Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection

Finding aid prepared by Sara Chetney, MA
Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library
800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont 91711
© 2018
Claremont University Consortium. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection
Dates: 1871-1984
Collection number: H.Mss.1086
Creator: Axe, Ruth Frey
Extent: 4.75 Linear Feet (5 document boxes, 1 slim document box, 1 oversize flat box)
Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711
Abstract: The Charles S. Frey collection contains materials related to bicycling and bicycle enthusiasts ranging from pamphlets and periodicals to illustrations and comic books. It was created by Ruth Frey Axe in honor of her nephew, an airman who lost his life during World War II. She began collecting in 1956, and acquired diverse and hard to find items, including some of the earliest 19th century pamphlets on bicycling.
Physical Location: Please consult repository.
Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English.

Administrative Information


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection (H. Mss. 1086). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont, California.

Provenance / Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ruth Frey Axe, 1983.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

Processed, arranged, and listed by Andrea Bell.

Biographical / Historical

The Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection was donated by Ruth Frey Axe of Los Angeles, CA. Mrs. Axe has long-standing connections with Pomona College, where she was Henry Raup Wagner’s assistant when he donated the Northwest Cartography Collection and other gifts to the Carnegie Library during the 1920s and 1930s. Their visits to Claremont were described by Mrs. Axe in her lively biography of Henry Wagner published in AB Bookman’s Weekly in 1980.
The reason behind the bicycle collection is a personal one. Ruth Axe had a sister-in-law, Annabelle (Norris) Frink Frey, who graduated from Pomona College in 1918. When Mrs. Frey's son Charles was killed in the Second World War, Ruth Axe, an avid book collector, decided to dedicate a collection to his memory and donate it eventually to Pomona College. In her own words, she “had decided at the start that [the collection] would be formed in the memory of my nephew…after Charles’s death (at age 21) [his mother] and I had established a small book fund at the College in his memory. I thought that the bicycle collection would add to that memorial.”
Both Ruth and her husband Harold were enthusiastic bicyclists for many years. Harold Axe started bicycling seriously during World War II, when the public was asked to curtail gasoline consumption. So cycling was the subject around which Ruth Axe accumulated her memorial collection in honor of her nephew. Over the years, she gathered a wide assortment of items, from children’s stories, newspaper clippings, correspondence, pictures, and magazines to several of the earliest books and periodicals on the subject. After Mrs. Axe donated her collection, it was put on display in the Honnold/Mudd Library from November 1983 – March 1984.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials relating to cycling that were acquired by Ruth Frey Axe in memory of her nephew, Charles S. Frey. Dating as far back as the late 19th century, this collection contains a diverse range of materials relating to bicycling and bicycle enthusiasts, including bulletins, announcements, correspondence, periodicals, journals, pamphlets, illustrations, comics, newspaper clippings, publications, and scrapbooks. Noteable items include the very rare Volumes 1 and 2 of the 1897 pamphlet "Wheeling."

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is arranged on a file level.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

Subject Terms

Bicycling books

Genre and Form of Materials

Comic books, strips, etc.
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)

Box 1, Folder 1

Clubs and rallies - bulletins

Box 1, Folder 2

Bike trips - announcements

Box 1, Folder 3


Box 1, Folder 4

Tandem Club of America

Box 1, Folder 5

Wheelmen publications


Does not include the periodical The Wheelmen.
Box 1, Folder 6

The Wanderer

Box 1, Folder 7

Southern California Cycling Journal

Box 1, Folder 8


Box 1, Folder 9

Dr. Paul Dudley White

Box 1, Folder 10

Book Catalogs

Box 1, Folder 11

Bicycle Illustrations (folder 1)

Box 1, Folder 12

Bicycle Illustrations (folder 2)

Box 2, Folder 1

Bike Trip 1975 July 17

Box 2, Folder 2

California Bike Tour

Box 2, Folder 3

Bicycle Notes

Box 2, Folder 4

Horace Dobbins: the Arroyo Seco Cycleway


Notes and clippings
Box 2, Folder 5

Indenture 1898 April 25

Box 2, Folder 6

Charles Russell; William S. Hart

Box 2, Folder 7

Touring: Atascadero bike trip

Box 2, Folder 8

Ruth Frey Axe's list of the Bicycle Collection (duplicate)

Box 2, Folder 9


Box 2, Folder 10

Mr. Hollander

Box 2, Folder 11

G. S. Dunbar

Box 2, Folder 12

Dr. Irving A. Leonard (1 )

Box 2, Folder 13

Dr. Irving A. Leonard (2 )

Box 3, Folder 1

Bike Day buttons 1979

Box 3, Folder 2


Box 3, Folder 3

Clippings - Mr. and Mrs. Harold Axe

Box 3, Folder 4

Clippings - summary listing only - bike lanes

Box 3, Folder 5

Clippings - bike advertisements

Box 3, Folder 6

Clippings - books about bicycles

Box 3, Folder 7

Clippings -bicycle legislation, city ordinances, commuters

Box 3, Folder 8

Clippings - police activities/ crime and bicycles

Box 3, Folder 9

Clippings - cycling accidents, dangers, deaths

Box 3, Folder 10

Clippings - bike races and racers

Box 3, Folder 11

Clippings - bike trips

Box 3, Folder 12

Clippings - "how-to" - buy, repair, use, etc. bicycles

Box 3, Folder 13

Clippings - health

Box 3, Folder 14

Clippings - industry

Box 3, Folder 15

Augustus Post: "The Evolution of the Flying Man"

Box 3, Folder 16

Clippings - historical

Box 3, Folder 17

Clippings - bicycle revival

Box 3, Folder 18

Clippings - nostalgic essays

Box 3, Folder 19

Clippings - novels, plays, etc. about bicycles

Box 3, Folder 20

Clippings - bicycles and science/alternative bicycles

Box 3, Folder 21

Clippings - photos of bicycles and cyclists

Box 4, Folder 1

Publications 1964, 1971, and 1974


Includes: American Cycling Newsletter. Vol. 3, no. 3 (May 1964); American Youth Hostels. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Council of American Youth Hostels, 1974 - various photos, announcements for bicycle trips, etc.; and Boethling, Bob, ed. The Bicycle Book. Los Angeles: UCLA Alumni Press, 1971.
Box 4, Folder 2

Publications 1971


Includes: The Bicycle Cash Register. Chicago: The Murray Co., n.d. and Bicycle Racing. Los Angeles: Southern California Cycling Association, 1971.
Box 4, Folder 3

Periodicals 1969, 1970, and 1976


Includes: Bicycling! First issue. Vol. 8, no. 1 (January 1969); Vol. 11, no. 11 (November 1970); and Vol. 17, no. 12 (December 1976)
Box 4, Folder 4

Periodicals 1975-1976 and 1986


Includes: Bike Report. Vol. 12, no. 8 (August/September 1986) and Bike World. Vol. 4, no. 2 (February 1975) and vol. 9, no. 9 (September 1976)
Box 4, Folder 5

Periodicals 1895 and 1898


Includes: Century Magazine. Vol. 55, no. 6 (April 1898). Pages 837- 851: Pennell, Elizabeth Robins. "Over the Alps on a Bicycle." Illus. Joseph Pennell. Also 10 page ads near back for bicycles, bike parts, and accessories. The Cosmpolitan. Vol. 19, no. 4 (August 1895). Pages(386)-394: de Koven, Mrs. Reginald. "Bicyling for Women." Photos included, plus ads.
Box 4, Folder 6

Periodicals 1973-1975


Includes: The Gooseneck: Monthly Bulletin of the Los Angeles Wheelmen. Vol. 28, nos. 9-10 (September-October 1973). High Gear. Numbers 13, 20, 21 (July 1974, May 1975, June 1975).
Box 4, Folder 7

Periodicals 1897, 1961, and 1980


Includes: Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly. Vol. 48, no. 1 (March 1961). Pages 35-68: Splitter, Henry Winifred. "Los Angeles Recreation, 1846-1900"; Horne Study Magazine. Vol. 11, no. 2 (December 1897). Pages 345-348: Follows, G. Herbert. "Why Does a Bicycle Stand Up?"; and Los Angeles Harbor College. Calendar of Events. Wilmington, CA: Office of Community Services, Summer 1980. Cover drawing plus page 3.
Box 4, Folder 8

Periodicals 1900 and 1972


Includes: National Geographic Magazine. Vol. 142, no. 3 (September 1972). Cover photo plus pages 336-337: photo of Hadley, Massachusetts antique bicycle club. Overland Monthly. Vol. 35, no. 210 (June 1900). Various ads in the first 3 pages, plus a poem on page 504: Otis, E.F. "Wheeling in Honolulu." Also pages (521)-529: Rotifer. "The Wheel in the West" (Photos included).
Box 5, Folder 1

Progressive Springfield Monthly. Vol. 1, no. 14 1891 March


Cover photo plus page 172 has ads.
Box 5, Folder 2

Publications 1900, 1961, and 1975


Includes: Byrne, John Frank, ed. Spalding's Official Bicycle Guide for 1900. New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1900. Sports Illustrated. Vol. 42, no. 21 (26 May 1975). Pages(36)-44: Cantwell, Robert. "Where All Roads Lead to Roam." Also ads. Staten Island Transcript and Westfield Times. Vol. 86, no. 49 (8 December 1961).
Box 5, Folder 3

Periodicals 1965, and 1974, 1978


Includes: Sunset. Vol. 135, no. 1 (July 1965). Southwest edition, page 48: "The Bike Clubs Invite You Along" and pages (50)-57: "The Bike's Comeback." Also laid in: Central edition, page 36: "Bike Clubs..." and pages 40-44: "Where the Biking's Good." Northern edition has same laid-in material as central edition. Sunset. Vol. 152, no. 5 (May 1974). Southwest edition, cover photo plus pages (78)-(85): ""What about Bike Tripping?" plus pages 42-46: "Biking at the Beach" (on Santa Monica), plus page 256: "More Bikeways in the West." Westways. Vol. 70, no. 5 (May 1978). Pages 50-52: Carroll, Richard. "Re: Cycling Challenge."
Box 5, Folder 4

The Wheelmen 1975-1979 and 1984


Includes: Vol. 6, no. 1 (Winter 1975); Vol. 6, no. 2 (Summer 1975); Vol. 7, no. 1 (Winter 1976); no. 11 (March 1977); no. 13 (December 1978); no. 14 (May 1979); no. 24(May 1984).
Box 5, Folder 5

Pink and blue-flowered scrapbook


Various bicycle photos, ads, illustrations, and articles.
Box 6, Folder 1

"Wheeling" pamphlet, Vol 1 No 14 and Vol 1 No 20 1897 May 15 - 1897 June 26

Box 6, Folder 2

Roger Durham Bicycle Ride journal 1974 August 17

Box 6, Folder 3

Two Wheel Trip: The American Magazine of Bicycling, Vol 1 No 1 1973

Box 6, Folder 4

"Toys and Bicycles" magazine 1973 July

Box 7, Folder 1

Harper's Weekly 1879 and 1880


Oversize folder. Includes: Vol . 23, no. 1199 (1879 December 20) and Vol. 24, no. 1206 (1880 February 7).
Box 7, Folder 2

Oversize illustrations of bicycles


Oversized folder.
Box 7, Folder 3

By Land and Water 1889


Oversize folder.
Box 7, Folder 4

Oversize bicycle illustrations


Oversize folder, four items.