John Robert Crouse papers: 1905-1932
Summary Information
Title: John Robert Crouse papers
Creator: Crouse, John Robert, 1874-1946
Dates: 1905-1932
Extent: 7 linear feet
Location: Portions located in offsite storage; prior notification required for access.
Promoter of electricity, founder of the Society for Electrical Development, and supporter of the principle of cooperation in electricity and other industries; miscellaneous materials relating to the electrical industry.
Call number: 851054 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was transferred from the Cromaine Branch of the Hartland Public Library (donor no. 5435).

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, John Robert Crouse papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


John Robert Crouse, Sr., was born January 1, 1874 in Hartland, Michigan, son of John Bernard and Betsy Westfall Crouse. His early childhood was spent in Hartland. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family, where he graduated from Central High School of Cleveland in 1893. After graduation from the University of Michigan in 1897 he joined his father, J.B. Crouse, and his uncle, H.A. Tremaine, in Ohio in the Fostoria Incandescent Lamp Company.

In 1901 they created the National Electric Lamp Association which eventually merged with General Electric. Crouse's greatest contribution to the electrical industry was his vision of cooperation. He worked hard for this ideal as founder and director of the Society for Electrical Development and in working to bring together into a cooperative organization the manufacturers of electric refrigerators.

Crouse had many other business and philanthropic interests, including the establishment of the Waldenwoods cooperative camp located near Hartland, Michigan. He died July 18, 1946.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Crouse collection relates primarily to his interest in electrical development and cooperation. Include are minutes of the Advisory Board of the National Lamp Works of the General Electric Company, publications of the Society for Electrical Development, bulletins of the Cooperative Electrical Development, and printed materials. There are also some materials concerning his philanthropic endeavors.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Association Island (N.Y.)
  • Cooperative societies -- United States.
  • Electric industries.
  • Hartland (Mich.)
  • Livingston County (Mich.)
  • Camp Co-operation (Association Island, N.Y.)
  • Cooperative Electrical Development.
  • General Electric Company.
  • National Lamp Works.
  • Society for Electrical Development.
  • Waldenwoods (Hartland, Mich.)
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Electrical industry [series]
Minutes Annual Review by The Advisory Board of H.O. Departments (National Lamp Works of General Electric)
Box   1  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Books: The Story of Electricity (2 volumes)
Box   3  
Society for Electrical Development publications
Box   4  
National Electric Light Association Conventions 1905-1907
Box   4  
Nela Series (1-35)
Box   5  
Cooperative Electrical Development Bulletins 1906-1907
Box   6  
Cooperative Electrical Development Bulletins 1906-1907
Box   6  
History of the Cooperative Movement in the Electrical Business 1932
Box   6  
Miscellaneous printed materials concerning electricity and the Waldenwoods cooperative movement
Box   6  
Industrial Library
Other interests [series]
Box   7  
Camp Co-operation miscellanea
Box   7  

(Ledger titled "Important personal letters" contains two letters from Thomas A. Edison, dated August 18, 1913 and December 29, 1913.)

Box   7  
Photograph albums