, warranty deeds, land documents, financial statements, newspaper clippings, genealogical research, photographs and negatives. The collection has the following series: Family, Land and Finances, Genealogy, and Visual Material.


Francis N. Beauvais papers, 1941-1974

0.3 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

University of Michigan Engineering School graduate (1937-1941); aeronautical engineer (1941-1945) at Ford Motor Company's Willow Run Bomber Plant; aeronautical engineer (1945-1946) North American Aviation, Inglewood, California; research engineer (1946-1980); Ford Motor Company's Research and Engineering Center, Dearborn, Michigan.

World War II from the Willow Run Bomber Plant, Selective Service, wartime Office of Price Administration (rationing) during his work as an aeronautical engineer in the aircraft industry. The papers also consist of technical papers, photos, and public relations brochures related to his career at the Ford Motor Company's Research & Engineering Center including a collaborative research project with the late Prof. Harm Buning in 1966 with the University of Michigan wind tunnel on North Campus.

The papers show glimpses of a University of Michigan Engineering School graduate in aeronautical engineering starting his career in a defense plant during World War II, entering the private aircraft industry in California, after the war's end, then returning to the Detroit area to work for a Big Three automobile manufacturer--the Ford Motor Company. The value of the engineering school training can be seen in the accomplishments of Francis N. Beauvais who applied his skills as an aeronautical engineer to development of aerodynamic testing of Ford automobiles and also collaboration as an alumnus with the University of Michigan's Engineering School in 1966 in solving a problem. Included are some war time ephemera and later brochures from Ford Motor Company. A special set of 12 black and white photos was taken in 1941 showing test apparatus inside the original University of Michigan wind tunnel in the East Engineering building. There are also some color slides showing various university buildings, the Indiana v. Michigan homecoming football game of 1946, the arboretum, and some scenes around Ann Arbor.


G. Donald Kennedy Papers, 1928-1968

6 linear feet (in 7 boxes) — 14 oversize volumes

Civil engineer, served as Michigan state highway commissioner, chairman of the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority and president of Portland Cement Company. Papers primarily document work with highway commission and Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority.

The papers, 1928-1968, of G. Donald Kennedy document his career in civil engineering, his participation in professional organizations, his activities as a state official, and as a supporter of the Michigan Democratic Party. The collection Includes correspondence, speeches, minutes, reports, articles, clippings, and photographs. The files relate to his work as municipal engineer in Pontiac, Michigan, with the Mackinac Straits Bridge Authority, the American Association of State Highway Officials, the Automotive Safety Foundation, and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. The collection also includes papers relating to highway and airport construction, to economic mobilization during World War II, the Willow Run Bomber Plant, state Democratic Party matters, particularly the campaign visits of President Roosevelt to Michigan in 1936.


Homer Ferguson Papers, 1939-1976

26 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 35 phonograph records — 769 MB (online)

Republican U.S. Senator from Michigan, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines; files relating to his various career responsibilities, photographs, sound recordings.

The Homer Ferguson collection has been divided into eleven series based primarily upon the important phases of his public life: Personal; Circuit Judgeship; Senate Career; Interregnum: November 1954 - April 1955; Hoover Commission; Philippine Ambassadorship; United States Court of Military Appeals; Inter-Parliamentary Union; Photographs, Sound Recordings, and Myrtle Ferguson Papers.


Josephine Fellows Gomon papers, 1913-1975

10 linear feet — 2 oversize volumes

Executive secretary to Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy, 1930-1933, chairwoman of the Mayor's Unemployment Committee, later director of the Detroit Housing Commission, candidate for Detroit public office, and director of women personnel at the Willow Run Bomber Plant during World War II. Correspondence and diaries concerning the Murphy mayoralty, Clarence Darrow and the Ossian Sweet Murder Trial of 1925, and local Detroit politics; and photographs.

The Josephine Gomon papers have been divided into the following series: Correspondence; Clippings/Scrapbooks; Notebooks of news items; Diaries; Biographical/Personal; Materials concerning Frank Murphy; Materials related to Gomon's projected biography of Frank Murphy; Ford Motor Company materials; Photographs.


Karl J. Belser Papers, 1924-1972

4.4 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Urban planning specialist. Reports, sketches, and other material relating to the development of the Willow Run Bomber Plant area in Wayne County, Michigan, during World War II; studies of the proposed Detroit Civic Center, 1952; also papers concerning his later work as planning director in Santa Clara County, California; letter from Frank Lloyd Wright; and sketchbooks with drawings and watercolors of buildings and scenes in Europe, the United States, and Taiwan; also photographs of Belser.

Michael P. Church papers, 1933-1975

10 linear feet

Director of cultural activities of the Extension Service of the University of Michigan. Material relating to the National Youth Administration and the effect of the depression on Michigan youth; files collected relating to Michigan cultural organizations, art festivals and exhibitions; notebooks containing biographical information on Michigan artists; and photographs.

The Michael Church collection has been arranged into the following series: Biographical/personal; Cultural Organizations and Programs; Michigan Artists; Programs of Art Exhibitions; Audio-Visual Material; Clippings; and Other activities and interests. Of special interests are the files of collected information about local Michigan art organizations and the binders containing biographical information about Michigan artists.