Research Entry #2

Researching Henry Clay Frick.1

by Karen Rose Overholt Critchfield; c. 4-29-00

For those who wish to study the legacy of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) from different perspectives, I recommend the following publications:


Martha Frick Symington Sanger, Abbeville Press, New York, NY, 1998. This is a book I happily recommend to all those seeking information about the Overholt-Frick connection, and about the private lives of the Frick family. In this book, you will find important family photographs (Overholt and Frick), photos of famous paintings (from the Frick art collections), and absorbing accounts of many historical events (Johnstown Flood, Homestead Steel Strike, Berkman's Assassination Attempt, U.S. Steel Corporation).


Samuel A. Schreiner, Jr., St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, 1995. Schreiner's book made headlines around Pittsburgh when it made its debut. A Pittsburgh native, this author (a veteran journalist and former senior editor at Reader's Digest) has a definite point of view, and despite some alleged misquoting, the material is easy to read, to understand, and to enjoy. I kept checking out this book from my local branch of the Carnegie Library, and kept running up late fees, until I finally bought one for myself. What I found particularly interesting was Schreiner's flair for the dramatic, and his courageous, punching wit. If you are looking for an engaging, tell-it-like-it-is historical perspective, Schreiner lays it on the line for you!


Kenneth Warren, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 1996. You will find this book to be very technical in nature, thoroughly business-oriented, and written mostly for historians specializing in American industry and the organization of American business. Additionally, the author writes from a British perspective, and this can be interesting all by itself. If you are looking for charts and graphs and insights into the business acumen of Henry Clay Frick, this book will show you where it came from, and how it worked.

For another distinctive historical viewpoint, you may wish to check out a web site that features an exerpt from the autobiography of radical Emma Goldman, which describes how Alexander Berkman decided to murder Henry Clay Frick during the 1892 Homestead Strike.

As always, when I begin researching a subject on the Internet, I go to a good search engine, type in a name or a subject, and then follow up by visiting different sites until I find one that reaps the best information. My AOL server allows me to "save" favorite sites, so that I can return to do more work later. Regarding Frick, Carnegie or other historical individuals from Pittsburgh or Pennsylvania, I suggest you go to a good newspaper site (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and search their archives for stories. I have found some amazingly interesting background stories this way. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a great resource for information regarding Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and all things connected to the coal and steel industry. Also, historical societies from the local, regional, state or national level are always great places to visit via the Internet, if they have web sites. Also, individual towns often publish web sites to advertise their historical heritage. Check out cities, too! The City of Pittsburgh has several sites with great panoramic pictures!

Unfortunately, some very promising sites do not have enough material online for good research. Sometimes we are lucky to find a decade of material to glean from. We just have to go to the library in person, or we have to wait for their computer techs to meet our demands for more and more information. Remember when all the libraries were consigning information to microfiche/microfilm/microdot technology? What about all those early floppy disk computers? All that information is in danger of being lost due to outdated retrieval systems!

I could type a list of sites that I've found interesting, but frankly, you can get the same information by using your favorite search engine. Good luck!

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