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Pitt to oversee local Frick archives

Other material being shipped to New York

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

By Patricia Lowry, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A Common Pleas Court judge has yet to rule on the case, but the Helen Clay Frick Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh yesterday formalized their agreement regarding placement of the Frick Family Archives.

The foundation and the university signed an agreement that spelled out the terms and conditions for the university to serve as the preferred site for portions of the archives.

The rest of the archives would be tranferred to the Frick Collection's Frick Art Reference Library in New York City.

The archives have been at the center of a dispute among Frick's descendants since November 1999, when trustees of the foundation voted to move them to New York. The archives are now housed at the Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze

The foundation's trustees agreed last month to house Henry Clay Frick's business papers and other items of local interest in Pitt's Archives Service Center in Point Breeze, where Frick's Pittsburgh home, Clayton, is located.

The agreement signed yesterday states the material to remain in Pittsburgh will pertain to Frick's business activities and "successors to those business activities" as well as items that "because of their content are particularly relevant to Western Pennsylvania."

"If it's unclear what it fits into, we will resolve those on a case-by-case basis, collaborating together," said Rush Miller, director of Pitt's University Library System.

Miller estimated that about 40 percent to 50 percent of the archives would remain in Pittsburgh.

Under the agreement, the foundation will retain ownership of the archival material, but it grants the university "exclusive worldwide license" to make it available to scholars and the public. It would be freely available to all researchers under the university's regulations regarding archival material. Pitt also would have the right to use the Frick material in displays and special exhibitions.

Last year, foundation trustee Arabella S. Dane, a grandniece of Helen Frick, and Edward Weidlein Jr., a member of the Frick Art & Historical Center board, filed an objection to the removal of the archives.

"This latest action by the foundation is an affront to Judge Lee Mazur's ruling that Arabella Dane and Ed Weidlein have standing in this case," Dane's sister, Martha Frick Symington Sanger, said yesterday.

Mazur is scheduled to hear arguments concerning the proposed agreement on May 29.

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