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Inventory of the Frederick Roeser Collection, 1880-1919, bulk 1911-1919
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Subject matter
  • Items of special interest
  • Arrangement
  • Material Transferred
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Frederick Roeser Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1880-1919,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1911-1919
    Creator: Roeser, Frederick
    Extent: 94 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    In Library (Mrs. Frederick Roeser)


    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], Frederick Roeser Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    On April 4, 1899, the American Smelting and Refining Company was chartered in the state of New Jersey. This great industrial combine, usually known as ASARCO and frequently referred to as the smelting trust, had consolidated a number of American smelting concerns with production plants east and west of the Mississippi. At its inception, ASARCO controlled 2/3 of America's smelting and refining capacity, although several major firms remained independent of its ownership. Two years later, a second merger took place which brought M. Guggenheim's Sons into the company, absorbing a principal competitor. In turn, Meyer Guggenheim's sons took control of ASARCO after the merger and directed the company's continued expansion. ASARCO's plants dominated much of the Rocky Mountain smelting industry in the early twentieth century, although the severe decline in silver, lead and copper prices which followed the Panic of 1907 and persisted until American entry into World War I forced it to curtail many operations.
    The career of Frederick Roeser (fl. 1888-1919) was closely connected to these developments in the American smelting industry. This collection reveals little about Roeser himself; perhaps either a metallurgist or chemist, he served at different times as superintendent of ASARCO's Arkansas Valley and Globe smelting plants in Colorado (the latter near the city of Denver). During the 1890's, he may have lived in Revelstoke, British Columbia; he certainly invested in British Columbian land and mining stock during that decade. The bulk of the collection (and certainly the most valuable portion), however, consists of the various scientific, engineering and administrative reports circulated among ASARCO officials which he must have accumulated while superintending company smelters. The reports, which span a period from 1911 to 1919, discuss various technical procedures for reducing different metals, ASARCO efforts to improve the efficiency of their metallurgical processes, proper design and construction of metallurgical plants and the wages and productivity of employees at ASARCO plants. The reports illustrate developments in the fields of metallurgy, metals refining and industrial design being pursued by one of the most important members of the industry.

    Subject matter

    Metallurgy, metallurgical plant construction and design, mining engineering

    Items of special interest

    Reports on the metallurgy of arsenic and arsenic poisoning, 1917-1919, Box 1(1), review of inspection trip to ASARCO smelting plants in February 1916, Box 1(3), report on labor productivity at various ASARCO plants for the period 1908 to 1917, Box 1(6), reports on the design and construction of metallurgical plants between 1916 and 1919, Box 1(8), report on the wages at the Globe (Colorado) plant between 1915 and 1917, Box 1(16).


    All items are housed in a single box. The various technical reports are gathered together by subject in separate folders, organized alphabetically. Reports are followed by folders which contain a few pieces of Roeser's personal correspondence, business papers and ephemera, in that order. Last are five notebooks, filled with technical data about mining machinery, engineering, metallurgy and geology. The notebooks are numbered in chronological order.

    Material Transferred

    • 75 photographs of a trip to Africa and the Middle East have been transferred to the Photo Archive, where they are stored in Album #277.


    Fell, James E., Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry (Lincoln, Neb.: 1979)