Frederick Roeser Papers: Finding Aid

Processed by The Huntington Library staff in May 1987; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Xiuzhi Zhou and Diann Benti.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
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Overview of the Collection

Title: Frederick Roeser Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1880-1919
Bulk dates: 1911-1919
Collection Number: mssRoeser
Creator: Roeser, Frederick, active 1880-1919.
Extent: 94 pieces in 1 box
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: This collection chiefly contains reports from various American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) plants, dating from 1911 to 1919, presumably accumulated by Frederick Roeser while superintending company smelters in Colorado. Subjects include metallurgy, metallurgical plant construction and design, and mining engineering.
Language: English.


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


Gift of Mrs. Frederick Roeser, February 3, 1969, and July 9, 1973.

Historical Note on ASARCO

On April 4, 1899, the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) was chartered in the state of New Jersey. ASARCO, 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.

Biographical Note on Frederick Roeser

Frederick Roeser (active 1880-1919), who may have been either a metallurgist or chemist, was the superintendent of several Colorado smelting plants owned by the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO). 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 1890s, he may have lived in Revelstoke, British Columbia; he certainly invested in British Columbian land and mining stock during that decade.


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

Removed or Separated Material

75 photographs of a trip to Africa and the Middle East have been transferred to the Photo Archive. See photCL 277.

Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of scientific, engineering, and administrative reports from various American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) plants, presumably accumulated by Frederick Roeser while superintending company smelters. The reports, which span the period 1911-1919, discuss technical procedures for reducing different metals, ASARCO efforts to improve the efficiency of metallurgical processes, design and construction of metallurgical plants, and wages and productivity at ASARCO plants. There are also notebooks in the collection which contain information about developments in the fields of metallurgy, metals refining, industrial design, mining engineering, mining machinery, and mining geology.
The collection also contains a small assortment of personal papers related to Frederick Roeser, but reveals little about Roeser himself.
Notable items include: 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.

Indexing Terms

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


Roeser, Frederick, active 1880-1919.
American Smelting and Refining Company.
American Smelting and Refining Company -- History -- Sources.
Metallurgical plants -- Colorado.
Metallurgical research.
Metallurgy -- United States -- History -- Sources.
Mining engineering -- Colorado.
Mining geology.
Mining machinery.
Wages -- Metal-workers.


Business records -- Colorado.
Letters (correspondence) -- Colorado.
Notebooks -- Colorado.
Technical reports -- Colorado.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

American Smelting and Refining Company.

Collection Contents

Box 1