Guide to the Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers, 1885-1966, bulk 1900-1940
MS.3

Summary Information

Repository
Test Database
Title
Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers
ID
MS.3
Date
1885-1966, bulk 1900-1940
Extent
3.6 Linear feet 11 boxes
Language
English
Abstract
The Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers measure 3.6 linear feet and date mostly from 1900 to 1940. They contain the correspondence, art collection-related papers, and materials dealing with the estate of prominent Baltimoreans and art collectors Mary Frick Jacobs and her husband Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. They document the Jacobs' art purchases and their donation to the Baltimore Museum of Art. A small amount of material created by BMA staff relating to the installation of the Jacobs Collection at the Museum is also included.

Preferred Citation

Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, Baltimore Museum of Art

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Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs - Biographical Notes

Mary Frick Jacobs was born Mary Sloan Frick, daughter of wealthy Baltimore lawyer William Frederick Frick, in 1848. In 1873, she married Robert Garrett, son of John Work Garrett and a prominent businessman who served for several years as the president of the B&O Railroad. Both Mr. and Mrs. Garrett were involved in numerous charitable organizations and Mrs. Garrett also became quite well known for her skills in entertaining. The Garretts owned two homes in Baltimore: Uplands, a large property on the outskirts of the city, and one at Mount Vernon Place (now known as the Engineers Club at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion). In 1884, as Mr. Garrett was working his way up the ranks of B&O executives, Mary hired Sanford White to renovate their Mount Vernon Place home and expand it into the house next door which they had also purchased. In 1885 Mary had her portrait painted by Alexandre Cabanel in Paris and soon after added several important paintings to her collection. By 1887, Mr. Garrett was ill and trips to Europe and the art purchases that went along with them came to a halt.

Mr. Garrett died in 1896 after a long battle with his health. In 1901, Mrs. Garrett hired John Russell Pope, who would later design the Baltimore Museum of Art and make further renovations to the Mount Vernon Place house, to build a home for her in Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Garrett would spend her summers at the estate called Whiteholme until her death. It was demolished in 1963. On April 2nd, 1902, Mary married physician Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. The new Mrs. Jacobs had begun collecting art to showcase in her homes in earnest following Mr. Garrett's death and after marrying Dr. Jacobs, she devoted even more time and consideration to this pursuit. She collected European paintings of the 15th to 19th centuries, as well as tapestries, porcelain, jade, and furniture, through various art dealers in New York and abroad. Dr. Jacobs assisted her in this activity, but it was certainly considered her collection. By 1913, she had amassed such a collection that she added a gallery to her Mount Vernon Place home to house it. In 1934 she donated much of her collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art. She died in 1936.

Dr. Jacobs was born in South Scituate, Massachusetts on June 2nd 1858 to Barton Richmond and Frances Almira Jacobs, members of a distinguished Massachusetts family traceable back to early Puritan settlers. After receiving his medical degree from Harvard in 1887, Jacobs moved to Baltimore where in addition to working as an associate in medicine at Johns Hopkins he became involved in many aspects of civic life. He focused attention on organizations involved with the treatment and eradication of tuberculosis as well as the newly founded Baltimore Museum of Art. Jacobs died in 1939.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers contain the correspondence, art collection-related papers and materials dealing with the estate of prominent Baltimoreans Mary Frick Jacobs and her husband Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. They document the Jacobs' art purchases and their donation to the Baltimore Museum of Art. A small amount of material created by BMA staff relating to the installation of the Jacobs Collection at the Museum is also included.

The Papers are housed in 11 boxes (9 letter-sized, 1 legal-sized, 1 oversize flat storage) and consist of four series: Correspondence, Art Collection, Personal Papers, and Estate. The material came to the BMA with the bequest of Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs after his death in 1939. Half the collection was stored in the BMA Library for many years while the other half remained in the Registrar's Office until 2006 when it was transferred to the Archives and Manuscripts Collections.

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Arrangement

Materials are arranged by subject and then by date.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Test Database November 29, 2006

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Ownership and Copyright

The Dr. Henry Barton and Mary Frick Jacobs Papers are the physical property of the Manuscripts Collections, Baltimore Museum of Art. Copyright, except in cases where material has passed into the public domain, belongs to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult a Library staff member.

Provenance

According to the April 22 and May 27, 1946 BMA Board of of Trustees minutes, the papers were found by Robert Garrett in a bank and sent to the Museum sometime between the two meetings. Half the collection was stored in the BMA Library for many years while the other half remained in the Registrar's Office until 2006 when it was transferred to the Archives and Manuscripts Collections.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Emily Rafferty in 2006.

Alternative Forms Available

None.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Garrett Papers, 1816-1950, Maryland Historical Society; The Henry Barton Jacobs Collection, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions; Duveen Brothers Records, The Getty Research Institute.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Blakeslee Galleries
  • Eugène Fischhof
  • Wildenstein and Company (New York, N.Y.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Jacobs, Mary Frick, 1848-1936
  • René Gimpel

Subject(s)

  • Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Maryland -- Baltimore
  • Art, Modern -- 17th-18th centuries
  • Women art collectors -- United States

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Bibliography

Dehler, Katharine B.  "Mt. Vernon Place at the Turn of the Century: A Vignette of the Garrett Family."  Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 69, No. 3 (Fall 1974): p. 279-292. "Henry Barton Jacobs." In  Baltimore: Its History and Its People, Vol. 2, City of Baltimore, Biographical, New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1912, p. 104-111. Jacobs, Dr. Henry Barton.  The Collection of Mary Frick Jacobs. Baltimore, MD, 1938.

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1. Correspondence   (2.5 linear feet, 6 boxes).

Scope and Contents note

Series 1, Correspondence, consists mainly of correspondence related to the Jacobs' purchase of works of art from various dealers. Many letters have replies attached or written on the back, generally from Dr. Jacobs or a secretary writing for Mrs. Jacobs. Some letters contain interesting details such as Mrs. Jacobs' thoughts as to where to place paintings in her collection and how she chose particular works. The series also includes correspondence related to the authentication of works of art.

Highlights in the series include the Jacobs' correspondence with the art dealers Theron Blakeslee, Eugène Fischhof, René Gimpel, and Wildenstein & Co. This correspondence shows the Jacobs' relationship with each dealer and how their collection was put together piece by piece. Blakeslee sold Mrs. Jacobs numerous paintings and his letters detail every aspect of their purchase from acquisition at auction to price negotiations and shipping. The Jacobs also used Blakeslee to sell works from their collection that Mrs. Jacobs no longer enjoyed or that she wanted to replace with a more important work. Blakeslee committed suicide in 1914 allegedly in fear that his debts would exceed his net worth during analysis by an auditor. As he left no will, many already purchased paintings remaining in his galleries including several belonging to the Jacobs were tied up with his estate. Correspondence related to the estate is included in this series.

At the same time that the Jacobs were purchasing from Blakeslee, they were also working with French horse racer and art dealer Eugène Fischhof. A letter from Mrs. Jacobs to Fischhof dating from November 24th, 1913, shows that she was beginning to question the authenticity of some of the works in her collection, and eventually the Jacobs became embroiled in a dispute with Fischhof after several experts expressed concern that some paintings he had sold them were fakes or by lesser artists. The Jacobs did continue to buy from Fischhof and even commissioned several pastels through him in 1916. During World War I, Fischhof also wrote to the Jacobs about news of his son who was killed in action in August 1916.

Following Blakeslee's death and the problems with Fischhof, the Jacobs began buying works from René Gimpel, first as part of E. Gimpel & Wildenstein and then through each firm separately after 1920. Many of Gimpel's letters are quite lengthy and provide detailed art historical background for the paintings he was trying to sell. The Jacobs are also mentioned in Gimpel's, Diary of an Art Dealer, though much of what Gimpel says about Mrs. Jacobs' relationship with Blakeslee and Fischhof is exaggerated and dates are incorrect. Note that the Jacobs are listed in the index of the book under "Barton-Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. Henry."

Through all four dealers, the Jacobs also had restoration, framing, and labeling of works in their collection done and the details of such transactions can be found in the correspondence. Further correspondence with individual art restorers such as H.A. Hammond Smith and F.V. Syracuse can also be found in this series.

By the 1920's the Jacobs slowed the pace of their art buying as both of them were frequently ill and they concentrated their efforts on filling gaps in the collection. Due to the financial situation in the U.S. during the Depression and Mrs. Jacobs' decision to give her collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art, most correspondence from this period up until Mrs. Jacobs' death consists of polite refusals to buy any new works or loan existing works for exhibitions.

Also contained in this series is correspondence and other material related to Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs roles on the Board of Trustees and various committees at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Most is directed to Dr. Jacobs and dates from 1933-1939. Notable material includes correspondence with Robert Garrett requesting funding for the Antioch excavations, correspondence with BMA staff about the transfer of the Jacobs Collection to the museum and the building of the wing to house it, as well as letters from John Russell Pope about the construction (Pope signed himself "Jack" and called Dr. Jacobs "Uncle Jake"). Also included is correspondence about Pope's office's construction of Mrs. Jacob's memorial stone.

A small amount of correspondence to and from Robert Garrett was donated by his nephew Robert Garrett (1875-1961) in 1950 and has been included in the Correspondence Series. The bulk of Mrs. Jacobs' correspondence before her marriage to Dr. Jacobs and relating to aspects of her life outside the world of art collecting can be found in the Garrett Papers, 1816-1950 at the Maryland Historical Society.

Box Folder

A - General 

1 1
Item

Alonzo, Adolph 1926 Nov 29 

The Antiquarian [Dr. Alfred M. Frankfurter] 1931 Jul 20 - 25 

Askin, Julius 1926 May 3 

Folder

B - General 

2
Item

Babcock, E.C. 1932 Jan 13 

Bachstitz, Kurt Walter 1937 May - Jun 

Banks, Edgar J. 1924 Sep 20 

William Baumgarten & Co., Inc. 1926 Jan - Mar 

Berenson, Bernard 1914 Mar 7 

Berlin Photographic Company 1913 - 1914 

Bialla, Hugo 1925 Oct 27 

Biays, Tolley Allender 1927 Nov 4 - 7 

E. F. Bonaventure, Inc. 1926 Jun 9 

Thomas A. Bradfield 1924 Nov 8 

M. de Brozik 1923 Nov 

Edward R. Bacon Collection 1923 - 1924, 1926 

General note

Note: Correspondents include L.D. Sellman and Richard W. Lehne

3

Baltimore Museum of Art 1924, 1933 - 1939 

4-14

David Bendann 1913, 1923 

15
Box Folder

Blakeslee Galleries 1901, 1903 - 1905, 1907 - 1910, 1912 - 1915, undated 

2 1-17

C - General 

3 1
Item

Madame Charles Cahier; 1923 Oct 28 

Caldarazzo; 1926 Feb - Mar 

Chao Ming Chen; 1925 Apr 15 

College Art Association; 1932 Sep 10 

Cottier Gallery; 1911 - 1912 

Folder

Charles, C. J. 1926 Feb - Mar 

2

D - General 

3
Item

William Davis; 1909 Jul 4 

Les Frères Delisle; 1907 Oct 5 

The Detroit Institute of Arts; 1932 Nov 7 

A.S. Drey; 1930 Apr 23 

Ehrich Galleries 1923 - 1924, 1926 - 1928 

4

F - J - General 

5
Item

M. Fernandez; 1922 Oct 25 

Guiffrey, Jean; 1914, undated 

Heseltine, John Postle; Undated 

Gieske, Mrs. Alfred W.; 1928 Oct 23 

Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery; 1932 - 1934 

Hartmann, Sadakichi; 1937 Apr 26 

Howard, James Winchester, Jr.; 1928 Jul 13 

Wm. H. Jackson Company; 1927 Jun 24 

Daniel H. Farr Company 1926 - 1927 

6

Fearon Galleries 1923, 1928 

7

Eugène Fischhof 1923, 1928 


    Folder Box Folder
Mixed materials   8-20, 4 1-9

Folder

Frick Art Reference Library; 1923-1924 

10

Garrett, Robert; 1885-1886, 1891 

11

Gimpel, René 1923, 1928 


    Folder Box Folder
Mixed materials   12-18, 5 1-2

Folder

P. Jackson Higgs; 1923-1924, 1926-1928, 1930-1931 

General note

Note: Correspondents include William Sawitzky

3

E.M. Hodgkins; 1912-1916, 1922-1923 

4

Edouard Jonas; 1928, 1930-1931 

5

F. Kleinberger Galleries; 1927-1929 

6

M. Knoedler & Co.; 1923, 1926, 1928, 1930 1935, 

General note

Note: Correspondents include Carman Messmore

7

K - L - General 

8
Item

Thomas J. Kerr; 1931 Oct 21-22 

Mary W. Keyser; Undated 

Azez Khayat; 1923 Nov 16-20 

George St. John Kneller; 1923 Mar-Nov 

Mrs. D. Lawler; 1926 Mar 18-24 

Aktiebolaget C. E. Fritze's Kungl. Hofbokhandel; 1922 Jan-Feb 

Karl Loevenich; 1928 Nov 21-26 

Louis & Company; 1923? Mar 19 

Eric Lyndhurst; 1936 Apr 10-15 

M - R - General 

9
Item

Mauboussin; 1929 Dec 4-5 

Arthur U. Newton; 1927 Dec 16-19 

Pierre de Nolhac; 1910 Dec 2 

Frank Partridge, Inc.; 1936 Jan 22-24 

Peabody Institute; 1933 Apr 18 

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; 1923 Feb-Apr 

J. Hall Pleasants; Mar 18 

George Reuling; 1914 Mar 28 

Edward B. Rowland; 1917 Apr 21 

Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1931, 1935, 

10

Mallet & Son; 1925 Aug-Dec 

11

Reese, T. E.; 1926 Jan-May 

12

S - General 

13
Item

Walter J. Salmon; 1930 Oct 16-20 

Satinover Galleries; 1923 Jun 11 

K. W. E. Schunemann; 1930 Apr-May 

Esther Singleton; 1928 Oct 1 

Theodore Sizer, Yale University; 1934 Jun 25 

Robert Frank Skutch; 1926 

Marquis Spinola ; 1930 Oct 17-18 

Ugo Squatritti; 1929 Apr 

René Seligmann; 1924, 1926-1927 

14

Smith, H. A. Hammond; 1924-1926 

15

Spink & Son, Ltd.; 1928-1929 

16

Syracuse, F. V.; 1923-1924 

17

T - V - General 

18
Item

Toledo Museum of Art; 1935 Jan 14 

Ruel Pardee Tolman; 1923, 1930 

Charles Turrell; 1925 Apr 

W. R. Valentiner, The Detroit Institute of Arts; 1930, 1934, 

Johan P. Van Vloten; 1926-1927, 1930 

W -Z - General 

19
Item

Julius H. Weitzner; 1935 Jun 11 

Howard Young Galleries, Inc.; 1935 Jan 12-15 

Philipp Zellenka; 1926 Oct 5-14 

Box Folder

Wildenstein & Co.; 1912-1914, 1916, 1919-1934 

General note

Note: Inlcludes correspondence from E. Gimpel & Wildenstein.

6 1-10

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 Series 2. Art Collection   (.3 linear feet, .7 box).

Scope and Contents note

Series 2, Art Collection, contains material relating to the Jacobs' collection of art, much of which was donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art. The series does include references to works that are not part of the BMA collection as well.

The Financial Documents and Notes subseries contains material such as invoices, shipping documents, and insurance papers that show how and when payments were made and material was transferred from dealers to the Jacobs' various homes. The subseries was originally arranged into two separate subseries, but the contents of each were so similar that they were combined into one at the time of processing. The series also contains Jacobs' notations on prices of paintings and which works to exchange for others. These notes are often cryptic and difficult to decipher. Other notes detail visits to the Jacobs Gallery by various experts and their attributions. It is possible that the person who was helping Dr. Jacobs put together the 1938 collection catalog took some of the notes as they detail research into the provenance of some works and list particular letters where the relevant information can be found.

Several lists of paintings in the collection are included. Of particular interest is a leather-bound notebook that lists paintings purchased through 1902 with details about their provenance and lists also miniatures, snuff boxes, Sevres porcelain, jades, china, bronzes, tapestries and furniture among other objects in the collection.

The Catalogs subseries contains portions of a catalog of the 1912 sale of items from the Doucet collection with prices and several exhibition catalogs from dealers. The subseries also includes a leather portfolio titled, "The Catalogue of the Mrs. Henry Barton Jacobs Collection of Chinese Art" from the Ralph M. Chait Galleries in New York.

The Clippings subseries contains newspaper clippings, mostly from the New York Herald describing various auctions. Items of significance to the Jacobs' have occasionally been underlined or circled.

The Photographs subseries contains photographs of works in Jacobs Collection as well as works offered for sale to the Jacobs but not purchased, and works simply related to those in the collection in some manner. Photographs that were enclosed with correspondence have been retained in the Correspondence series.

The Baltimore Museum of Art subseries contains materials created by staff members at the BMA that relate to the Jacobs Collection, particularly its reinstallation in 1958 and reports from various experts about the authenticity of works in the collection.

 a. Financial Documents and Notes 

Box Folder

General; 1902-1903, 1906-1910, 1912-1915, 1920, 1929, 1938, 1940, undated 

7 1-2
Folder

Blakeslee Galleries; 1902, 1912-1914, undated 

3-4

Eugène Fischhof; 1900-1901, 1903-1907, 1909-1914, 1916, undated 

5-6

 b. Lists of Works in Collection 

Folder

 1924, undated 

7

 c. Catalogs 

Folder

 1912, 1926, undated 

8-9

 d. Clippings 

Folder

 1909, 1912-1913, 1920?, 1924, 1926 

10-12

 e. Photographs 

Box Folder

Paintings; undated 

General note

See also: Oversize Flat Storage;

General note

Oversize

8 1
Folder

Plaster Casts; undated 

2

Chinoiserie (Spink & Son); 1927? 

3-4

Miscellaneous; undated 

General note

See also: Oversize Flat Storage

5

 f. Baltimore Museum of Art 

Folder

 1934, 1954-1955, 1958-1959, 1962, 1965-1966 

6-8

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 Series 3. Personal Papers   (.1 linear feet, .3 box).

Scope and Contents note

Series 3, Personal Papers, contains material created by the Jacobs, but not related to their art collection. The series consists of payroll accounts, an invoice from John Russell Pope for work on the Jacobs' house, one listing of Mrs. Jacobs' securities and a list of housekeepers from 1915 through 1927. The payroll accounts include records of employees both in Baltimore and in Newport, RI as well as a few notes from J. Alex Johnson to Mrs. Jacobs about amounts to be paid to various employees.

Box Folder

Payroll; 1932-1940 

9 1-3
Folder

Invoices; 1909, undated 

4

List of housekeepers; 1927? 

5

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 Series 4. Estate   (.3 linear feet, .7 box).

Scope and Contents note

Series 4, Estate, contains material related to the transfer of the Jacobs art collection to the BMA as well as the disbursement of the Jacobs' other belongings after their deaths. Some related correspondence is included with both the appraisals and disbursement material.

The Appraisals and Inventories subseries contains mainly formal appraisals of items in the Mount Vernon Place home after Dr. Jacobs' death in 1939. The Real Estate appraisal includes reports on the properties at Mt. Vernon Place, Uplands, 923 N. Charles St., 5501 Hillen Rd., and Cowpens, and was done just after Mrs. Jacobs' death in 1936. Most of the appraisals and inventories simply describe, sometimes rather inaccurately, items, provide their size, condition, location, and give a range of values. In some cases, the person providing the appraisal is named at the top of the list.

The Disbursement subseries contains lists of items from the Jacobs' estate and to whom they were given or sold. The Paintings folder includes a report by Edward S. King on the condition and authenticity of the paintings from the collection that were sold at Duveen Brothers in 1940. The large majority of items in the collection went to Mrs. Jacobs' relatives, although some, including numerous bottles from the wine cellar, were given to Mrs. Redmond Stewart, wife of a prominent Baltimore attorney and horseracing enthusiast. The lists also include items to go to Hammond-Harwood House, the Garrett Hospital, the Peabody Library and the Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins.

The General subseries contains materials on other matters related to the estate of Mary Frick Jacobs such as the estate tax and the sale of investments. Also included are several newspaper clippings about the value of Mrs. Jacobs' estate.

 a. Appraisals and Inventories 

Folder

Linen, Rugs, Blankets and Comforts; 1940 

6

China, Glassware and Vases; 1940 

7

Prints and Etchings, Bronzes and Statuary; 1940 

8

Brasses and Silver; 1940 

9

Real Estate; 1937 

10

Whiteholme 

General note

See: Oversize

Additional and Amended Inventories 

General note

See: Oversize

 b. Disbursement 

Folder

Cleaning and Repair; 1940 Nov 22 

11

Books, Unframed Paintings, Art Magazines, Certificates 

General note

See: Oversize

Folder

Paintings; 1940 

12

Items to Mr. And Mrs. Robert Garrett; 1940 

13

Items to Mr. And Mrs. John W. Garrett; 1940, undated 

14

Items to Mrs. Redmond Stewart; 1940 

15

Items to Others; 1940-1941 

General note

See also: Oversize

16

 c. General 

Folder

 1936-1937 

17

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Oversize   (.4 linear feet, .6 box)

Art Collection 

Photographs 

Paintings; Undated 

Box
O1
Folder
1
Box
O2
Folder
1

Miscellaneous; Undated 

Box
O2
Folder
2

Estate 

Appraisals and Inventories 

Additional and Amended Inventories; Undated 

Folder
2

Whiteholme; 1936 

Folder
3

Disbursement 

Items to Others; 1940? 

Folder
4

Books, Unframed Paintings, Art Magazines, Certificates; 1940-1941, undated 

Folder
5

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