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.



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.

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 (1908-1977), 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.

Josef Albers Papers, 1933–1961

Artwork, exhibition catalogs 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.