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Finding aid for the French & Company stock sheets and ledgers, 1909-1968
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Organizational / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: French & Company stock sheets and ledgers
    Date (inclusive): 1909-1968
    Number: 840027
    Creator/Collector: French & Company (New York, N.Y.)
    Physical Description: 45.0 linear feet (108 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Stock sheets, stock books, ledgers, and assorted papers document the objects, primarily decorative arts pieces, bought and sold by the New York art dealer, French & Company, between 1909 and 1968.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Organizational / Historical Note

    American art dealership based in New York City, French & Company bought and sold decorative arts, as well paintings and sculpture. Mitchell Samuels founded the firm in New York in 1907. Under Mitchell Samuels'directorship French & Company clients included many wealthy American collectors eager for decorative art objects and paintings of European provenance. Among their clients were, J. Paul Getty and William Randolph Hearst. During this period the firm also served as agents and decorators for the Huntingtons, Fricks, Mellons and Astors, among others. Mitchell's son Spencer took over the firm in the 1950s. After his father's death, Spencer sold the firm to City Investing in 1959. In 1968 City Investing sold the firm to Martin Zimet. Much of the French & Company remaining stock of decorative arts objects was sold at auction in 1968. The firm continued under the same name after the 1950s, but with a changing inventory and clientele.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    French & Company stock sheets and ledgers, 1909-1968, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 840027.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1971

    Processing History

    The stock sheets and ledgers were acquired in 1971, along with the photographs and negatives, which were transferred to the repository's Photo Study collection. Jocelyn Gibbs with assistance from Onica Busuioceanu, organized this collection. The photographs from French & Co. are integrated into the Decorative Arts section of the Photo Study collection, with the exception of the photographs of tapestries, which are cataloged as the Tapestries collection, accession no. 97.P.7. All the French and Co. negatives are filed together under accession no. 71.P.1.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The French & Company archive consists of more than 100,000 stock sheets, 12 bound volumes of ledgers, stockbooks, and notebooks, plus assorted inventory sheets and cost records. (The photographs and negatives from French & Co. now form part of the repository's Photo Study collection.)
    The stock sheets, some accompanied by slides and photographic contact prints, record in detail the objects handled by the firm: object description, stock numbers (numbers were sometimes changed), negative numbers which refer to the negatives and photographs from the French & Company records, provenance and sales. The majority of stock sheets are filed in one series and are numbered 1- ca. 81,483 (with some gaps). Another series of stock numbers ranges from A103 through N120.
    The ledgers, stockbooks and notebooks record stock numbers and related negative numbers, and sometimes record object descriptions as well. Lists of photos, taken from old binders, list French & Company photographs in stock number order. Inventory sheets (.5 linear ft.) date from 1958 and list stock numbers and record transfers of inventory. Cost records (ca. .5 linear ft.) list client names, stock numbers, object descriptions, sales dates and prices, and date from 1957 -1968. One large pencil drawing is of a closet design for an unidentified client, Park Mansions, Pittsburgh, and is dated 1946.

    Arrangement note

    Arranged in 3 series: Series I. Stock sheets, 1909-1968; Series II Stock and ledger books, ca. 1909-1968; Series III Assorted papers, ca. 1920-1968.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    French & Company (New York, N.Y.)

    Subjects - Topics

    Art dealers--New York (State)--New York
    Art galleries, commercial--New York (State)--New York
    Art--Collectors and collecting
    Decorative arts--Collectors and collecting

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Sales records--20th century