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.



Lyckle de Vries Research Files on Jan Steen

Research files compiled by Lyckle De Vries, arranged by work of art, on Jan Havickszoon Steen (1626–1679), a prolific Dutch genre painter of the 17th- century Dutch Golden Age.

Walter and Matilda Gay Collection

Walter Gay (1856–1937) was an American artist known for his paintings of interiors. For the better part of his life, Gay lived in France, where he met and married heiress and fellow expatriate Matilda E. Travers (1855–1943). The bulk of this collection is formed by Matilda Gay's diaries, which provide detailed insight into the Gays' daily life as well as American expatriate life in France before, during, and after World War I.

Stanford White Collection

Collection of materials related to Stanford White (1853–1906), American architect, art collector and dealer, and partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. The collection includes a 1942 typescript inventory of works of art at Box Hill, the former Stanford White estate in Long Island, as well as a scrapbook on works of art collected by Stanford White, including paintings, sculpture, rugs, tapestries, and other decorative arts.

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.

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.

Clarke Sketchbook

Small sketchbook (approximately 9 x 6 in.) contains about twenty-five pencil drawings, mainly of houses, sailboats, and lighthouses in Indiana and 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.

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.

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.

Vollon Correspondence Collection, 1846-1937

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