Inventory of the Wells, Fargo & Company Records, 1839-1911, (bulk 1883-1906)

Processed by Huntington Library staff; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Brooke Dykman Dockter.
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
© 2000
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Wells, Fargo & Company Records, 1839-1911, (bulk 1883-1906)

The Huntington Library

San Marino, California

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Department
  • The Huntington Library
  • 1151 Oxford Road
  • San Marino, California 91108
  • Phone: (626) 405-2203
  • Fax: (626) 449-5720
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Huntington Library staff
Date Completed:
May 1985
© 2000 The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

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.

Arrangement of Collection

Box Boxes 1-33

General correspondence in alphabetical order, subdivided according to addressee

Box Box 34

Investments in Mexico (many of these seem to be personal on the part of Hosmer B. Parsons and others)

Box Box 35

Business papers of Hosmer B. Parsons (there are also personal business papers of Parsons scattered throughout the collection and in the letter books)


Photographs (copies only, xeroxes and off prints)




Printed items

Volume Vols. 1-11

Letter books (press copies of letters written by Hosmer B. Parsons). The volumes contain letters addressed to Phoebe (Apperson) Hearst, Lloyd Tevis and other important individuals.

Volume Vol. 1

1879, Dec. 11-1882, May 18

Volume Vol. 2

1890, June 10-1891, May 20

Volume Vol. 3

1892, Jan. 28-Dec. 30

Volume Vol. 4

1893, Jan. 7-Nov. 29

Volume Vol. 5

1893, Dec. 1-1895, Apr. 20

Volume Vol. 6

1895, Apr. 22-1896, Jan. 9

Volume Vol. 7

1896, Jan. 11-Nov. 23

Volume Vol. 8

1896, Nov. 27-1898, Dec. 23

Volume Vol. 9

1898, Dec. 24-1900, Feb. 19

Volume Vol. 10

1900, Feb. 20-1901, Dec. 3

Volume Vol. 11

1901, Dec. 10-1903, May 22