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Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VI: Accounts

Identifier: HCFF.01.06

Scope and Contents note

This series contains ledgers, journals, account books, expense reports, payroll records, receipts, passbooks, checkbooks, canceled checks, and bank and brokerage statements documenting the personal finances of Henry Clay Frick from 1880 until his death in 1919. Items dated after Frick's death generally pertain to assets managed by his estate, although one volume does record transactions as late as 1942, long after the estate was settled. Papers in the Accounts series are divided into six subseries as follows:

Subseries I: Bound Volumes, 1880-1927. Chiefly composed of ledgers and journals detailing daily transactions from 1880 through 1919. Journals contain chronological entries of income and disbursements, while transactions in the ledgers are grouped into various accounts, with an index of account names at the front of each volume. Other volumes in this subseries include registers of securities, volumes recording interest accrual and dividends, and cash books.

Subseries II: Contingent Funds, 1902-1922. Contains expense reports, receipts, bank records, correspondence, and bound volumes documenting expenditures for staff, goods, and services at the Frick residences. These papers principally document expenses at the family's New York house and their summer home (known as Eagle Rock) in Prides Crossing, Mass. Contents may vary from one file to another, but may include a summary of expenses submitted by the chef, invoices for items procured for Frick's private railroad car, The Westmoreland, and receipts for expenses such as china, books, toiletries, bottled water, fresh fruit, prescriptions, temporary staff, dry cleaning, office supplies, trash removal, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and telegrams. This subseries also documents the expenses of Georges Després, the longtime Frick family chauffeur, who managed garages for the Frick family both at Eagle Rock and in New York, and George Wyness, who was in charge of the gardens at Eagle Rock.

Subseries III: Payroll, 1902-1916. Contains both payroll books and loose payroll sheets. Payroll books primarily document household staff at Frick's summer house, Eagle Rock, in Prides Crossing, Mass., and at 640 Fifth Avenue in New York, which Frick leased from the Vanderbilt family from 1905 to 1914. Payroll sheets are not complete, but do give information about a wider range of employees than the payroll books in this subseries. Sheets list the employees in the house and gardens at Clayton; the house, gardens, and stable at Eagle Rock; the family's nearby farm in Hamilton, Mass.; 640 Fifth Avenue; the New York garage (located at 129 West 51st Street); 1 East 70th Street; Frick's office staff in Pittsburgh; the Faraday Coal & Coke Co. and St. Paul Coal Co.; and the Frick Building and Frick Building Annex in Pittsburgh. See Subseries III below for details about other sources of payroll information in the Henry Clay Frick Papers.

Subseries IV: Office Accounts, 1902-1942. Compiled by Henry Clay Frick's office staff in Pittsburgh, this subseries contains journals, cash books, petty cash checkbooks, and the cash book of an unidentified renting agent. In addition to documenting office expenses, many entries in the journals and cash books record amounts paid for household goods and services for Clayton, Eagle Rock, 640 Fifth Avenue, 1 East 70th Street, and Frick's private railroad car, The Westmoreland.

Subseries V: Investment Accounts, 1906-1925. Items in this subseries consist of daybooks, notes, lists, a record of locations where securities were deposited, recapitulations and trial balances, transaction and inventory sheets, brokerage statements, and correspondence regarding Frick's investment accounts. The subseries is divided into two groups: general files and those of specific investment accounts. General files concern the sale, purchase, and inventory of Frick's financial investments, while account files contain monthly statements, correspondence, and notes regarding numbered accounts at firms such as Charles D. Barney & Co. and Moore, Leonard & Lynch.

Subseries VI: Bank Records, 1891-1928. Consists primarily of bank statements, canceled checks, and checkbooks for Frick's personal accounts and agent accounts in New York; Pittsburgh; Salem, Mass.; and Beverly, Mass. This subseries also contains a small amount of correspondence regarding the accounts of F.W. McElroy, who managed Frick's accounts for many years before leaving his employment in 1915, and one folder of receipts from foreign transactions made while the Frick family was traveling abroad.


  • 1880 - 1942


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

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 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. 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, which is considered one of the most violent incidents in American labor history. In 1899, Frick resigned from Carnegie Steel Co.

In December 1881, Frick married Adelaide Howard Childs of Pittsburgh. 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, and in 1912, after the wrecking of the Lenox Library formerly on the site, began building the beaux arts mansion which now houses The Frick Collection. Designed by Thomas Hastings of the firm Carrère and Hastings, the family moved into the house at 1 East 70th Street in the fall of 1914, and Henry Clay Frick died there in December 1919. The Frick Collection opened to the public as a museum in December 1935.


42.87 Linear feet (58 document cases, 143 bound volumes, and one oversize flat box)

Language of Materials



Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) was a prominent art collector and industrialist. These papers document his income and expenditures, household accounts, investment activities, and checking accounts at various banks in New York and Pittsburgh.


Materials are arranged in six subseries:

Subseries I: Bound Volumes, 1880-1927

Subseries II: Contingent Funds, 1902-1922

Subseries III: Payroll, 1902-1916

Subseries IV: Office Accounts,1902-1942

Subseries V: Investment Accounts, 1906-1925

Subseries VI: Bank Records, 1891-1928


Gift of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation, 2015.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Julie Ludwig, 2013, with funding from the Helen Clay Frick Foundation.

Finding Aid for the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series VI: Accounts, 1880-1942
Part of the Frick Family Papers
Finding aid prepared by Julie A. Ludwig
© 2013 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Arranged and described with funds from the Helen Clay Frick Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives Repository

10 East 71st Street
New York NY 10021 United States