Finding Aid for the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VIII: Letterpress Copybooks, 1881-1923 HCFF.1.8

 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
 © 2013 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Creator
Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919.
Title
Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VIII: Letterpress Copybooks
ID
HCFF.1.8
Date [inclusive]
1881-1923
Extent
32.4 Linear feet  (70 volumes)
Abstract
Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), a Pittsburgh industrialist who made his fortune in coke and steel, was also a prominent art collector. This series consists of volumes containing copies of Frick's outgoing correspondence on matters relating to business and investments, art collecting, political activities, real estate, philanthropy, and personal matters.

Preferred Citation

Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VIII: Letterpress Copybooks. The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

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Biographical Note

Henry Clay Frick was born 19 December 1849, in West Overton, Pa. One of six children, his parents were John W. Frick, a farmer, and Elizabeth Overholt Frick, the daughter of a whiskey distiller and flour merchant. Frick ended his formal education in 1866 at the age of seventeen, and began work as a clerk at an uncle's store in Mt. Pleasant, Pa. In 1871, Frick borrowed money to purchase a share in a coking concern that would eventually become the H.C. Frick Coke Co. Over the next decade, Frick expanded his business through the acquisition of more coal lands and coke ovens, and partnered with fellow industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1882. He assumed the chairmanship of Carnegie Bros. & Co. (later Carnegie Steel Co.) in 1889, and served in that capacity until his resignation from the company in December 1899. During his tenure as chairman, differences between Frick and Carnegie emerged, most significantly in their approach to labor issues. The 1892 Homestead Strike further strained relations between the two men, and in 1899, after Carnegie attempted to buy out Frick's share in the company for a fraction of its value, Frick sued. Frick eventually received a satisfactory price for his shares, but permanently severed his relationship with Carnegie.

In December 1881, Frick married Adelaide Howard Childs of Pittsburgh. The couple purchased a house (called "Clayton") in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, and had four children: Childs Frick (1883-1965), Martha Howard Frick (1885-1891), Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984), and Henry Clay Frick, Jr. (born 1892; died in infancy). After his break with Carnegie in 1899, Frick began spending less time in Pittsburgh. In 1905, he leased on the Vanderbilt mansion at 640 Fifth Avenue in New York City, and built an elaborate summer residence (christened "Eagle Rock") on Boston's North Shore, which was completed in 1906. Though Frick maintained his status as a Pittsburgh resident for the remainder of his life, he and his family chiefly divided their time between Massachusetts and New York. In 1907, Frick purchased land at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 70th Street in New York City. Construction of the new Frick residence, designed by Thomas Hastings of the firm Carrère and Hastings, began in 1912, after the demolition of the Lenox Library formerly on the site. The family moved into the house at One East 70th Street in the fall of 1914, and Henry Clay Frick died there on 2 December 1919.

Frick showed a lifelong interest in art collecting, acquiring his first painting in 1881, and continuing to add to his collection until just before his death. Little is known about Frick's early experiences with art, but his taste initially favored local Pennsylvania artists, contemporary French painters, and Barbizon landscapes. Around the turn of the century his focus shifted to old master paintings, and he began to collect works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough. In the mid-1910s, Frick greatly expanded his collection by acquiring paintings, porcelains, sculpture, enamels, and furnishings from the estate of J.P. Morgan, who had died in 1913. Though Frick acquired paintings from a variety of sources, his primary dealer was M. Knoedler & Co., and two principals of that firm, Charles Carstairs and Roland Knoedler, were friends of Henry Clay Frick in addition to helping him build his collection. Upon his death, Frick bequeathed to the public his New York residence, along with the paintings, furnishings, and decorative objects contained therein. The Frick Collection opened to the public in 1935.

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Scope and Content Note

Items in this series consist of letterpress copybooks containing Henry Clay Frick's outgoing correspondence. Volumes are arranged in three subseries: I. General Letterpress Copybooks, 1881-1919; II. Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks, 1892-1919; and III. Special Letterpress Copybooks, 1893-1923. Letters generally appear in chronological order within each copybook, and document business dealings, investments, art collecting, political activities, taxes, insurance, philanthropy, and personal matters. They give insight into Frick's daily activities, interactions with colleagues and friends, political views, and manner of conducting business. Some correspondents represented in these volumes include Andrew Carnegie, Walton and E.M. Ferguson, Philander Chase Knox, Thomas Lynch, Jay C. Morse, W.R. Stirling, H. McK. Twombly, H. A. Gray, M.S. Quay, Charles S. Carstairs, M. Knoedler & Co., F.J. Osterling, and Daniel H. Burnham.

Subseries I: General Letterpress Copybooks, 1881-1919, is the most comprehensive of the three subseries. These 42 volumes contain a nearly complete run of letters composed by Frick over the period of 1881-1919. Correspondents are indexed alphabetically at the front of each volume. In most volumes, guide numbers noted at the top of each page indicate the page number of the previous and/or next letter addressed to the correspondent at hand. Additional copies of outgoing letters were sometimes filed alongside their incoming counterparts in the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series II: Correspondence, but this was not done consistently by Frick's office staff, and generally only in later years.

Subseries II: Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks, 1892-1919, contains outgoing letters composed by the secretary in Henry Clay Frick's Pittsburgh office. Frick's New York secretary, Alice Braddell, either did not maintain a copybook for outgoing correspondence, or it does not survive with these papers. Letters contained in these volumes pertain chiefly to insurance, investments, property and tax matters, and bank transactions. An alphabetical index of correspondents can be found at the front of each volume. The earliest items in this subseries (Volumes 1 and 2) were compiled by George Megrew from 1892 to 1895. There is an unexplained gap in these volumes from 1895 to 1900. R.B. Caldwell served as secretary from 1900 until November 1902, after which the position was briefly held by C.H. Hicks. F.W. McElroy took charge of the copybook in December 1902, and served the longest of all of Frick's secretaries. He left Frick's employment in early 1915 and was replaced by C.F. Chubb. During Chubb's service, letters are occasionally signed by assistant secretary W.J. Naughton. The letterpress copybooks in this subseries terminate in early 1919, some months before Frick's death.

Subseries III: Special Letterpress Copybooks, 1893-1923, contains volumes designated for correspondence on specific topics, such as taxes, insurance, art, and the settlement of Henry Clay Frick's estate. The first volume in this subseries, "Financial Matters, etc.," contains routine correspondence on matters relating to taxes, club dues, promissory notes and mortgages, bills, stock and bonds, and insurance. Letters in the "Taxes and Insurance" volumes concern property taxes, water rents, and insurance policies and claims. Letters copied into the "Estate" volumes pertain to taxes, employees, bills paid, stocks, and rental properties, including the Frick Building, Frick Building Annex, and Union Arcade Building.

Special letterpress copybooks can also be found in other series among the Frick Family Papers, including an art letterpress copybook in Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Art Files, and volumes pertaining to the construction and furnishing of Frick's residences in New York and Prides Crossing, Mass., in the One East 70th Street Papers and Eagle Rock Papers, respectively.

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Arrangement

Materials are arranged in three subseries:

I. General Letterpress Copybooks, 1881-1919

II. Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks, 1892-1919

III. Special Letterpress Copybooks, 1893-1923

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Volume 1 of the General Letterpress Copybooks is closed due to condition. A digital copy must be used in place of the original. All other 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, 2013.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • M. Knoedler & Co.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence.
  • Letterpress copybooks.

Personal Name(s)

  • Burnham, Daniel Hudson, 1846-1912.
  • Caldwell, R.B.
  • Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919.
  • Carstairs, Charles.
  • Chubb, C.F. (Charles F.)
  • Ferguson, E.M. (Edmund M.)
  • Ferguson, Walton, 1842-1922.
  • Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919.
  • Gray, H.A.
  • Knoedler, Roland F., 1856-1932.
  • Knox, Philander C. (Philander Chase), 1853-1921.
  • Lynch, Thomas, 1854-1914.
  • McElroy, F.W. (Frank W.)
  • Megrew, George.
  • Morse, Jay C., d. 1906.
  • Osterling, F. J., 1865-1934.
  • Overholt, Karl F., d. 1938.
  • Quay, Matthew Stanley, 1833-1904.
  • Stirling, W.R.
  • Twombly, H. McK. (Hamilton McKown), d. 1910.

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Collection Inventory

Subseries I: General Letterpress Copybooks
 

Subseries I: General Letterpress Copybooks, 1881-1919, contains 42 volumes of letters composed by Frick over the period of 1881-1919. Correspondents are indexed alphabetically at the front of each volume. In most volumes, guide numbers noted at the top of each page indicate the page number of the previous and/or next letter addressed to the correspondent at hand. Additional copies of outgoing letters were sometimes filed alongside their incoming counterparts in the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series II: Correspondence, but this was not done consistently by Frick's office staff, and generally only in later years.

Box Date
1

Volumes 1 and 2
 

Volume 1 covers the period from 12 March 1881-26 January 1885.

Volume 2 covers the period from 28 January 1885-23 September 1886.

1881-1886
2

Volumes 3 and 4
 

Volume 3 covers the period from 23 September 1886-13 October 1887.

Volume 4 covers the period from 15 October 1887-12 June 1889.

1886-1889
3

Volumes 5 and 6
 

Volume 5 covers the period from 12 June 1889-2 September 1890.

Volume 6 covers the period from 2 September 1890-21 July 1891.

1889-1891
4

Volumes 7 and 8
 

Volume 7 covers the period from 23 July 1891-16 August 1892.

Volume 8 covers the period from 16 August 1892- 27 July 1893.

1891-1893
5

Volumes 9 and 10
 

Volume 9 covers the period from 29 July 1893-16 November 1894.

Volume 10 covers the period from 17 November 1894-18 October 1895.

1893-1895
6

Volumes 11 and 12
 

Volume 11 covers the period from 19 October 1895-19 May 1896.

Volume 12 covers the period from 19 May-10 December 1896.

1895-1896
7

Volumes 13 and 14
 

Volume 13 covers the period from 10 December 1896-4 May 1897.

Volume 14 covers the period from 4 May-30 November 1897.

1896-1897
8

Volumes 15 and 16
 

Volume 15 covers the period from 30 November 1897-29 April 1898.

Volume 16 covers the period from 10 April 1898-16 February 1899.

1897-1899
9

Volumes 17 and 18
 

Volume 17 covers the period from 16 February-1 December 1899.

Volume 18 covers the period from 2 December 1899-7 December 1900.

1899-1900
10

Volumes 19 and 20
 

Volume 19 covers the period from 7 December 1900-31 October 1901.

Volume 20 covers the period from 31 October 1901-4 September 1902.

1900-1902
11

Volumes 21 and 22
 

Volume 21 covers the period from 4 September 1902-20 March 1903.

Volume 22 covers the period from 20 March 1903-26 March 1904.

1902-1904
12

Volumes 23 and 24
 

Volume 23 covers the period from 26 March 1904-22 April 1905.

Volume 24 covers the period from 22 April 1905-1 March 1906.

1904-1906
13

Volumes 25 and 26
 

Volume 25 covers the period from 1 March-26 November 1906.

Volume 26 covers the period from 28 November 1906-27 April 1908.

1906-1908
14

Volumes 27 and 28
 

Volume 27 covers the period from 27 April 1908-7 May 1909.

Volume 28 covers the period from 10 May 1909-11 January 1910.

1908-1910
15

Volumes 29 and 30
 

Volume 29 covers the period from 12 January 1910-14 December 1910.

Volume 30 covers the period from 15 December 1910-18 September 1911.

1910-1911
16

Volumes 31 and 32
 

Volume 31 covers the period from 20 September 1911-7 June 1912.

Volume 32 covers the period from 29 June 1912-14 March 1913.

1911-1913
17

Volumes 33 and 34
 

Volume 33 covers the period from 14 March 1913-19 February 1914.

Volume 34 covers the period from 19 February-19 October 1914.

1913-1914
18

Volumes 35 and 36
 

Volume 35 covers the period from 20 October 1914-16 April 1915.

Volume 36 covers the period from 17 April-20 October 1915.

1914-1915
19

Volumes 37 and 38
 

Volume 37 covers the period from 20 October 1915-3 March 1916.

Volume 38 covers the period from 3 March-25 October 1916.

1915-1916
20

Volumes 39 and 40
 

Volume 39 covers the period from 26 October 1916-3 August 1917.

Volume 40 covers the period from 6 August 1917-6 September 1918.

1916-1918
21

Volumes 41 and 42
 

Volume 41 covers the period from 13 September 1918-26 May 1919.

Volume 42 covers the period from 26 May-13 December 1919.

1918-1919

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Subseries II: Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks
 

Letters contained in the Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks pertain chiefly to insurance, investments, property and tax matters, and bank transactions. Volumes 1 and 2 were compiled by George Megrew from 1892 to 1895. There is an unexplained gap in these volumes from 1895 to 1900. R.B. Caldwell served as secretary from 1900 until November 1902, after which the position was briefly held by C.H. Hicks. F.W. McElroy took charge of the copybook in December 1902, and served the longest of all of Frick's secretaries. He left Frick's employment in early 1915 and was replaced by C.F. Chubb. During Chubb's service, letters are occasionally signed by assistant secretary W.J. Naughton. The letterpress copybooks in this subseries terminate in early 1919, some months before Frick's death.

Volumes are arranged chronologically with an alphabetical index of correspondents located at the front of each volume.

Box Date
22

Volumes 1 and 2
 

Volume 1 covers the period from 14 January 1891-25 June 1892.

Volume 2 covers the period from 11 July 1892-28 July 1895.

1891-1895
23

Volumes 3 and 4
 

Volume 3 covers the period from 5 July 1900-13 October 1902.

Volume 4 covers the period from 14 October 1902-3 June 1904.

1900-1904
24

Volumes 5 and 6
 

Volume 5 covers the period from 7 June 1904-12 January 1906.

Volume 6 covers the period from 15 January 1906-1 April 1907.

1904-1907
25

Volumes 7 and 8
 

Volume 7 covers the period from 1 April 1907-19 June 1908.

Volume 8 covers the period from 19 June 1908-16 April 1909.

1907-1909
26

Volumes 9 and 10
 

Volume 9 covers the period from 21 April 1909-24 March 1910.

Volume 10 covers the period from 25 March 1910-6 March 1911.

1909-1911
27

Volumes 11 and 12
 

Volume 11 covers the period from 7 March 1911-4 December 1911.

Volume 12 covers the period from 5 December 1911-17 April 1912.

1911-1912
28

Volumes 13 and 14
 

Volume 13 covers the period from 17 April-October 31 1912.

Volume 14 covers the period from 1 November 1912-31 March 1913.

1912-1913
29

Volumes 15 and 16
 

Volume 15 covers the period from 31 March 1913-3 December 1913.

Volume 16 covers the period from 3 December 1913-2 July 1914.

1913-1914
30

Volumes 17 and 18
 

Volume 17 covers the period from 2 July 1914-19 May 1915.

Volume 18 covers the period from 12 March 1915-31 December 1915.

1914-1915
31

Volumes 19 and 20
 

Volume 19 covers the period from 31 December 1915-25 October 1916.

Volume 20 covers the period from 27 October 1916-27 August 1917.

1915-1917
32

Volumes 21 and 22
 

Volume 21 covers the period from 30 August 1917-30 April 1918.

Volume 22 covers the period from 1 May 1918-12 February 1919.

1917-1919

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Subseries III: Special Letterpress Copybooks
 

Volumes in this subseries were designated by Frick's staff for topical, or "special" correspondence. The first volume, "Financial Matters, etc.," contains routine correspondence on matters relating to taxes, club dues, promissory notes and mortgages, bills, stock and bonds, and insurance. Letters in the "Taxes and Insurance" volumes concern property taxes, water rents, and insurance policies and claims, while letters copied into the "Estate" volumes pertain to taxes, employees, bills paid, stocks, and rental properties, including the Frick Building, Frick Building Annex, and Union Arcade Building.

Special letterpress copybooks can also be found in other series among the Frick Family Papers, including an art letterpress copybook in Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series I: Art Files, and volumes pertaining to the construction and furnishing of Frick's residences in New York and Prides Crossing, Mass., in the One East 70th Street and Eagle Rock Papers, respectively.

Box Date
33

Financial Matters, etc.
 

Contains routine correspondence on matters relating to taxes, club dues, promissory notes and mortgages, bills, stock and bonds, and insurance. Letters are signed by H.C. Frick, G.B. Bosworth, and M.M. Bosworth. Covers the period from 7 January 1893-5 June 1900.

1893-1900
34

Taxes and Insurance, Volumes 1 and 2
 

Volume 1 covers the period from 25 January 1912-19 March 1916.

Volume 2 covers the period from 28 March 1916-24 June 1920.

Letters in these volumes are generally signed by Karl F. Overholt.

1912-1920
35

Estate of Henry Clay Frick, Volumes 1 and 2
 

Volume 1 covers the period from 18 December 1919-24 September 1920.

Volume 2 covers the period from 25 September 1920-3 May 1922.

Letters are variously signed by C.F. Chubb, W.J. Naughton, or Karl F. Overholt.

1919-1922
36

Estate of Henry Clay Frick, Volume 3
 

Volume 3 covers the period from 6 May 1922-25 September 1923.

Letters are variously signed by C.F. Chubb, W.J. Naughton, or Karl F. Overholt.

1922-1923

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