The Henry Clay Frick Business Records contains material reflecting the business and financial activities of Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) with particular relevance to Pittsburgh and the western Pennsylvania region. These materials highlight Frick’s ascent into prominence during a period of American industrial growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The resources range from Frick’s first businesses, including his first coal firm, H.C. Frick & Company, to correspondence between Frick and Andrew Carnegie, which also includes Frick’s negotiations that facilitated the mega merger that formed United States Steel Corporation in 1899. The material also addresses aspects of business specific to the late ninetieth century coke industry, including bituminous coal mining, beehive ovens, and railroad transportation.
The Henry Clay Frick Business Records contain 29 series that date from 1881 to 1987; the majority of the materials date from 1881 to 1914, when Frick was most active in the coal and steel industry in Pittsburgh. The majority of the material is categorized into four types of records: administrative material, financial records, legal material, and ephemeral items. The administrative material are generally made up of correspondence, letterpress copybooks, memoranda, invoices, company charters, meeting minutes, by-laws, deeds, contracts, certificates, pamphlets, proposals, specifications, labor costs, property assessments, building construction records, architectural drawings, blue prints, newspaper clipping scrapbooks, atlases, and plat maps. The financial records consist of receipts, reports, statements, stock accounts, taxes, bills, lease matters, rent and building costs, cashbooks, sales journals, accounts payable receipts, mortgages, estate/property values, as well as profit and loss statements. There is a small amount of legal material which has records of court cases, case notes, court rulings, and attorney services. The ephemera items include keys, stone samples, printing plates, and post cards. Further description is available at the series and subseries level.