A Written Account of
the Life of Stanley Cousins
by Richard Nettlow
I was a student of Ray Smith, who would eventually become a Monks & Friars member, at Dearborn High School. I was in the printing program, and I particularly enjoyed the letterpress part of the program. I did a lot of letterpress work in the shop, other students work on the offset machines, but I learned the Linotype, and there was a Heidelberg Windmill, some platen presses, and Miehle Vertical. I would stay after school quite a bit, and work on the letterpress.
The former instructor from Etzel Ford High School was Leonard Stolfo, who was a member of the Monks & Friars. He was retired by that time, and he would come to Ray Smith’s (who would also become a M&F member) shop at Dearborn High. He would use the Miehle Vertical, or Ludlow, or the Linotype, and I would help Leonard out. He eventually invited me to come to a meeting for the Monks & Friars, at Cregars Pickwick House at the corner of Outer Drive and Southfield, where they used to have their meeting and put together their calendar. This was around 1985, 1986, when I joined, and I met Stan Couzins.
Stanley Cousins was born in North Carolina, around 1915. He and his wife, Wenona, were married in 1933 (I think when she was 16, and he was 18) on New Years Day. Stan got involved in printing and went to different newspapers as a pressman for many years. They ended up in Oklahoma City, and from there they came to Detroit, moving for work, in about 1936. They lived in the city, on Southfield Rd., on the corner of Linden—right on the service drive. He was a great collector of trains, and was an APA (APA 431) member for many years. He printed on an 8x12 Chandler & Price New Series, and had a Golding Pearl that he never printed on, that I now have at the farm.
In Detroit, Stan worked at the Detroit Times. He left for WWII, and returned to the Times when he came back. When the Detroit Times closed in 1960, he went to work for the Detroit Free Press. As I said, he worked for a number of years, and he only retired because he was forced to retire. In about 1961 or 1962, he got involved with a group of people that wanted to print, who became the charter members of the Monks & Friars.
This group was founded when the curator at Greenfield Village invited a group of people to the village, and they decided to create a chapel. Some of the printers considered themselves intellectuals, and printers like Stan (and Junior, and Jim) were hands on printers—they wanted to preserve the history. These two groups of members had different ideas, and soon after founding they decided the group wouldn’t work—and there was some animosity between the members.
Stan, anticipating this breakup, went to the Wayne County offices and registered the Monks & Friars under his own name, so that the other half of the group couldn’t. They split the club, Stan keeping the name, and the rest taking the money in the treasury and moving the club to Lansing, MI, creating the Brayer and Bodkin. According to Stan, he got a copy of their calendar the next year, and said “you’ve never seen such an asinine mixed up mess.” So the intellectuals didn’t know how to print too well, I guess. But the Brayer and Bodkin continued, and died off for a while, to come back as the Michigan Letterpress Guild.
*Stan’s collection of presses and type still exists, in the collection of Richard Nettlow and G.F. Schulze.