Finding Aid for the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series IX: Secretary's Correspondence, 1902-1936, undated HCFF.01.09

 Part of the Frick Family Papers

Summary Information

The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives10 East 71st Street
New York, NY, 10021
 © 2014 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919.
Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series IX: Secretary's Correspondence
1902-1936, undated
2.3 Linear feet  (6 boxes)
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 chiefly of letters to and from his Pittsburgh secretary regarding payroll, staffing issues, bills, taxes, insurance, and other unfinished business matters.

Preferred Citation

Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series IX: Secretary's Correspondence. 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, the daughter of a whiskey distiller and flour merchant. Frick ended his formal education in 1866, 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. During his tenure as chairman, differences between Frick and Carnegie emerged, most significantly in their approach to labor issues. Their relationship became further strained after the 1892 Homestead Strike, and in 1899, Frick resigned from Carnegie Steel Co.

Frick married Adelaide Howard Childs of Pittsburgh in 1881. The couple purchased a house (which they called Clayton) in Pittsburgh's East End, 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 signed a ten-year lease on the Vanderbilt mansion at 640 Fifth Avenue in New York, and built an elaborate summer residence (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.

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Scope and Content Note

This series consists chiefly of correspondence to and from the office of Henry Clay Frick's Pittsburgh secretary regarding payroll, staffing issues, bills, taxes, insurance, and other unfinished business matters. The bulk of these files consist of letters, cables, and notes between Henry Clay Frick and F.W. McElroy, who joined Frick's staff as secretary in 1902. Among other topics, their letters discuss checks issued, payments to be made, appointments, meetings, and travel arrangements. McElroy was employed in Frick's office until 1915. Other members of Frick's staff represented in these files include his New York secretaries Alice Braddel and Ida Mary Brock, W.J. Naughton, who joined the staff as assistant secretary in 1905, and C.F. Chubb, who replaced McElroy in 1915.

Correspondence with staff at Frick's various residences can also be found in this series, particularly during the period in which Frick leased the Vanderbilt mansion at 640 Fifth Avenue in New York. Letters from stewards Joseph Holroyd and J.C. Congreve, housekeepers Florence Bain and Christy Mersereau, choreman Percy Martin, chauffeur Georges Despres, coachman James Elmore, chef Spencer Ford, caretaker John Holroyd, butler W.G. Mason, and gardener David Fraser generally concern payroll, staff, and bills, but sometimes give a glimpse into the mood and workings of the Frick household.

Members of Frick's immediate family occasionally corresponded with the Pittsburgh office as well. Frick's wife Adelaide H.C. Frick, son Childs Frick, and daughter Helen Clay Frick wrote to advise of travel plans, give instructions, and forward bills for payment. Additional correspondents represented in this series include John E. Shaw, renting agent at the Frick Building, Frick Building Annex, and Union Arcade Building in Pittsburgh, and D.B. Kinch, who superintended various construction projects for Frick, including his New York residence at One East 70th Street. Later materials in this series, particularly those from the 1920s and 1930s, often relate to the settlement of debts by tenants in Frick's Pittsburgh office buildings.

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Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

These records are open for research by appointment under the conditions of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives Access Policy. For all inquiries or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Archives Department at


Gift of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation, 2015.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Julie Ludwig, 2014, with funding from the Helen Clay Frick Foundation.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Letterpress copybooks of outgoing correspondence compiled by Henry Clay Frick's Pittsburgh office can be found in Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VIII: Letterpress Copybooks, Subseries II: Secretary's Letterpress Copybooks, 1891-1919.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Correspondence.

Personal Name(s)

  • Frick, Adelaide Howard Childs, 1859-1931.
  • Frick, Childs, 1883-1965.
  • Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984.
  • Frick, Henry Clay, 1849-1919.
  • McElroy, F.W. (Frank W.)

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Collection Inventory

1 1

Aiken - Bowditch

Aiken Club (Aiken, S.C.), 1918

Alden, E.H., 1911-1912

Allegheny County, Pa. - County Treasurer, 1913

Allen, George Lockhart, 1904-1913

Arco Company (Cleveland, Ohio), 1918-1919

Bain, Florence, 1912

Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co. (See: Pyle, R.E.)

Banning, Kendall, 1904

Beddoe, Edwin E., 1904

Benedict, E.L., 1935

Benton, G.W., 1910

Boissevain, D.G., 1904-1906

Boscia, Arthur (See: John E. Shaw, 1934)

Boston News Bureau (Boston, Mass.), 1912

Boston Saddlery & Harness Co. (Boston, Mass.), 1907

Bosworth, S.C., 1911

Bowditch, Ernest W., 1910

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1 2

Braddel, A.


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1 3

Braddock - Denny

Braddock, James S., 1906

Brashear, John A., 1905-1914

Braun Salvage Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1935

Brock, Ida Mary, 1905-1907, undated

Buchanan, John G., undated

Burch, R. Clayton, 1906

Butler, Henry E., 1912

Byers, John W., 1903-1904

C.A. Hurd Co. (Beverly Mass.), 1912

Caldwell, R.B., 1903 See also: Commercial National Bank of Coshocton (Coshocton, Ohio)

Campion, A.G., 1906-1907

Carr, William A., 1905-1911, undated

Carrère and Hastings, Architects (See: Hastings, Thomas)

Central District and Printing Telegraph Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1906-1907

Century Publishing & Engraving Co. (Chicago, Ill.), 1905

Chas. D. Barney & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1907, 1912

Childs, Martha H., 1912

Chubb, Charles F., 1918-1920

Claney, M.C., 1913

Colby, Francis T., 1913

Commercial National Bank of Coshocton (Coshocton, Ohio), 1907

Commonwealth Real Estate and Trust Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., 1904

Congreve, J.G., 1914

Conroy, Bridget (See: Helen Clay Frick, 1908 June 5)

Continental Coke Co. [no place], 1903

Cottier & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1904

County Treasurers, Boro Collectors, etc., undated

Cowl, Clarkson (See: Schanck, George E.)

Cummins, A., undated

Curry, William, 1904

D.M. Linehan & Company (Prides Crossing, Mass.), 1912

Denny, John, 1925-1926

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1 4


Després, Georges, 1907-1913

Di Nella, D., 1932-1936

Dillon, J.K., 1903

Dreyfus, [?],1911

Dustin, A.C., 1903-1910

Elmore, James, 1906-1913, undated

Employers' Liabiliy Assurance Corp. (New York, N.Y.), 1919

Erksine, Albert De W., 1904-1908

Eyermann, Peter, 1907

Faraday Coal and Coke Company (See: Overholt, Karl F.)

Farjeon, Ballin & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1912-1913

Finn Pump Mfg. Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1928, 1933

Foley, B.J., 1913

Ford, Spencer A., 1904

Fraser, David, 1905, 1924, undated

Fred H. Lucas Carriage Co. (Boston, Mass.), 1905

Freymeyer, Harry W., 1904

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1 5

Frick, Adelaide - Frick, Childs

Frick, Adelaide, 1906-1913

Frick, Childs, 1904-1924

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1 6

Frick, Helen Clay


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1 7-8

Frick, Henry Clay

Chiefly letters and notes between F. W. McElroy and Henry Clay Frick. Most items concern financial or other business transactions.


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2 1-8

Frick, Henry Clay, continued


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3 1-9

Frick, Henry Clay, continued


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4 1-2

Frick, Henry Clay, continued

1914-1915, undated

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4 3

G.M. Alexander & Son - Holroyd, John

G.M. Alexander & Son (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1912-1916

G.M. Hopkins Co. (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1905

Gerrity, T., 1905

Gibson, Archer, 1908-1913

Girard Auto Supply Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1924

Goddard & Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1932

Great American Refining Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1921-1922

Haggin, J.B., 1905

Hall, Sherman [business card], undated

Harsh, Newton D., 1916

Hastings, Thomas, 1912

Hatfield, Chauncey B., 1904

Hearn, [George A.], Estate of, 1914

Henschel, C.R., 1912

Hicks, R.W., 1905-1908

Hindeman, W.W., 1927

Holroyd, John, 1912-1914

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4 4-9

Holroyd, Joseph

Mostly letters from Holroyd to F.W. McElroy concerning payroll, staff changes, bills, etc.


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5 1

Hotchkiss - Keast

Hotchkiss, C.W., 1906

Independent Retail Coal & Coke Dealers Association of West Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1935

International Appraising Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1919

International Shale Process Corp. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1922, undated

James D. Smith & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1904

Keast, David S., 1936

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5 2

Kinch, D.B.


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5 3

Kinch, John Z. - Naughton, Clyde

Kinch, John Z., 1915

Knoedler, Roland F., 1912, 1914

Kuhn, Loeb & Co., 1905 (See: Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series V: Subject Files, #226: Various stock and bond syndicates)

Kuykendall, Paul, 1914

Lawyers Club (New York, N.Y.), 1907

Little & Browne, Architects (Boston, Mass.), 1907

Lull, R.D., 1912-1914

M. Knoedler & Co., 1907 (See: System: The Magazine of Business; and Knoedler, Roland F.)

M. Welte & Sons (New York, N.Y.), 1904

Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1904

Magee, [William A.], 1910

Martin, Percy, 1912

Mason, W.G., 1911

Matthews, R.J., 1904

May, E., 1913

McCrea, James, 1906

McElroy, F.W., Mrs., 1907

Mercantile Trust Company (New York, N.Y.), 1904-1911

Mersereau, Christy, 1913-1914

Metropolitan Club (New York, N.Y.), 1906

Metropolitan Club (Washington, D.C.), 1918

Morris, W.J., 1927 See also: Great American Refining Co.

Naughton, Clyde M., 1920

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5 4-5

Naughton, William J., 1910-1913


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5 6

Naumkeag - Pennsylvania

Naumkeag Trust Company (Salem, Mass.), 1910

New England Telephone and Telegraph Company (Boston, Mass.), 1904

New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Co., 1907 (See: Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series V: Subject Files, #226: Various stock and bond syndicates)

Nicola, F.F., 1904, 1907

Ogiz, Marika, 1904-1908

Overholt, Karl F., 1906-1924

Paddock, Carrie A., 1906, 1910

Pennsylvania Railroad Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1905-1915

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5 7

Perkins - Shaw Coal Co.

Perkins, L., 1913

Pittsburg Concrete Company (Allegheny, Pa.), 1905

Pittsburgh Field Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1912-1914

Pittsburgh, Pa. - Board of Water Assessors, 1912

Pittsburg Press Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1904

Popper & Sternbach (New York, N.Y.), 1912

Postal Telegraph-Cable Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1910

Pyle, R.E. (Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co.), 1906

Ratcliffe, Mannie, 1912

Robert Dickey & Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1906

Rogers, Oscar, 1919

Sammons, W. L., 1904

Schoonmaker, S.L., 1911-1912

Scott, Hugh R., 1904, 1912

Shaw Coal Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1912-1919

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5 8

Shaw, John E.

Correspondence in connection with Shaw's duties at Renting Agent for the Frick Buildings in Pittsburgh (e.g. Frick Building, Frick Building Annex, and Union Arcade Building).


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6 1

Simpson - University

Simpson, David E., 1904

Smith, W.H., 1907

Smith, William Watson, 1907, 1911

St. Clair Improvement Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1905-1914

Standard Oil Co. (Bayonne, N.J.), 1906

Stephany, Lewis F., 1905 (See: Holroyd, Joseph, 1905 September 30)

Stephenson, Samuel, [1910?]

Sterry, Fred (Royal Poinciana Hotel, St. Augustine, Fla.), 1904

Stewart Iron Works (Covington, Ky.), undated

Sturm, Andrew E., 1913

Sumner, Wm. A., 1905

System: The Magazine of Business (Chicago, Ill.), 1907

Taft, Frank, 1907

Thompson, N.E., 1911-1912

Thompson, Robert, 1910

Union Restaurant Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1904-1912

Union Safe Deposit Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1907-1912

United States Steel Corp. (New York, N.Y.), 1906

University Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1908

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6 2

Vanzandt - Zimmerman

Vanzandt, J.S., 1905

Weeks, Oakley, 1912-1914

Western Union Telegraph Co. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1912

Wyness, George, 1905-1914

Zimmerman, T.J., 1907 (See: System: The Magazine of Business)

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