Milton Kemnitz Papers: 1932-1995 (bulk 1960-1990)
Summary Information
Title: Milton Kemnitz Papers
Creator: Kemnitz, Milton.
Inclusive dates: 1932-1995
Bulk dates: 1960-1990
Extent: 3 linear feet
Abstract:
Ann Arbor-based artist specializing in images of local businesses and sites. The collection has been arranged in three series. The Artwork series includes drawings of buildings and other projects, publications containing reproductions of his work, and files relating to galleries, exhibits, auctions, and art fairs. The Supplemental Materials series concerns the art organizations and associations of which Kemnitz was a member, correspondence, and files pertaining to other activities, notably the Bird Hills Park controversy. The third series, Southern White Migration to Detroit in the 1930s, consists of research materials and reports resulting from Kemnitz' research as a member of a University of Michigan sociology seminar on metropolitan community organization. A portion includes Elmer Akers' research on the Black Legion.
Call number: 9427 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
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Rachel K. Onuf, 1996

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The papers were donated by Milton and Eddie Kemnitz Donor # 8234 beginning in 1994.

Access Restrictions:

The papers are 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: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Milton Kemnitz Papers , Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Milton Kemnitz is one of Ann Arbor's best known artists. His drawings and paintings all have a unique, identifiable style and have been widely reproduced -- on greeting cards, shopping bags, calendars and magazine covers. His work also appears on the walls of the city -- both inside and outside. In 1974 the mayor of Ann Arbor recognized his contributions and declared a "Milt Kemnitz Day."

Kemnitz was born in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree from the College of Literature, Arts and Sciences, in 1933. During World War II he served as a merchant seaman, and started to paint on a stint to the Mediterranean. Once the war was over, he returned to Ann Arbor, and together with his wife and collaborator Eddie, whom he married in 1939, has made the city his home ever since.

His work has been shown in numerous group and one-man shows, mainly in galleries in his home state. The Forsythe Gallery in Ann Arbor represented him for decades, and he has had connections with many other galleries over the years. His work is in the collections of many museums, institutions and corporations. He has published several books of drawings: Old West Side, Michigan Memories (1965), Ann Arbor Now and Then (1972)and London and Back (1977). Eddie helped him design and edit the books, a role she often filled in conjunction with Milt's larger projects.

Kemnitz did many commissioned pieces, especially drawings of buildings for individuals and corporations. In addition to these commissions, he often donated artwork or his expertise to support local activities. For instance, he sat on the Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Committee and designed the commemorative silver bar, did lettering and drawings for the "Y" for over a decade, and helped keep The Ark, a local performance space, open.

In addition to supporting the arts in Ann Arbor, an effort that included membership in the Ann Arbor Art Association and numerous other organizations, Eddie and Milt were involved in other local causes. The biggest effort was to "Save Bird Hills Park" in 1971. This was a grassroots effort to fight the building of luxury condominiums on what had been parkland. The city agreed to buy the land from the developer and leave it as parkland if the people of Ann Arbor could raise one-fourth of the purchase price. 1500 people pledged a total of $90,000 but the developer still got the land.

His involvement with local organizations includes over fifty years of membership in the First Unitarian Universalist Church. Naturally, he did quite a bit of work for them over the years. In addition to his drawing of the church, which was used on programs and stationary for years, he experimented with a new medium and created a memorial stained glass window dedicated to Edward H. Redman, who had been minister from 1943 to 1960.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The papers of Milt Kemnitz have been divided into three series. The first series, ARTWORK, focuses on the artwork itself, and its reproduction and dissemination. This includes the following subseries: Drawings of Buildings, Other Projects, Publications and Galleries, Exhibits, Auctions & Art Fairs. The second series, called SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS, has three subseries, Art Organizations & Associations, Correspondence and Miscellaneous Personal Material. Much of this material concerns his career as an artist but relates less directly to the actual artwork than the material in the first series. The third series, SOUTHERN WHITE MIGRATION TO DETROIT IN THE 1930s, consists of research materials and reports resulting from Kemnitz' research as a member of a University of Michigan sociology seminar on metropolitan community organization.

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.


  • Ann Arbor (Mich.)
  • Artists -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Bird Hills Park (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • Real estate development -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Rural-urban migration -- Southern states.
  • Rural-urban migration -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Dwellings -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Ann Arbor (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Buildings -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Drawings.
  • Dwellings -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Prints.
  • Photographs.
  • Black Legion.
  • Kemnitz, Eddie.
  • Kemnitz, Milton.
  • Kemnitz, Milton.
  • Kemnitz, Eddie.
  • Akers, Elmer, 1899-
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Artwork [series]

Within the ARTWORK series, Drawings of Buildings includes drawings of private residences and well known public buildings, mainly in Ann Arbor. These folders contain sketches on tracing paper, photographs of the actual houses and reproductions of the final drawings. Many of the drawings of buildings were used as greeting card art. Kemnitz excelled at depicting buildings, typically as line drawings but sometimes as paintings. Other Projects are larger in scope, encompassing work Kemnitz did that may include, but are not limited to, the drawing of a building. Commissioned works have not been separated from gifts by the artist, for it is not always clear into which category a work falls. Publications includes the books Kemnitz published and the various magazine covers and articles reproducing his work. Please see the clippings folders in the SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS series for potentially relevant newspaper articles. Galleries, Exhibits, Auctions & Art Fairs includes information about the various art events Kemnitz participated in.

 
Drawings of Buildings
Box   1  
Ann Arbor Bedding Company, 1001 Broadway
Box   1  
Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Box   1  
Home of Mary Beckerman, 901 Forest
Box   1  
Bishop and Shelton, 709 W. Huron
Box   1  
Home of Jack and Mary Ann Brown
Box   1  
Burns Park School
Box   1  
Caldwell & Reinhart Company, Realtors
Box   1  
Darrell Campbell, Hill and Geddes, Ann Arbor
Box   1  
Campus Smoke Shop
Box   1  
Canoe Livery
Box   1  
Christian Reformed Campus Chapel 1990
Box   1  
Home of Don Cleveland, 628 South 1st. St., Ann Arbor 1987
Box   1  
The Cottage
Box   1  
Cousins Heritage Inn, Dexter 1993
Box   1  
The Depot, Ann Arbor
Box   1  
Home of Mary Dunham, 2756 Lowell 1991
Box   1  
Home of Bill and Jane Ferguson, 1935 Cambridge Rd. 1988
Box   1  
First Baptist Church 1983
Box   1  
Home of Peter Heydon 1988
Box   1  
Hilldene Apartments, Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor 1975
Box   1  
Huron Valley Swim Club 1988
Box   1  
Home of Abe Kadushin
Box   1  
Kahn Log Cabin, Jackie Miller, 1824 Arbordale
Box   1  
Kempf House, ca. 1986
Box   1  
Kerrytown
Box   1  
Home of John and Peggy Laird
Box   1  
Home of Dick and Jackie Lewis 1990
Box   1  
Lutheran Church of the Reformation 1974
Box   1  
Home of Tom McEeachern, Harvard Place
Box   1  
Martha's house, S. Normal, Ypsilanti 1995
Box   1  
Home of Bill Martin, "Glenwood"
Box   1  
Michigan Municipal League 1988
Box   1  
Nickels Arcade
Box   1  
Old Firehouse
Box   1  
Packard Community Clinic 1978-1981
Box   1  
Home of Mary Porter, 724 Oxford, Ann Arbor 1988
Box   1  
Home of Jim and Tony Reese, 2009 Vinewood 1995
Box   1  
Summit Medical Center, Inc. 1973
Box   1  
University Elementary School
 
University of Michigan
Box   1  
Miscellaneous buildings
Box   1  
Power Center for the Performing Arts, ca. 1973
Box   1  
President's House (ca. 1876) 1979
Box   1  
Residence Halls 1984
Box   1  
School of Business Administration
Box   1  
School of Law
Box   1  
Women's City Club 1986
 
Other Projects
Box   1  
Ads featuring Kemnitz artwork
Box   1  
Ann Arbor Antique Fair & Sale, booklet cover 1972
Box   1  
Ann Arbor Art Fair, drawings and sketches 1965
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Observer 10th Anniversary Commemorative Calendar," painting by Kemnitz 1986
 
Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Commission
Box   1  
Correspondence 1972-1975
Box   1  
Meeting Minutes 1972-1973
Box   1  
Papers 1973
Box   1  
Sketches for commemorative silver bar designed by Kemnitz 1973
 
Ann Arbor "Y"
Box   1  
Pictures and tracings of the old "Y" 1969-1985
Box   1  
Pictures and tracings of the new "Y" 1975-1991
Box   1  
Catalog covers 1981-1991
Box   1  
Catalog drawings and lettering
Box   1  
Correspondence 1979-1991
Box   1  
The Ark 1975-1986
Box   1  
Cleary College 1989
Box   1  
Ecology Center greeting card designs 1981-1990
Box   1  
"Eventful Ann Arbor: A Calendar by The Junior Service League of Ann Arbor," drawings by Kemnitz 1986
 
First Unitarian Universalist Church
Box   1  
Drawings and other materials 1944-1990 (2 folders)
Box   1  
Stained glass 1986
Box   1  
Great Lakes Federal Savings, drawing of a Brush automobile 1908
Box   1  
Greeting cards drawn by Kemnitz
Box   1  
"Michigan: A Bicentennial Calendar," drawings by Kemnitz 1976
Box   1  
Miscellaneous artwork by Kemnitz, photographed, some with the artist
Box   1  
Sam's Store plastic bag with drawings by Kemnitz
Box   1  
Stained glass by Kemnitz, photographed
Box   1  
Village Green Apartments, series of paintings for lounge and library 1968
Box   1  
Work for various political and social groups 1967-1985
 
Publications
Box   1  
"About Ann Arbor" magazine, articles and drawings 1979-1980
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Magazine," drawings 1986
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Now and Then," a book of personal drawings 1972
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Now and Then," publicity 1972
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Now and Then," related materials 1972
Box   1  
Ann Arbor Observer, cover drawings 1978-1988
Box   1  
"Ann Arbor Scene Magazine," articles and drawings 1972-1987
Box   1  
"Campustown," in Michigan Alumnus June 1962
Box   1  
"Graphic Works of Milt Kemnitz," Special Issue of "Executive Style," 1978
Box   1  
"London and Back," publicity 1977
Box   1  
"London and Back," correspondence 1977-1983
Box   1  
"Michigan Alumnus," drawings 1967-1985
Box   1  
"Michigan Memento," 1967
Box   1  
"Michigan Memories," 1965
Box   2  
"Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association Journal," cover drawings 1962-1986
Box   2  
Miscellaneous cover drawings 1973-1985
Box   2  
[cover drawings for] University of Michigan publications 1978-1986
 
Galleries, Exhibits, Auctions and Art Fairs
 
Ann Arbor Art Association
Box   2  
Group exhibit 1954
Box   2  
"Twenty seven years of Milt Kemnitz" exhibit 1974
Box   2  
"Impressions" exhibit 1987
Box   2  
Blixt Gallery, Ann Arbor, exhibits 1982-1984
Box   2  
Catherine McCauley Health Center auction 1980-1987
Box   2  
Children's Leukemia Foundation auction 1981
Box   2  
Detroit Artists Market exhibit 1972
Box   2  
Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit 1956
Box   2  
Drama Lab, Inc. auction 1980
Box   2  
Focus: HOPE auction 1975
Box   2  
Format Gallery, Ann Arbor, exhibit with photos 1988
 
Forsythe Gallery, Ann Arbor
Box   2  
Correspondence and clippings 1957-1980
Box   2  
Group exhibits 1957-1980
Box   2  
"Georgian Bay" exhibit 1957
Box   2  
"Campustown" exhibit 1962
Box   2  
Exhibit photos 1967
Box   2  
Exhibit with photos 1972
Box   2  
"Sesqui Salute!" exhibit 1974
Box   2  
Forum Gallery, Brighton, Eng 1969-1977
Box   2  
Garelick's Gallery, Detroit, exhibit with photo of Kemnitz 1961
Box   2  
Jacobson's Studio of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Mich., exhibit 1962-1963
Box   2  
Lawrence Institute of Technology, Southfield, Mich., exhibit 1985
Box   2  
Madonna College scholarship dinner auction 1989
Box   2  
Metropolitan Hospital, Detroit, exhibit 1963
Box   2  
Michigan Academy of Science Arts and Letters exhibit 1956
Box   2  
National Maritime Union exhibit, N.Y. 1945
Box   2  
Robert Thom Gallery, "Ships of the Great Lakes," solo exhibit, Birmingham, Mich. 1976
Box   2  
St. Clair Art Fair 1972-1983
Box   2  
Scarab Club "Silver Medal" exhibit 1978
Box   2  
Studio 23 Art Center, Bay City, Mich., exhibit 1979
Box   2  
Thurston Room Art Gallery exhibit 1975
Box   2  
Traverse City Contemporary Art Society and Gallery 1963
Box   2  
University of Michigan Hospitals Arts Program exhibit 1987
Box   2  
University of Michigan Turner Geriatric Services exhibit 1991
Box   2  
Wauseon Public Library, Wauseon, Ohio, exhibit 1973
Box   2  
Women's American ORT auctions 1975-1977
 
Supplemental materials [series]

The SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS series includes Art Organizations & Associations of which Kemnitz was a member. The chronological Correspondence files are primarily letters to Kemnitz, and many of them relate to his professional life. Miscellaneous Personal Material includes articles about Kemnitz, the folders about the Bird Hills Park controversy, newspaper clippings, personal milestones, and two dismounted scrapbooks documenting his career.

 
Art Organizations and Associations
Box   2  
Ann Arbor Art Association 1959-1987
Box   2  
Bloomfield Art Association 1973-1978
Box   2  
Detroit Artists Market 1958-1982
Box   2  
Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society 1963-1980
Box   2  
Flint Institute of Arts 1973-1994
Box   2  
Michigan Watercolor Society 1961-1993
Box   2  
Toledo Museum of Art 1973-1989
Box   2  
Washtenaw County Historical Society 1963-1994
 
Correspondence
Box   2  
Letters from Waldo and Dottie Grenier 1960-1992
 
Miscellaneous
Box   2  
1941-1976
Box   2  
1977-1983
Box   2  
1984-1994, Undated
Box   2  
Politicians 1964-1990
Box   2  
Thank yous for charitable donations 1963-1994
Box   2  
University of Michigan 1932-1995 (scattered dates)
 
Miscellaneous Personal Material
Box   2  
Articles about Kemnitz 1978-1992
 
Bird Hills Park Controversy
Box   2  
General undated, 1968-1991 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Clippings 1968-1991 (4 folders)
Box   2  
Clippings (3 folders)
 
Milestones
Box   3  
Kemnitz honored for fifty year membership at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor 1987
Box   3  
"Milt Kemnitz Day," 1974
Box   3  
University of Michigan Class of 1933 50th reunion 1983
Box   3  
Miscellaneous (2 folders)
 
Scrapbooks (dismounted)
Box   3  
Scrapbook 1, ca. 1980-1984
Box   3  
Scrapbook 2, ca. 1990-1993
Box   3  
Student (U-M) papers (2 expandable folders)
 
Southern white migration to Detroit in the 1930s [series]

The SOUTHERN WHITE MIGRATION TO DETROIT IN THE 1930s series dates mainly from 1936-1937 when Kemnitz, as part of a sociology course at the University of Michigan conducted interviews and made observations on the topic of the adjustment and life of Southern whites who migrated to the industrial North. The files provide some information on church life, the reaction of shop keepers and social agencies to the migrants, their work within the auto plants, and general living conditions. Of note is the information accumulated relating to activities of the Black Legion in Michigan. Some of these files were created by a classmate of Kemnitz, Elmer Akers.

 
Project Files:
Box   3  
Case analyses, various tabulations, and data
Box   3  
Correspondence
Box   3  
Maps, statistical tracts, articles
Box   3  
"Labor migration and Social Security" (Outline of purpose and problem)
Box   3  
Summaries of individual interviews and related
Box   3  
Completed questionnaires
Box   3  
Summaries of interviews and observations (with those who interacted with the Southern whites: churches, shop keepers, social agencies; includes some notes on Black Legion members and activities)
 
Seminar reports and research papers
Box   3  
Elmer Akers. "A social psychological interpretation of the Black Legion" 1937
Box   3  
Elmer Akers."Southern whites in Detroit" July 1937
Box   3  
Elmer Akers."Southern white migration to the Detroit area" (with Milton Kemnitz) 1937
Box   3  
Southern white migration seminar reports
Box   3  
A.H. Hawley seminar paper: "The mobility of Southern immigrant in Detroit" 1937

(for Sociology 262, The Metropolitan Community)

 
Related Materials
Box   3  
Correspondence with Social Security Board regarding appointment and travel expenses
Box   3  
"Emergency relief policies since 1930" (term report for seminar conducted by William Haber)
Box   3  
Report before the meeting of Earhart Scholars
Box   3  
Unemployment compensation research
Box   3  
"An analysis of Detroit purchasing power by districts"