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Inventory of the Wells, Fargo & Company Records, 1839-1911, (bulk 1883-1906)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Corporate History
  • Scope and Content
  • Subject matter
  • Persons represented by 50 letters or more
  • Important or interesting items
  • Physical description

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Wells, Fargo & Company Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1839-1911, (bulk 1883-1906)
    Creator: Wells, Fargo & Company
    Extent: 2,254 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Purchased from William P. Wreden, May 1961


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

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

    Corporate History

    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 the 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.

    Subject matter

    Express service, express companies, investments in Mexico

    Persons represented by 50 letters or more

    Hancock, W. J.
    325 pieces
    Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin
    52 pieces (plus 11 letter books)
    Tevis, Lloyd
    127 pieces
    Valentine, John Joseph
    1,071 pieces

    Important or interesting items

    There are 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, Collis Potter Huntington, etc.

    Physical description

    Collection contains original letters, press copies (and press copy letter books), and duplicated copies of letters.