Guide to the Papers of James Waldo Fawcett, 1847-1968

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Papers of James Waldo Fawcett
Creator
James Waldo Fawcett
Collection Number
MSS#152
Date [inclusive]
1847-1968
Extent
.75 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
James Waldo Fawcett was born October 23, 1893, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of James Thomas and Mary (Herron) Fawcett. At eleven years of age he became a regular contributor to the Pittsburgh Dispatch. Later, he moved to Washington, D.C., and was an editor for the Washington Post, then editorial writer for the Star, a position he held for 23 years. These papers include correspondence, research notes, newspaper clippings, speeches, book reviews and other sundry materials.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Papers of James Waldo Fawcett, 1847-1968, MSS#152, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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Biographical Sketch of James Waldo Fawcett (1893-1968)

James Waldo Fawcett was born October 23, 1893, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of James Thomas and Mary (Herron) Fawcett. At eleven years of age he became a regular contributor to the Pittsburgh Dispatch. Later, he moved to Washington, D.C., and was an editor for the Washington Post, then editorial writer for the Star, a position he held for 23 years. A prolific writer, he contributed articles to many newspapers and magazines in America and Great Britain, and also wrote several plays, including "Necessity", "The Dark Day", and "Lifes a Battle." In his spare time, Mr. Fawcett was an amateur photographer, active in several philatelic societies, and a popular lecturer on cultural themes.

At various times he served in public relations positions for some of Washington's leading institutions, including the Library of Congress, Washington Cathedral, Smithsonian Institute and Mellon National Gallery of Art. As a result of contacts and interviews, he personally knew many of the great figures in contemporary America, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Paul and Andrew Mellon. In May 1965, the trustees of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania elected Mr. Fawcett Assistant Secretary. Many of his articles and book reviews appeared in the Society's quarterly publication. On November 30. 1968, he died unexpectedly in his brother's home in Port Charlotte, Florida.

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Scope and Content Notes

These papers include correspondence, research notes, newspaper clippings, speeches, book reviews and other sundry materials. The bulk of these papers were the result of his work at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania from 1965 to 1968, and are genealogical in nature. They include correspondence with Society patrons, which amply document the process of genealogical research, and also provide much invaluable information on such noted Americans as the Mellons, Herrons, Fricks, General Edward Hand, Colonel John McClellan, and Nathaniel Green.

In addition, Mr. Fawcett was a champion of Miss Helen C. Frick in her court battle with Sylvester K. Stevens, author of Pennsylvania, Birthplace of a Nation. Miss Frick considered Mr. Steven's portrayal of her father, Henry Clay Frick to be damaging to his reputation and sought to have the books removed from publication. Mr. Fawcett compiled a great deal of research materials on Henry Clay Frick in his daughter's behalf, hoping also to write a biography, a project, which never came to fruition. Additional Frick research includes historical and biographical notes on some of the artists and subjects of paintings housed with the Frick art collection, especially Rosa Corder, James Whistler and Dante Rossetti. Other research projects include a manuscript, Smith Family Tree, filed with the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in 1948, and a speech given to the Beulah Presbyterian Church Historical Society in 1968.

Along with his work for genealogical patrons, Mr. Fawcett also did extensive research into his own family history, and this collection includes research on such notables as Peter Stuyvesant, colonial governor of New York, and the Bayards, Culbertsons, Hays and Herrons of Pittsburgh. Mr. Fawcett was a prolific contributor to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania's quarterly magazine, which published many of his book reviews and historical articles. In 1954, Mr. Fawcett began research on a manuscript, In Quest of Luini, depicting the life of the artist Luini as well as other historical data relating to a particular Luini painting in the Mellon art collection. Mr. Paul Mellon, whose correspondence with Fawcett is included in these papers, sponsored this ambitious undertaking. Mr. Fawcett was also a strong voice in public affairs, as documented with his speech presented in 1964 protesting the "re-newel schemes for Oakland." Throughout Mr. Fawcett's papers, one comes to see this historian as outspoken, yet honorable, ethical, meticulous and generous.

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Arrangement

The James Waldo Fawcett papers are housed in two archival boxes and are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Summer, 2001

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These papers came in one accession in 1970.

Acc# 1970x Gift of James Waldo Fawcett, 1960-1967, and of his estate, 1970, (Papers).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Historical Society Staff in c1970. Papers rearranged and Inventory rewritten by Karen Hockenson on May 25, 1995.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Doug MacGregor on May 16, 2001.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Beulah Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

Geographic Name(s)

  • Manchester (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Fawcett, James Waldo
  • Bayard Family
  • Corder, Rosa
  • Culbertson Family
  • Frick, Helen C.
  • Frick, Henry Clay
  • Hand, Ganeral Edward.
  • Hays Family
  • Herron Family
  • Mellon, Paul
  • Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
  • Smith Family
  • Whistler, James McNeil

Subject(s)

  • Art -- Analysis, interpretation, appreciation
  • Genealogy
  • Maps -- Pennsylvania -- Westmoreland County

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Collection Inventory

  boxfolder
Correspondence  1940-1968 11

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Fawcett Genealogy 
  folder
Bayard Branch  1847-1968 2
  folder
Herron Branch  1928-1967 3

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Frick Family 
  folder
Art Collection  c1960 4
  folder
Helen C. Frick  1965-1968 5
  folder
Henry Clay Frick  1965-1968 6

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  folder
Personal Papers  1896-1968 7

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  folder
Speeches  1964-1967 8

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Writings 
  boxfolder
Historical Society  1963-1968 21
  folder
Mellon Project  1954-1968 2
  folder
Smith Manuscript  1948 3

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  folder
Miscellaneous Materials  1964-1966 4

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