Wells, Fargo & Company Records: Finding Aid

Processed by Huntington Library staff in May 1985; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Brooke Dykman Dockter and Diann Benti
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2000
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Wells, Fargo & Company Records
Dates (inclusive): 1839-1911
Bulk dates: 1883-1906
Collection Number: mssWF Boxes 1-35
Creator: Wells, Fargo & Company.
Extent: 2,254 pieces in 35 boxes and 11 volumes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection consists mainly of letters to and from Wells, Fargo & Company official Hosmer Benjamin Parsons (1846-1908), who joined the company in 1867 and later became president of its bank in New York. The papers deal with company business and company's relationships with railroad lines and competing express firms. Some of the papers relate to the personal business affairs of Hosmer B. Parsons, including his investments in Mexico.
Language: English.

Access

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Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Wells, Fargo & Company Records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Purchased from William P. Wreden, May 1961.

Historical Note

Wells, Fargo & Company was founded in New York in 1852 through the amalgamation of several companies by Henry Wells (1805-1878) and William George Fargo (1818-1881). It was expanded in the wake of the Gold Rush to handle the growing express business in the West. Henry Wells is not represented in the collection, nor is William G. Fargo, but there are a few letters from or about his brothers James Congdell Fargo and Charles Fargo who were active in Wells, Fargo & Company and the American Express Company. In 1872, Lloyd Tevis (1824-1899) became president of Wells, Fargo & Company followed in 1892 by John Joseph Valentine (1840-1901).

Scope and Content

The collection consists mainly of letters to and from Hosmer Benjamin Parsons (1846-1908) who joined Wells, Fargo & Company in 1867 and successively held the positions of cashier, assistant secretary, vice-president and president of the company bank in New York. The papers deal chiefly with the express business--relationships with competing express companies (such as American Express, Pacific Express, Northern Pacific Express, Texas Express, etc.), with railroad companies (Northern Pacific Railroad Company, Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company, Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad Company and others), matters of shipments, rates, and routes. There are also papers that relate to the personal business affairs of Hosmer B. Parsons.
Includes contains original letters, press copies (and press copy letter books), and duplicated copies of letters.
Persons represented by 50 letters or more:
  • Hancock, W. J. (325 pieces)
  • Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin (52 pieces + 11 letter books)
  • Tevis, Lloyd (127 pieces)
  • Valentine, John Joseph (1,071 pieces)
Some notable items include: one to three letters each from Marcus Daly, James Ben Ali Haggin, George Hearst (plus 9 stock orders), Phoebe (Apperson) Hearst (plus scattered letters addressed to her in the letter books beginning in 1891), James Heron, and Collis Potter Huntington.

Arrangement

Arranged in the following manner: 1. General correspondence (Boxes 1-33); 2. Investments in Mexico (Box 34); 3. Business papers of Hosmer B. Parsons, photographs, ephemera, printed items (Box 35); 4. 11 letter books.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin, 1846-1908.
Wells, Fargo & Company.
Banks and banking -- United States.
Coaching (Transportation) -- West (U.S.) -- History -- Sources.
Express service -- West (U.S.) -- History -- Sources.
Investments, American -- Mexico.
Postal service -- United States.
Railroads -- United States.
West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.

Forms/Genres

Business records -- West (U.S.)
Letter books -- West (U.S.)
Letters (correspondence) -- West (U.S.)

Alternate Authors

Daly, Marcus, 1841-1900.
Haggin, James Ben Ali, 1822-1914.
Hancock, W. J.
Hearst, George, 1820-1891.
Hearst, Phoebe Apperson, 1842-1919.
Heron, James, active 1875-1886.
Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900.
Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin, 1846-1908.
Tevis, Lloyd.
Valentine, John J. (John Joseph), 1840-1901.


Collection Contents

 

General Correspondence

Box 1

A-B

Box 2

Campbell-Cooper, E. M. (to Parsons, 1884 April 22-1886 June 28)

Box 3

Cooper, E. M. (to Parsons, 1886 July 7-1888)

Box 4

Cooper, E. M. (to Tracy) - Evans

Box 5

F-Hancock, W. J. (to Parsons, 1883-1885 February 26)

Box 6

Hancock, W .J. (to Parsons, 1885 March-September 21)

Box 7

Hancock, W. J. (to Parsons, 1885 September 24-1886 October)

Box 8

Hancock, W. J. (to Parsons, 1886 November 2-1887 July)

Box 9

Hancock, W. J. (to Parsons, 1887 August-1888 January, and R-T)

Box 10

Hancock, W. J (to V-Z)-Heron, James

Box 11

Hewson-Messersmith

Box 12

Milford-Parsons, Hosmer B. (to B-Ha)

Box 13

Parsons, Hosmer B. (to Hi-Y)-R

Box 14

S-Tevis, Lloyd (to Parsons, 1874-1884)

Box 15

Tevis, Lloyd (to Parsons, 1885-1886)

Box 16

Tevis, Lloyd (to Parsons, 1887-1889)-Titus

Box 17

Tracy-Valentine, J. J. (to Banks-Langtry)

Box 18

Valetine, J. J. (to M-Parsons, 1869-1883 May 20)

Box 19

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1883 May 21-November 14)

Box 20

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1883 November 15-1884 January 31)

Box 21

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1884 February-May)

Box 22

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1884 June-October)

Box 23

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1884 November-December 26)

Box 24

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1884 December 27-1885 January 31)

Box 25

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1885 February 2-March 14)

Box 26

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1885 March 15-April 25)

Box 27

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1885 May 3-July 9)

Box 28

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1885 July 10-August 31)

Box 29

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1885 September 1-1886 October 28)

Box 30

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1886 November -1887 June 13)

Box 31

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1887 July 16-December 19)

Box 32

Valentine, J. J. (to Parsons, 1887 December 20-1898 July 11, and P-Z)

Box 33

W-Y

Box 34

Investments in Mexico

Chiefly correspondence about investments that appear to have been personal investments on the part of Hosmer B. Parsons and others).
Box 35

Business papers of Hosmer B. Parsons; Photographs (copies only); Ephemera; Printed Items

Note

There are also personal business papers of Parsons scattered throughout the collection and in the letter books.
 

Letter books

Eleven letter books containing press copies of letters written by Hosmer B. Parsons. The volumes contain letters addressed to Phoebe (Apperson) Hearst, Lloyd Tevis and others.
Volume 1

Letter book. 1879, Dec. 11-1882, May 18

Volume 2

Letter book. 1890, June 10-1891, May 20

Volume 3

Letter book. 1892, Jan. 28-Dec. 30

Volume  4

Letter book. 1893, Jan. 7-Nov. 29

Volume 5

Letter book. 1893, Dec. 1-1895, Apr. 20

Volume 6

Letter book. 1895, Apr. 22-1896, Jan. 9

Volume 7

Letter book. 1896, Jan. 11-Nov. 23

Volume 8

Letter book. 1896, Nov. 27-1898, Dec. 23

Volume 9

Letter book. 1898, Dec. 24-1900, Feb. 19

Volume 10

Letter book. 1900, Feb. 20-1901, Dec. 3

Volume 11

Letter book. 1901, Dec. 10-1903, May 22