Manuscript Collections

Manuscript collections in The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library Archives consist primarily of art research files, gallery records, photographs of artists, and artists' correspondence and personal papers that were donated to the Frick Art Reference Library. The research files of art scholars contain correspondence, photographs, notes, and printed material and include documentation of such artists as Gilbert Stuart and Gian Paolo Panini, as well as general research on early American artists and Western European art. The records of two galleries, the American Art Association and Peter H. Davidson & Co., Inc., contain sales records, inventories, correspondence, and photographs of artwork. Artists are documented through collections of photographs and letters, photographs of artists in their studios, and papers of two artists, Charles Hawthorne and Raymond P. R. Neilson.

Below is a current list of Manuscript Collections, each with a brief description and links to the finding aid and catalog record when available.

Manuscript Collections

38 records

Alfred Moir Papers, 1939 to 1990.

Papers and research files of art historian and collector Alfred Moir (1924–2010), containing photographs, research notes, correspondence, writings, and documents relating to his personal art collection. Art collecting content emphasizes Old Master drawings, while research content focuses on Italian baroque art, particularly the work of Caravaggio and his followers.

American Art Association Records, 1877–1924

Correspondence, approximately 1,000 photographs, notes, and printed material documenting selected auction sales conducted by the American Art Association.

Anna Kleinman Research Files on Rosalba Carriera, undated

Typescript photocopies of the English translations of the correspondence and diary of Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757), prominent Venetian Rococo portraitist. Also includes explanatory footnotes, biographical sketches of correspondents, and microfilm of the original documents.

Anton Mauve Sketchbook

Anton Mauve (1838–1888) was a Dutch realist painter.  His best known paintings depict peasants working in the fields and his paintings of flocks of sheep were especially popular in America. He was a leading member of The Hague School of painters and was influenced by the French painters Jean-François Millet and Camille Corot. This small sketchbook (7.5 x 4.5 in) contains approximately forty sketches of landscapes, figures, and animals, mainly executed in charcoal.

Architecture Images Collection, circa 1900–1920

Photographs and reproductions of examples of American architecture, including residences, public buildings, and religious buildings collected by Royal Cortissoz. Also includes photographs of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, and photographs of the interior of the Players Club, New York, in 1907.

Artists' Correspondence, 1596–1925

A collection of approximately twenty-five letters from various artists received by the Frick Art Reference Library as gifts. The artists lived mainly during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The subjects discussed in the letters are both personal and professional, including some references to the artists' works. The content of the letter is noted in the finding aid when possible; some letters are in French or Italian.

Bignou Gallery Albums, circa 1930s–1940s

Thirty-three albums containing photographs and descriptions of artwork that passed through the hands of the Bignou Gallery (New York) during the 1930s and 1940s. The artists included are mainly French from the eighteenth through the twentieth century and include such luminaries as Cézanne, Corot, Dufy, Matisse, and Renoir.

Byers Family Art Collection Inventories, 1900–1977

This collection includes a handwritten volume, circa 1900; a 1935 typed inventory; and later lists that document the art collection of A.M. Byers, a prominent art collector and iron manufacturer in the Pittsburgh area, and his family.

Catalog of the George Jay Gould Collection, 1945

The album catalogs the contents of the art collection of George Jay Gould, the railroad executive. Included are photographs and accompanying typed information for thirty-seven paintings. The artists represented are from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century and are mainly French; two works are by Dutch artists.

Charles K. Bolton Card Files, 1939

Research notes of Charles K. Bolton (Boston Athenaeum Librarian and author) for his unpublished manuscript, Workers with Line and Color in New England 1620–1870: Biographical Notices of Artists and Art Craftsmen Born before 1845.

Charles W. Hawthorne Papers, 1904–1947

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and research material regarding the work of Charles W. Hawthorne, American painter and founder of the Cape Cod School of Art.

Clarke Sketchbook

Small sketchbook (approximately 9 x 6 in.) contains approximately twenty-five pencil drawings, mainly of houses, sailboats, and lighthouses in Indiana or Massachusetts. The drawings were executed by William E. Clarke, a well-known organist in Massachusetts, and his brother, Lynn Winthrop Clarke (1877–1932), a judge, when they were young.

Coe Kerr Gallery Records

Records document works of art that passed through the Coe Kerr Gallery, arranged alphabetically by artist's last name, and mainly contain photographs and/or descriptions of the works of art, including provenance information.  The Coe Kerr Gallery operated from 1968 to 1993 and handled a variety of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American artists including Andrew Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent. 

College Art Association of America Records, 1919–1938

Documents the research conducted by the College Art Association of America for their publication The Index of Twentieth-Century Artists, through correspondence, exhibition catalogues, press releases, and news clippings. Other material was gathered by the staff of Parnassus, another College Art Association publication.

Downham Hall Inventories

Two inventories completed in 1880 and 1881 listing the contents of Downham Hall, an estate that was located in Suffolk, England. The first, "An Inventory of the Household Furniture, Books, Pictures, and Effects at Downham Hall," details the contents of fifty rooms and spaces within the house as well as outbuildings and gardens. The second, "List of Furniture at Downham Hall belonging to Edward Philippe Mackenzie," details Edward Philippe Mackenzie's furniture, rugs, pictures, linens, and other furnishings found in eighteen rooms.

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Artists Collection, 1756–1838

Correspondence, engravings, printed material, and ephemera from eighteenth and nineteenth century British artists most likely compiled by art authority Charles Henry Hart (1847–1918). Most of the letters are written to either Joseph Nollekens (1737–1823) or to Ozias Humphry (1742–1810). Many of the correspondents were students or professors at the Royal Academy, Associates of the Royal Academy, or Royal Academicians.

Hesselius Family Papers, 1780–1822

Correspondence of the descendants of Gustave Hesselius, including his granddaughter, Elizabeth Henderson Wertmuller, her mother, Lydia Hesselius Henderson, and her aunt Mary Hesselius, as well as other relatives, concerning personal and business matters.

Images of Artists, circa 1800s–1900s

Collection of images of nearly two hundred artists, including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Jacob Maris, Edvard Munch, and Auguste Rodin.

J. Hall Pleasants Research Files, 1924–1959

Correspondence with Frick Art Reference Library staff and copies of the research notes of J. Hall Pleasants, an authority on early Maryland painters and their works.

John Appleton Brown Sketchbooks

John Appleton Brown (1844–1902) was an American Impressionist painter. These two small sketchbooks include approximately thirty pencil drawings of lake and mountain landscapes and structures in the Swiss Alps, and approximately thrity-five pencil sketches of landscapes, figures, and botanical specimens.

John Hill Morgan Research Files, 1922–1944

Correspondence, photographs, notes, printed material, and some drafts of John Hill Morgan’s writings on George Washington portraits and other early American paintings. Also contains information on the George J. Shepard/John J. Hughes/Ferdinand Danton fakes.

Josef Albers Papers, 1933–1961

Artwork, exhibition catalogues and announcements, writings, and clippings that document the career of artist and art educator Josef Albers (1888–1976). Collection includes three original woodcut prints, as well as photographs and reproductions of works.

Juliette Tomlinson Research Files on Joseph Whiting Stock, 1976–1987

Correspondence and research of Juliette Tomlinson on the American folk artist Joseph Whiting Stock (1815–1855). The collection contains Tomlinson’s correspondence regarding paintings by Stock, photocopies of Stock’s personal documents and other biographical material, and some images.

Katharine McCook Knox Research Files, 1924–1979

Drafts, research notes, and correspondence concerning Knox’s publication, The Story of the Frick Art Reference Library: The Early Years (1979). Also contains material on her book about the Sharples family, other early American artists, portraits in the White House, and Library photographing expeditions.

Lawrence Park Diary, 1923

Lawrence Park’s diary of the Frick Art Reference Library photographing expedition to South Carolina in the spring of 1923.

Lawrence Park Research Files on Gilbert Stuart, 1920–1924

Correspondence concerning the provenance and authentication of paintings by Gilbert Stuart used in Park’s publication, Gilbert Stuart: An Illustrated Descriptive List of His Works (1926).

Lucy B. Mitchell Research Files on James Sanford Ellsworth, 1952–1987

Data sheets on individual portraits, photographs, correspondence, research notes, and printed materials document Mitchell's research on the life and works of American folk artist James Sanford Ellsworth (1802–74). The collection also includes genealogical information about the sitters.

Peter H. Davidson & Co., Inc. Records, 1951–1991

Artist files, stock books, subject files, photographs, and correspondence documenting the activities of Davidson’s New York art gallery in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Peter H. Davidson & Co., Inc. Weir Records, 1957–1991

Correspondence, photographs, provenance records, invoices, inventories, and printed material pertaining to Davidson's association with the descendants of painter J. Alden Weir. Also concerns the creation of the Weir Foundation and the effort to designate Weir Farm, the home of J. Alden Weir, a national park.

Photographs of Artists in Their Studios, circa 1885–1890

Seventy-four photographs of artists in their studios from the collection of artist Frank Stokes, including Léon Durand Bonnat, Henri-Joseph Harpignies, Anna Elizabeth Klumpke, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Madeleine Jeanne Lemaire.

Raymond P. R. Neilson Papers, circa 1930s–1950s

Diaries, notebooks, and other notes regarding the work of New York City portraitist, still-life painter, and art instructor Raymond P. R. Neilson. The collection also includes some correspondence regarding portrait commissions.

Richard P. Wunder Research Files, 1948–1987

Research files of art historian Richard P. Wunder, containing artwork files, photographs, correspondence, writings, and notes. His research on Gian Paolo Panini forms the bulk of the collection, though Hyacinthe Rigaud, Emmanuel Leutze, and architectural and theater drawings are also featured in his research.

Schaeffer Galleries Records, undated

Collection contains descriptive information and provenance for works of art that passed through the Schaeffer Galleries. Files may also include photographs of artwork, photocopies of research material, and/or bibliographic notecards. Schaeffer Galleries operated in Berlin from 1925-1939 and in New York City from 1936-2000 and specialized in Old Master paintings and drawings.

Sister Mary of the Compassion (Constance Mary Rowe) Collection, 1959–circa 1970s

Holy cards and greeting cards, photographs and postcards of paintings, and clippings document the work of the artist Sister Mary of the Compassion (1908–77), formerly known as Constance Mary Rowe, a member of the Community of the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in the Blue Chapel, Union City, N.J.

Theodore Bolton Card Files, 1922–1925

Notecards created by the Frick Art Reference Library staff from material compiled by Theodore Bolton (art historian, artist, and librarian) for intended dictionary of early American oil painters. Cards contain biographical information on artists and descriptions of individual portraits.

Thomas Sully Manuscript and Sketches

Manuscript written in Thomas Sully's hand in a notebook with lined paper, titled "Incidents in the life of Thomas Sully; chiefly of painting." Sully, who wrote the account when he was 88 years old, describes his technique, imparts formulas, relates his experiences, and refers to British and American artists of the period such as Gilbert Stuart, Rembrandt Peale, John Singleton Copley, and Benjamin West. Two original ink sketches for Sully's portraits of John Quincy Adams, 1823, and General Lafayette, 1826, accompany the manuscript.

Vollon Correspondence Collection, 1846-1937

Correspondence and other documentation relating to French nineteenth century artist, Antoine Vollon, his son, Alexis Vollon, and their peers.

William Suhr Conservation Ledgers, 1938–1957

Two ledgers recording William Suhr’s conservation work for The Frick Collection and other prominent museums, collectors, and dealers from 1938 to 1957. Each entry consists of the date work was begun, the owner’s name, the artist and title of the work, conservation treatment performed, the amount charged, and the date completed.