Finding Aid for the Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Youth and Education, 1889-1924 HCFF.2.1

 Part of the Frick Family Papers, on deposit from the Helen Clay Frick Foundation

Summary Information

Repository
The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives10 East 71st Street
New York, NY, 10021
archives@frick.org
 © 2012 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Creator
Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984.
Title
Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Youth and Education
ID
HCFF.2.1
Date [inclusive]
1889-1924
Extent
3.5 Linear feet (7 boxes)
Abstract
Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984) was the daughter of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick. She was also a philanthropist and founder of the Frick Art Reference Library in New York. These papers consist of notebooks, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia dating from her youth and education in Pittsburgh and New York.

Preferred Citation

Helen Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Youth and Education. The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Return to Top »


Biographical Note

Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984) was the daughter of industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick and Adelaide H.C. Frick. Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., her early education took place at Clayton, the Frick family home in that city. Under the tutelage of Swiss governess Marika Ogiz, Helen Clay Frick studied foreign languages, music, history, mythology, science, mathematics, and other subjects. Mlle. Ogiz became a close friend of the family, and often traveled with them both domestically and abroad. After her return to Switzerland, the Fricks continued to provide financial support to her and her family, and often visited her while they were abroad. In 1905, Henry Clay Frick relocated his family to the Vanderbilt mansion at 640 Fifth Avenue in New York. Helen Clay Frick enrolled at Miss Spence's School for Girls, graduating in 1908. She made her debut into Pittsburgh society that same year.

As an adult, Helen Clay Frick focused her efforts on philanthropy and the study of art history. In 1909, she founded the Iron Rail Vacation Home in Wenham, Mass., as a retreat for young girls who worked in the textile mills around Boston. She founded the Frick Art Reference Library in New York in 1920, and served as a trustee of The Frick Collection until her resignation in 1961. Helen Clay Frick was instrumental in the establishment of the art history department at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the 1960s, she provided funds to construct the Frick Fine Arts Building in honor of her father. Subsequent disagreements with the University, however, compelled her to withdraw her support, and in 1970, she built the Frick Art Museum on the grounds at Clayton to house her personal art collection. For many years, she divided her time between her family home in Pittsburgh, her farm in Bedford, N.Y., and the family's summer home in Prides Crossing, Mass. Helen Clay Frick died at Clayton in 1984.

Return to Top »


Scope and Contents note

This series, the bulk of which dates from 1897 to 1908, consists of compositions, grade books, notebooks, scrapbooks, printed material, and ephemera, including paper dolls and a Parisian board game. These materials document the type and quality of Helen Clay Frick's academic training, her youthful interests and recreational pursuits, and to a lesser extent, give some insight into her religious and physical education. They detail Helen Clay Frick's studies in foreign languages, music, mathematics, history, literature, ethics, and other subjects, and give a sense of her relationship with her parents and her Swiss governess, Marika Ogiz.

The bulk of the series consists of notebooks on school-related topics, and date from Helen Clay Frick's studies in both Pittsburgh and New York. Early notebooks often contain corrections and comments by Mlle. Ogiz. In addition to these evaluations, Ogiz also compiled grade books, which provide a weekly overview of Helen Clay Frick's performance, conduct, and attendance. The grade books contain lists of topics studied, indicate the employment of additional tutors (e.g. Harriet T. Duff and piano teacher Mr. McGinnis), and note non-instructional days due to holidays, travel, or illness. These books were regularly shared with Helen Clay Frick's parents, as indicated by frequent comments from her father, and occasional contributions by her mother. Later grade reports issued by the Spence School are collected into a bound volume bearing an inscription from Henry Clay Frick to his daughter. In addition to the notebooks and grade books, this series also contains a scrapbook dating from Helen Clay Frick's time at the Spence School. This scrapbook commemorates her graduation, with details about her class, a class portrait, signatures of her teachers, programs, a class "prophecy," and calling cards and invitations from friends. One loose program and one within the scrapbook document school productions for the benefit of charity.

Helen Clay Frick's 1908 graduation from Spence marked the end of her formal education, and she made her debut in society later that same year in Pittsburgh. Documents and memorabilia from that event include a dance card, guest lists, and a scrapbook with images, clippings, and notes. The scrapbook also contains a few scattered items from the year following Miss Frick's debut, notably clippings about the Iron Rail Vacation Home, her first philanthropic endeavor, located in Wenham, Mass., and notices regarding the engagement and wedding of her childhood friend, Virginia Frew, to Thruston Wright.

Return to Top »


Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by genre and/or subject.

Return to Top »


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, 2012.

Return to Top »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Spence School.

Genre(s)

  • Notebooks.
  • Scrapbooks.

Personal Name(s)

  • Frick, Adelaide Howard Childs, 1859-1931.
  • Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1948--Childhood and youth.
  • Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984.
  • Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919.
  • Ogiz, Marika, d. 1952.

Subject(s)

  • Debutantes--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Governesses.

Return to Top »


Collection Inventory

1 1

Board game - "Jumeau's Dolls"
 

1889

Return to Top »


1 2

Books
 

Gold Dust: A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life, translated and abridged from the French by E.L.E.B., 1894. Inscribed to Helen Clay Frick from Marika Ogiz, 1903

Hymnal, 1892. "Helen C. Frick" stamped in gold on the cover.

Le Nouveau Testament, 1901.

Sunshine and Starlight, by Mary H. Seymour, 1890. Inscribed to Helen Clay Frick from Mrs. Whitney, 1897.

1890-1903

Return to Top »


1 3-5

Compositions
 

Includes a description by Helen Clay Frick of her bedroom at Clayton, and of an apartment at Sherry's in New York.

1896-1905, undated

Return to Top »


1 6

Curriculum
 

1903-1905

Return to Top »


1 7

Debut - Dance card
 

1908

Return to Top »


1 8

Debut - Guest lists
 

1908

Return to Top »


1 9

Debut - Scrapbook
 

1908

Return to Top »


1 10

French texts
 

1898, undated

Return to Top »


1 11-13

Grade books
 

Contains grade books recorded by governess Marika Ogiz, as well as a bound volume of grade reports from the Spence School. Grades are frequently commented upon by Helen Clay Frick's father and mother.

1897-1901

Return to Top »


2 1-3

Grade books, continued
 

1901-1911

Return to Top »


2 4

Notebooks - American government/Modern history
 

circa 1905?

Return to Top »


2 5

Notebooks - Dictation
 

1897-1898

Return to Top »


2 6

Notebooks - Dictation?
 

1901, circa 1900

Return to Top »


2 7

Notebooks - Elocution
 

1905-1908

Return to Top »


2 8-9

Notebooks - English literature
 

circa 1905

Return to Top »


2 10

Notebooks - Ethics
 

circa 1905

Return to Top »


2 11-12

Notebooks - French dictation?
 

1898-1905

Return to Top »


3 1

Notebooks - French dictation
 

1904-1905

Return to Top »


3 2-3

Notebooks - French grammar
 

1900-1905

Return to Top »


3 4

Notebooks - French literature
 

circa 1905

Return to Top »


3 5

Notebooks - Geography
 

circa 1900

Return to Top »


3 6-8

Notebooks - History
 

1901-1905, circa 1905

Return to Top »


3 9

Notebooks - History of architecture
 

circa 1905-1908

Return to Top »


3 10

Notebooks - Literature
 

circa 1905-1908

Return to Top »


3 11

Notebooks - Modern history
 

circa 1905-1908

Return to Top »


3 12

Notebooks - Penmanship
 

circa 1890s

Return to Top »


3 13

Notebooks - Physiology and Zoology
 

1902

Return to Top »


4 1

Notebooks - Poetry
 

circa 1900

Return to Top »


4 2

Notebooks - United States history
 

With 1924 clipping from the New York Times magazine.

circa 1905, 1924

Return to Top »


4 3

Notebooks - Vegetables eaten by Helen Clay Frick
 

Daily diary of vegetables eaten by Helen Clay Frick. In French.

1899-1900

Return to Top »


4 4

Notebooks - Vocabulary
 

circa 1900

Return to Top »


4 5

Notebooks - Blank
 

With needlepoint cover.

undated

Return to Top »


4 6

Paper dolls
 

circa 1890s

Return to Top »


4 7

Record of expenditures
 

Volume recording some of Helen Clay Frick's personal expenditures, including clothing and household items, gifts, and charitable donations. Only a small portion of the book has been used.

1903-1905

Return to Top »


4 8

Scrapbook of historical figures and prominent people
 

Contains images of literary and political figures, European royalty, etc. Some images are unidentified.

undated

Return to Top »


4 9

Scripture Union almanacs
 

1903-1904

Return to Top »


4 10

Souvenir books from Rome and Paris
 

Includes catalog and price list for French coins and medals, and views of Rome in an accordion-style binding.

1901, circa 1900

Return to Top »


4 11

Spence School - Program
 

Program for a production of Two Modern Comedies for the benefit of The Country Home for Convalescent Babies at Sea Cliff, Long Island.

For a photograph possibly taken during this production, see: Photographs - People - Frick, Helen Clay (Oversize D) or HCFF003286.

1906

Return to Top »


4 12

Spence School - Scrapbook
 

Contains mementos and information about the class of 1908 at Miss Spence's school, along with a class portrait, signatures of teachers, calling cards, invitations, programs, etc.

For other copies of Helen Clay Frick's portrait with her classmates, see: Photographs - People - Frick Helen Clay, or HCFF003287.

1908

Return to Top »