The papers of the Frick family date from the 1860s to the 1980s and consist of correspondence, photographs, albums and scrapbooks, diaries, financial records, printed material, and architectural records documenting the lives of Henry Clay Frick, his wife Adelaide, and their children, Helen Clay Frick and Childs Frick. These materials give valuable insight into the history of the Frick family and members of their circle, which included politicians, art dealers, business leaders, university officials, fellow art collectors, and philanthropists. Some notable figures represented in these papers are Andrew W. Mellon, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Duveen, and J. Horace Harding. The collection also documents the family's own art collecting and philanthropic interests, which ranged from museums and educational institutions to hospitals and parks.
Below is a list of collections comprising the Frick Family Papers, each with a brief description and links to the finding aids or digital resources when available.
Frick Family Papers
Art Collecting Files of Henry Clay Frick, 1881-1925
Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), a Pittsburgh coke and steel industrialist, began forming his art collection in 1881, and continued to acquire works of art until his death in 1919. He bequeathed his New York City residence, furnishings, and art collection to be established as a public art gallery called The Frick Collection, which opened to the public in December 1935. This collection contains correspondence, invoices and financial records, catalogs, inventories, registers, notes, narrative descriptions, and printed material documenting the selection, purchase, exhibition, and disposition of art works in his collection from the years 1881 to 1925, with the bulk of the papers documenting purchases.
Contains correspondence, letterpress books, art files, diaries, financial and property records, subject files, and estate records documenting Henry Clay Frick's career as a businessman and art collector.
Consists of correspondence, calendars, notes and notebooks, inventories, travel-related documents, stationery, and printed material documenting the life of Adelaide H. C. Frick, wife of Henry Clay Frick.
Consists of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, legal and financial papers, and printed matter pertaining to Helen Clay Frick's youth and education, personal interests, and philanthropic activities, notably her founding of the Frick Art Reference Library, the Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh, and the Iron Rail Vacation Home.
Consists of correspondence, estimates, bills, receipts, contracts, printed material, inventories, and appraisals pertaining to the Frick family's Pittsburgh residence. These papers document two generations of ownership by the family, and include materials on alterations and improvements to the house, furnishings and redecoration, staff, and daily operation of the house and grounds.
Eagle Rock Papers, 1882-1973 (bulk 1903-1969)
Contains correspondence, proposals, contracts, specifications, invoices, inventories, maps, photographs, and printed material documenting the construction and furnishing of the house, maintenance of the house and grounds, alterations, daily life, and the eventual demolition of the house.
Consists of correspondence, estimates, contracts, construction specifications, bills, vouchers, and inventories chiefly detailing the construction and furnishing of the Frick residence at One East 70th Street in New York. Post-construction materials relate to daily life in the house, proposed alterations to the residence, and contents of the house on the death of Henry Clay Frick.
Frick Family Photographs, circa 1850s-1989, undated
Includes prints and negatives depicting family members, friends and other acquaintances, travel, pets, residences, artwork, furnishings, and building projects in New York, Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts. Encompasses a range of photographic formats and processes, including cartes de visites, cabinet cards, tintypes, cyanotypes, and albumen prints, as well as the work of many prominent studio photographers.
Contains albums and scrapbooks bearing images of family members, friends and other acquaintances, pets, and residences in New York, Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts. These volumes also document travel by family members throughout the United States and abroad. Selected albums have been digitized and can be accessed online via the links below.
Printed Books in the Frick Family Papers, 1621, 1881 to 1983
Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), was a noted industrialist and art collector. This collection consists of books acquired by him and by members of his family, especially his daughter, Helen Clay Frick, and wife, Adelaide H.C. Frick.