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Wells, Fargo & Company Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Wells, Fargo & Company records
    Creator: Wells, Fargo & Company
    Identifier/Call Number: mssWF
    Physical Description: 42 Linear Feet (35 boxes, 11 volumes)
    Date (inclusive): 1839-1911
    Date (bulk): 1883-1906
    Abstract: This collection consists mainly of letters to and from Wells, Fargo & Company official Hosmer B. (Buckingham) 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 of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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 B. (Buckingham) 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 including Northern Pacific Railroad Company, Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company, Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad Company, and others; as well as matters of shipments, rates, and routes. There are also papers that relate to the personal business affairs of Hosmer B. Parsons.
    Includes original letters, press copies and press copy letter books, and duplicated copies of letters.
    Persons represented by 50 letters or more:
    1. Hancock, W. J. (325 pieces)
    2. Parsons, Hosmer B. (52 pieces + 11 letter books)
    3. Tevis, Lloyd (127 pieces)
    4. 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.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library staff in May 1985. In 2000 Brooke Dykman Dockter and Diann Benti revised and encoded the finding aid.


    Arranged in four series: 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.

    Related Materials

    Parsons family papers, mssParsons.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    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.)
    Parsons, Hosmer B. (Hosmer Buckingham), 1846-1908
    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 B. (Hosmer Buckingham), 1846-1908
    Tevis, Lloyd.
    Valentine, John J. (John Joseph), 1840-1901