Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Wells, Fargo & Company Records: Finding Aid
mssWF Boxes 1-35  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (60.58 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Wells, Fargo & Company Records
    Dates (inclusive): 1839-1911
    Bulk dates: 1883-1906
    Collection Number: mssWF Boxes 1-35
    Creator: Wells, Fargo & Company.
    Extent: 2,254 pieces in 35 boxes and 11 volumes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists mainly of letters to and from Wells, Fargo & Company official Hosmer Benjamin Parsons (1846-1908), who joined the company in 1867 and later became president of its bank in New York. The papers deal with company business and company's relationships with railroad lines and competing express firms. Some of the papers relate to the personal business affairs of Hosmer B. Parsons, including his investments in Mexico.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

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


    Purchased from William P. Wreden, May 1961.

    Historical Note

    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 Wells, Fargo & 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.
    Includes contains original letters, press copies (and press copy letter books), and duplicated copies of letters.
    Persons represented by 50 letters or more:
    • Hancock, W. J. (325 pieces)
    • Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin (52 pieces + 11 letter books)
    • Tevis, Lloyd (127 pieces)
    • Valentine, John Joseph (1,071 pieces)
    Some notable items include: 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, and Collis Potter Huntington.


    Arranged in the following manner: 1. General correspondence (Boxes 1-33); 2. Investments in Mexico (Box 34); 3. Business papers of Hosmer B. Parsons, photographs, ephemera, printed items (Box 35); 4. 11 letter books.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin, 1846-1908.
    Wells, Fargo & Company.
    Banks and banking -- United States.
    Coaching (Transportation) -- West (U.S.) -- History -- Sources.
    Express service -- West (U.S.) -- History -- Sources.
    Investments, American -- Mexico.
    Postal service -- United States.
    Railroads -- United States.
    West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.


    Business records -- West (U.S.)
    Letter books -- West (U.S.)
    Letters (correspondence) -- West (U.S.)

    Alternate Authors

    Daly, Marcus, 1841-1900.
    Haggin, James Ben Ali, 1822-1914.
    Hancock, W. J.
    Hearst, George, 1820-1891.
    Hearst, Phoebe Apperson, 1842-1919.
    Heron, James, active 1875-1886.
    Huntington, Collis Potter, 1821-1900.
    Parsons, Hosmer Benjamin, 1846-1908.
    Tevis, Lloyd.
    Valentine, John J. (John Joseph), 1840-1901.