Finding Aid for the Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series VII: Frick Art Museum HCFF.2.7 HCFF.2.7

Summary Information

Repository
The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives10 East 71st Street
New York, NY, 10021
archives@frick.org
 © 2014 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Creator
Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984.
Title
Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series VII: Frick Art Museum
ID
HCFF.2.7
Date
1929-1994 (Bulk, 1965-1984)
Extent
9.1 Linear feet (14 boxes)
Abstract
Helen Clay Frick, daughter of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick, founded the Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh in 1970. These files document construction of the museum building, and events, publications, and programming during the early years of the institution.

Preferred Citation

Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series VI: Frick Art Museum. The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

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Biographical Note

Helen Clay Frick, daughter of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick and Adelaide Howard Childs Frick, was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1888. She was educated by a Swiss governess until her family moved to New York in 1905, and then attended the Spence School, graduating in 1908. Helen Clay Frick displayed interest in the fine arts from an early age, and compiled a catalog of her father's art collection as early as 1909. Following her father's death in 1919, she founded the Frick Art Reference Library in New York, and supported the activities of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She served as a trustee of The Frick Collection from 1920-1961.

In the early 1960s, Helen Clay Frick commissioned the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Building on the University of Pittsburgh campus. This building held a library, lecture hall, exhibition spaces, and a cloister containing copies of Italian frescoes commissioned from the Russian painter Nicholas Lochoff. Helen Clay Frick loaned many objects from her own collection of art for display, and hand-picked certain members of the department's staff, including librarian Virginia Lewis and art historian Walter Read Hovey. By 1967, however, Helen Clay Frick began to disagree with certain aspects of the administration of the department. Unable to resolve their differences, Helen Clay Frick removed her personal property from the building and severed her longstanding ties with the University.

Still wishing to share her personal art collection with the people of Pittsburgh, Helen Clay Frick established the Frick Art Museum on the grounds of Clayton, her childhood home. The museum, designed by the Pittsburgh architectural firm of Thomas C. Pratt & Associates, was opened to the public in 1970, with Virginia Lewis as its first director. It is now part of Pittsburgh’s Frick Art & Historical Center.

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Scope and Content Note

These papers consist of correspondence, publication records, guest books, architectural drawings, programs, pamphlets, clippings, and other printed material pertaining to the founding and early years of the Frick Art Museum. These materials document the construction of the museum building, the acquisition, loan, and care and display of art objects, publication of two books drawing on museum holdings, programming such as concerts, lectures, and films, and events surrounding the opening of the museum in 1970 and the dedication of two trees in honor of Helen Clay Frick’s parents in 1980. Materials are arranged in the following five subseries:

Subseries I: Correspondence, 1965-1981 and undated, consists largely of files compiled by Helen Clay Frick’s secretary, Julia B. Egan, discussing the purchase, loan, display, reproduction, restoration, and appraisal of art objects, as well as staff, building matters, and general administration of the Frick Art Museum. Also included in the secretary’s files are regular letters from museum director Virginia Lewis with updates on museum activities. Other correspondents represented in this subseries include attorneys David B. Buerger and William F. Knox, Walter Read Hovey, former head of the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and Helen Clay Frick’s longtime employee Walter Cooley. One file in this subseries gives details about a small bequest to the museum from Helen Clay Frick’s cousin, Marianne Rea Hamilton.

Subseries II: Events and Publications, 1970-1994 and undated, contains files regarding lecture, concert, and film series, as well as events surrounding the opening of the museum in 1970 and tree dedication ceremony in 1980. Materials also include newsletters, guest books, and publication files for The Arts in Changing Societies: Reflections Inspired by Works of Art in the Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh, Five Lectures by Walter Read Hovey (1972), and  Treasures of The Frick Art Museum (1975).

Subseries III: Construction, 1967-1970 and undated, includes clippings, correspondence, photographs, samples, and plans and drawings documenting aspects of construction at the Frick Art Museum. See note regarding related materials below for additional architectural plans.

Subseries IV: Virginia E. Lewis Files, 1929, 1953-1984 and undated, contain the personal files of Miss Lewis, founding director of the Frick Art Museum. These files include book catalogs and prospectuses, correspondence, travel itineraries, clippings, and biographical information, and provide details about Lewis’ academic career and professional life prior to joining the Frick Art Museum. They also document her professional memberships and local recognition she received from the Pittsburgh community. To a lesser extent, they provide insight into day to day activities at the museum. Most of the information about daily museum operations in this subseries can be found in the letters of Mary Alice Connors, Lewis’ secretary, who wrote frequently during Lewis’ absences from Pittsburgh. Additional material regarding daily activities at the museum can be found in Subseries I: Correspondence.

Subseries V: Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1969-1985 and undated, contains clippings about the Frick Art Museum, brochures about the care of museum and library collections, a directory for the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, and duplicate offprints of Helen Clay Frick’s essay on Jean Antoine Houdon’s bust of Madame Houdon, originally published in The Art Bulletin in September 1947.

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Arrangement

Materials are arranged in the following subseries:

Subseries I: Correspondence, 1965-1981, undated

Subseries II: Events and Publications, 1970-1994, undated

Subseries III: Construction, 1967-1970

Subseries IV: Virginia E. Lewis Files, 1929, 1953-1984, undated

Subseries V: Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1969-1985, undated

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

These records are open for research under the conditions of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives access policy. Contact the Archives Department for further information at archives@frick.org.

Provenance

On deposit from the Helen Clay Frick Foundation, 2001.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Julie Ludwig, 2014.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Additional architectural materials relating to the Frick Art Museum can be found within the Frick Family Papers - Maps and Plans in this repository. A list of these materials is given below.

Thomas C. Pratt and Assoc., architects. Site plan for Frick Art Museum, 5 May 1968.

Proposed renovations to Frick Art Museum (Sheet A1), 12 March 1985.

Site plan for Frick Art Museum showing new conduit between Clayton, greenhouse, and gardener's house, 10 March 1981.

Schafer & Slowik, architects. Proposed renovations to Frick Art Museum and Frick Carriage Museum, 12 March and 29 March 1985.

Schafer & Slowik, architects. Proposed renovations to the Frick Art Museum (proposed apartment, revisions A and B), 12 March 1985.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Frick Art Museum (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984.
  • Hovey, Walter Read, b. 1895.
  • Lewis, Virginia E., b. 1907.

Subject(s)

  • Art museums--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.

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Collection Inventory

Subseries I. Correspondence, 1965-1981, undated
 

The bulk of this subseries consists of files compiled by Helen Clay Frick’s secretary, Julia B. Egan, discussing the purchase, loan, display, reproduction, restoration, and appraisal of art objects, as well as staff, building matters, and general administration of the Frick Art Museum. Also included in the secretary’s files are regular letters from museum director Virginia Lewis with updates on museum activities. Other correspondents represented in this subseries include attorneys David B. Buerger and William F. Knox, Walter Read Hovey, former head of the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and Helen Clay Frick’s longtime employee Walter Cooley. One file in this subseries gives details about a small bequest to the museum from Helen Clay Frick’s cousin, Marianne Rea Hamilton.

Materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Date
1 1

Bequest of Marianne Rea Hamilton
 

1977-1978
1 2

Buerger, David B [attorney]
 

1970
1 3

Cooley, Walter F., Jr.
 

1971
1 4

Hovey, Walter
 

1977
1 5

Knox, William F. [attorney]
 

1970
1 6-8

Lewis, Virginia E.
 

1971-1981
1 9-15

Secretary's file
 

General correspondence files compiled by Helen Clay Frick's secretary, Julia B. Egan. Topics include the purchase, display, reproduction, and loan of art objects, as well as staff, building matters, and general administration.

1966-1974
2 1

Secretary's file, continued
 

1974-1977
2 2-4

Secretary's file re: paintings
 

Topics include purchase, restoration, and appraisal of paintings.

1965-1973
2 5

Thank you cards
 

undated

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Subseries II. Events and Publications, 1970-1994, undated
 

Contains files regarding lecture, concert, and film series, as well as events surrounding the opening of the museum in 1970 and tree dedication ceremony in 1980. Materials also include newsletters, guest books, and publication files for The Arts in Changing Societies: Reflections Inspired by Works of Art in the Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh, Five Lectures by Walter Read Hovey (1972), and  Treasures of The Frick Art Museum (1975).

Materials are grouped by event or publication.

Box Folder Date
2 6

The Arts in Changing Societies - Typescript
 

circa 1972
2 7

The Arts in Changing Societies - Original manuscript sent to printer
 

circa 1972
2 8

The Arts in Changing Societies - Carbon of copy sent to printer
 

circa 1972
2 9

The Arts in Changing Societies - Captions for illustrations
 

1972
2 10

The Arts in Changing Societies - First proof
 

circa 1972
2 11

The Arts in Changing Societies - Second proof
 

circa 1972
2 12

The Arts in Changing Societies - Third proof
 

circa 1972
2 13

The Arts in Changing Societies - Fourth proof
 

circa 1972
3 1

The Arts in Changing Societies - Fifth proof
 

circa 1972
3 2

The Arts in Changing Societies - Miscellaneous proofs and notes
 

1972
3 3

The Arts in Changing Societies - Publisher's dummy
 

circa 1972
3 4

The Arts in Changing Societies - Page proofs
 

circa 1972
3 5

The Arts in Changing Societies - Photographs (figures 1-7)
 

circa 1972
3 6

The Arts in Changing Societies - Photographs (figures 8-25)
 

circa 1972
3 7

The Arts in Changing Societies - Photographs (figures 26-45)
 

circa 1972
3 8-9

Concerts - Frick Art Museum Concert Series
 

Includes brochures for the season and programs for individual concerts.

1970-1977
4 1

Concerts - Harp concert by Marcela Kozikova and Lucile Johnson
 

1973?
4 2-7

Concerts - Special concert by Byron Janis
 

Includes correspondence, guest lists, invoices, clippings, acceptances, regrets, and thank you notes.

1974-1975
4 8

Film series
 

1971
4 9-10

Frick A See newsletters
 

1971-1980
5 1

Frick A See newsletters, continued
 

1981-1985
5 2-5

Guest books
 

1970-1984
6 1-3

Guest books, continued
 

1985-1987, 1994
6 4

Lecture series
 

1971-1975
6 5

"Madame Jean Antoine Houdon" by Helen C. Frick
 

Offprint from The Art Bulletin, September 1947. Duplicate copies housed at the end of the collection.

undated
6 6

Museum opening - General correspondence re: opening events
 

1970
6 7

Museum opening - Invitations
 

1970
6 8

Museum opening - Acceptances and regrets to inaugural concert
 

1970
6 9

Museum opening - Acceptances and regrets to museum preview
 

1970
6 10

Museum opening - Acceptances to neighbors' preview
 

1970
6 12

Museum opening - Regrets to private opening
 

1970
6 11

Museum opening - Acceptances to private opening
 

1970
7 1

Museum opening - Regrets to private opening, continued
 

1970
7 2

Postcards
 

undated
7 3

Scrapbooks
 

1970-1979
7 4-6

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Manuscript drafts
 

Two scrapbooks containing programs, brochures, tickets, invitations, and photographs

1975
7 7

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Preparatory material re: captions and illustrations
 

1975
7 8

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Preparatory material re: text, etc.
 

1975
7 9

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Publisher's dummy
 

1975
7 10

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Page proofs
 

1975
7 11

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Publication announcement
 

1975
7 12

Treasures of the Frick Art Museum - Thank you letters
 

See: Oversize A

1975
7 13

Tree Dedication Ceremony - Invitations, guest lists, replies, and thank yous
 

1980
8 1

Tree Dedication Ceremony - Address by Bishop Austin Pardue
 

1980

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Subseries III. Construction, 1967-1970, undated
 

Subseries includes clippings, correspondence, photographs, samples, and plans and drawings documenting aspects of construction at the Frick Art Museum. See note regarding related materials above for additional architectural plans.

Arranged alphabetically by material type.

Box Folder Date
8 2

Clippings
 

1968-1969
8 3

Correspondence - A.J. Clemente Corp.
 

1968-1969
8 4

Correspondence - Lacewell, L.K.
 

1969
8 5

Correspondence - Pratt-Schafer-Slowik
 

Enclosed schematic drawings removed to Oversize D.

1967-1970
8 6

Perspective study from Reynolds Street
 

See: Oversize D

1967
8 7

Photographs
 

1969
8 8

Plans and drawings
 

Includes preliminary elevations, sections, and floor plans.

1967-1969, undated
8 9

Rotunda plan and elevations
 

See: Oversize D

1968
8 10

Samples
 

See: Oversize A

1969
8 11

Wainscoting for Gallery 3, Sheet #F-2 [2 copies]
 

See: Oversize D

1969
8 12

Watercolor sketch of entrance to French Room
 

See: Oversize A

undated

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Subseries IV: Virginia E. Lewis Files, 1929, 1953-1984, undated
 

Personal files of Virginia E. Lewis, founding director of the Frick Art Museum. Includes book catalogs and prospectuses, correspondence, travel itineraries, clippings, and biographical information. These files provide details about Lewis’ academic career and professional life prior to joining the Frick Art Museum. They also document her professional memberships and local recognition she received from the Pittsburgh community. To a lesser extent, they provide insight into day to day activities at the museum. Most of the information about daily museum operations in this subseries can be found in the letters of Mary Alice Connors, Lewis’ secretary, who wrote frequently during Lewis’ absences from Pittsburgh. For additional material regarding daily activities at the museum, see Subseries I: Correspondence above.

Materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Date
8 13

Book lists, catalogs, and prospectuses
 

1972-1979
9 1-2

Book lists, catalogs, and prospectuses, continued
 

1980-1984
9 3

Clippings
 

1953, 1978, undated
9 4

Correspondence - Connors, Mary Alice ("Mac")
 

1970-1977
9 5

Correspondence - Ketchum, Inc.
 

1981
9 6-9

Correspondence - Personal
 

1967-1984
10 1

Kaufmann's Salute to Virginia E. Lewis
 

1974-1978
10 2

Monday Luncheon Club
 

1968-1973
10 3

Pre-Frick Art Museum materials
 

Curriculum vitae, personal history statements, applications, clippings, etc.

1929, 1957-1963
10 4

Samples of material
 

undated
10 5

Time-Life Books, Inc.
 

Re: reproducing "View of Pittsburgh from the Salt Works on Saw Mill Run, 1838"

1982
10 6

Trip to Europe
 

1974
10 7

Trips to Italy
 

1976, 1984

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Subseries V. Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1969-1985, undated
 

Contains clippings about the Frick Art Museum, brochures about the care of museum and library collections, a directory for the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, and duplicate offprints of Helen Clay Frick’s essay on Jean Antoine Houdon’s bust of Madame Houdon, originally published in The Art Bulletin in September 1947.

Box Folder Date
10 8

National Fire Protection Association brochures
 

Protection of Library Collections

Protection of Museum Collections

1969
10 9

Newspaper clippings
 

1970-1985
10 10

Shadyside Presbyterian Church directory
 

1973-1974
10 11-12

Duplicates - "Madame Jean Antoine Houdon" by Helen C. Frick
 

Offprint from The Art Bulletin, September 1947.

undated

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