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Construction Images - The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library, 1933-1935

Identifier: TFC/FARL-0700-030-02.01

Scope and Content Note

Photographs, 1933-1935, document the conversion of the Frick family's New York City residence at One East 70th Street into a public museum, The Frick Collection, as well as the construction of a new Frick Art Reference Library building at 10 East 71st Street. Both interior and exterior views show areas of the Frick residence that would be altered or demolished during the construction project, the conversion of areas within the house, the construction of new spaces for the museum, and the construction of the new Library building. Photographs include details of architectural ornaments, decorative stonework and woodwork, fireplace mantels, and lighting fixtures that would be removed during the construction process.


  • 1933 - 1935


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

Historical Note

The Frick Collection was founded by Pittsburgh industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), who bequeathed his New York residence and art collection as a public art gallery. The Board of Trustees began the process of converting the Frick residence into a museum in 1931, with Frederick Mortimer Clapp named Adviser/Organizing Director, John Russell Pope architect, and Marc Eidlitz & Son general contractor.

The plans called for alterations to existing spaces in the house, and the construction of the Oval Room, the East Gallery, the Garden Court, the Music Room, the Boucher Room and a new entrance hall, as well as a new 13-story building to house the Frick Art Reference Library. The new Frick Art Reference Library building opened to the public on January 14, 1935 and The Frick Collection opened on December 16, 1935.

The photographer of these images, Alfred Cook, was employed by the Frick family as a footman from 1930-1932, and as a watchman for The Frick Collection from 1933-1934. He documented the original residence and the construction progress at the request of Helen Clay Frick, Henry Clay Frick's daughter, who was also a Frick Collection Trustee and the founder and Director of The Frick Art Reference Library.


2.5 Linear feet (5 volumes)

Language of Materials