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Eagle Rock Papers

 Collection
Identifier: HCFF.09

Scope and Content Note

The Eagle Rock Papers, 1882-1973 and undated (bulk 1903-1969), consist of correspondence, proposals, contracts, specifications, invoices, inventories, appraisals, maps, photographs, and printed material pertaining to the Frick family's summer home in Prides Crossing, Mass. These items document the construction and furnishing of the house, maintenance of the house and grounds, alterations, daily life, and the eventual demolition of the house in 1969.

Files are arranged in eight series: Series I: Construction, 1903-1911; Series II: Gardens and Grounds, 1905-1922, undated; Series III: Furnishings, 1906-1918; Series IV: Inventories and Appraisals, 1907-1972, undated; Series V: Alterations, 1910-1970, undated; Series VI: W.J. Naughton Files, 1919-1942, undated; Series VII: Daily Life, 1907-1973, undated; and Series VIII: Property, 1882-1973, undated.

Materials concerning the design and construction of the house are contained in Series I: Construction, which includes Frick's correspondence with Boston architects Little & Browne concerning pricing, selection of materials, design decisions, and construction progress. Additionally, correspondence, proposals, contracts, and other materials document the construction of the house, stables, and other outbuildings. Relatively few changes were made to the main house during the remainder of Frick's life, but materials in Series II: Gardens and Grounds, document a range of work done on the property by engineer Ernest W. Bowditch and contractor D. Linehan & Son. This work concerned outbuildings, grading, fencing, drainage, and the establishment of a poultry farm. More general matters addressed in this series include the ongoing maintenance of the grounds, payment of bills, and staffing.

Invoices and correspondence documenting the acquisition of furniture and decorative objects for the house can be found in Series III: Furnishings. The firm Cottier & Co. supplied the bulk of the initial furnishings, with additional objects procured through Duveen Brothers. Later work was also done by White, Allom & Co. and Elsie de Wolfe, who both contributed to the decoration of Frick's New York residence at One East 70th Street. Inventories of household contents can be found in Series IV: Inventories and Appraisals, which contains general household inventories, as well as those focusing on a particular set of objects, such as furnishings, silver, or linens. The earliest household inventory dates from the 1907, the year after the house's completion. Later inventories are typically associated with events in the house's history, such as the death of Mrs. Frick in 1931, Helen Clay Frick's renovations in 1938, and the attempt to sell the estate in the 1950s.

Series V: Alterations contains a small amount of material documenting changes made or considered by Henry Clay Frick, notably specifications for an art gallery by architect D.H. Burnham. The bulk of the series, however, concerns alterations made by Frick's daughter, Helen Clay Frick, during the period of 1938 to 1940. Correspondence, contracts, and other materials document the work of architects Milliken & Bevin to decrease the footprint of the house and reconfigure the remaining rooms, as well as changes made to the surrounding grounds by landscape architects Innocenti & Webel. This series also contains files regarding the house's demolition in 1969, though materials concerning the demolition can also be found in Series VIII: Property.

Materials in Series VI: W.J. Naughton Files, complement those in Series V, as Naughton had a role in inventorying and tracking the location of furniture and other household items during the 1938 renovation by Milliken & Bevin. Other materials in Series VI consist of correspondence and notes compiled by Naughton in the course of managing matters at Eagle Rock on Helen Clay Frick's behalf, especially in the 1930s and early 1940s. Naughton's files are largely topical and concern maintenance and repairs, staffing, inventories, movement and dispersal of furniture and other goods, and opening and closing of the house for the season, among a range of other subjects.

Documentation of a similar nature can be found in Series VII: Daily Life, where topics include maintenance, expenses, household supplies, property taxes, insurance, and staff, as well as environmental and safety concerns in the area, storm damage, and security at the house. Few items document Henry Clay Frick's time in the house, though one notable exception to this is the guest book, which dates from 1907 to 1920, and notes the arrivals of both family members and friends at the house. Other items of interest include an undated manuscript by Frick's granddaughter, Martha Frick Symington ("Marsie") recounting her memories of time spent on the estate, and lists of furniture and art objects removed from the house in the 1950s and given to family members and others.

The final series in this collection, Series VIII: Property, consists of legal documents, appraisals, correspondence, printed material, maps, land surveys, and photographs documenting property transfers, siding and storage for the Frick family's private rail car, real estate taxes, possible sale of the property in the 1950s, and eventual demolition and dispersal of the estate by Helen Clay Frick in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within Bulk, 1903-1969
  • 1882-1973

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 archives@frick.org.

Historical Note

Eagle Rock, located in Prides Crossing, Mass., was constructed for industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick, and served as the summer residence of the Frick family. Designed by the architects Little & Browne of Boston, it was completed in 1906, and contained over one hundred rooms.

The Frick family had begun spending summers in the North Shore area as early as 1902, leasing the nearby Sears estate for two years, and the Bradley estate in 1904 (see: Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series V: Subject Files, #174: Sears lease, and #213: Robert S. Bradley lease.) In 1902, Frick began acquiring property with an eye to building his own estate (see: Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series V: Subject Files, #192: Prides Crossing properties - Tyson place). He purchased additional land in subsequent years. Frick secured both of his rental properties, as well as the land for his own estate, with the assistance of a local representative, George L. Allen of Allen, Rogers & Co. Additional correspondence with Allen can be found in the Henry Clay Frick Papers, Series II: Correspondence.

Henry Clay Frick hired engineer Ernest W. Bowditch to make changes to the gardens and grounds in 1909. Two years later, he commissioned plans from D.H. Burnham to add an art gallery to the house, but this project was never carried out. After Frick's death in 1919, the house passed to his wife, Adelaide H.C. Frick. No major changes appear to have been made to the estate during her ownership. She died at the house in 1931, leaving Eagle Rock to her daughter, Helen Clay Frick. As part of an effort to reduce the house's footprint and operating expenses, Miss Frick hired architects Milliken & Bevin in 1938 to remove one wing of the house, and reconfigure the remaining rooms. At the same time, she also contracted with landscape architects Innocenti & Webel to make improvements to the grounds.

By the 1950s, however, Miss Frick contemplated selling the estate, and in 1953, she retained real estate agent Peter Grimm to market the property to prospective buyers. This arrangement did not result in a sale, and while Helen Clay Frick entertained other possibilities for the future of the estate, she ultimately elected to tear it down, salvaging as much of the building material as possible. The main house at Eagle Rock was demolished in 1969, though some outbuildings, notably the stables, were left standing.

Extent

17.35 Linear feet (38 document cases and one oversize box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Eagle Rock, located in Prides Crossing, Mass., served as the summer residence of the Frick family from 1906 until its demolition in 1969. This collection 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.

Arrangement

Arranged in the following series:

Series I: Construction, 1903-1911

Series II: Gardens and Grounds, 1905-1922, undated

Series III: Furnishings, 1906-1918

Series IV: Inventories and Appraisals, 1907-1972, undated

Series V: Alterations, 1910-1970, undated

Series VI: W.J. Naughton Files, 1919-1942, undated

Series VII: Daily Life, 1907-1973, undated

Series VIII: Property, 1882-1973, undated

Custodial History

This collection, which forms part of the Frick Family Papers, became the property of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation upon Helen Clay Frick's death in 1984. In 2001, the Frick Family Papers were placed on deposit at The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives. The papers were acquired as a gift of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation in 2015.

Provenance

Gift of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation, 2015.

Related Materials

Images of Prides Crossing and Eagle Rock can be found in the Frick Family Photographs, and in selected albums within the Frick Family Albums and Scrapbooks, both in this repository.

Blueprints for the main house and outbuildings (including original construction, alterations, and proposed alterations), along with property surveys and landscaping drawings, are located in the Frick Family Maps and Blueprints in this repository; see archivist for access.

The archives at Historic New England in Boston, Mass., holds additional architectural records of Little & Browne.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Julie Ludwig, 2017.

Title
Finding Aid for the Eagle Rock Papers, 1882-1973 and undated (bulk 1903-1969) HCFF.09
Subtitle
Part of the Frick Family Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
Finding aid prepared by Julie A. Ludwig
Date
© 2017 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

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

Contact:
10 East 71st Street
New York NY 10021 United States