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Frost Family Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 28]

Identifier: DOC MSS 28

Scope and Contents

The Frost Family Manuscript Collection gives a good picture of upper-class life in both the United States and Europe from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries, including the financial decline that afflicted it toward the end of this period. The papers also provide fascinating glimpses into the stories of several generations of the flamboyant Frost family. The collection contains items dating from around 1850 to 1993, with the bulk: of the material dating from about 1900 to 1935.

Most of the material consists of letters to and from the Frost family and their friends. This Correspondence Series covers descriptions of European conditions during World War I, lives of leisure passed at various villas on the Continent, trips to warm seaside climates to bolster failing health, and the financial and marital troubles of black sheep brother Reginald, whose life was punctuated by failed schemes in the African ivory trade, the Yukon gold fields, and Arkansas diamond mines. Also here are family feuds, affecting death scenes, expressions of loneliness for far-away friends and relatives, and many matter-of-fact chronicles of the vicissitudes of advancing age.

The Ephemera Series provides an accompaniment of religious and memorial cards, prayers, and wedding announcements, while the Photographs Series contains family snapshots, many unfortunately unidentified, as well as views of Hazelwood and its gardens.

Other series such as Certificates, Clippings, and Compositions round out the variety of family documents making up the collection.


  • Circa 1850-1993


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Please contact the Saint Louis University Archives for details.


2.30 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection represents one of the three main divisions within the material donated by Elizabeth Tilton Seeley, niece of Harriet Lane Cates Hardaway and the apparent inheritor of the Hardaway estate. The Frost Family Manuscript Collection consists mainly of correspondence to and from Frost family members and friends kept by Harriet Frost Fordyce, aunt of Hamet Hardaway (Hardaway's mother, Elizabeth LaMotte Cates, and Harriet Frost Fordyce were half-sisters). Harriet Frost Fordyce, or "Aunt Hatty" as she was universally known, in 1959 contributed the money used by Saint Louis University to buy 22.5 acres in the Mill Creek Valley east of Grand Boulevard in order to expand the north campus, which was renamed Frost Campus in honor of Fordyce's father, General Daniel Marsh Frost. Fordyce had also given her estate of Hazelwood to the Jesuits in 1952 for use as a retreat center. This collection opens a window onto the lives of upper-class St. Louisans both at home and abroad from the late nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth, and fills in the history of the family whose name is perpetuated at Saint Louis University. The collection is organized into eight series: 1. Certificates; 2. Clippings; 3. Compositions; 4. Correspondence; 5. Ephemera; 6. Memoranda and Orders; 7. Photographs; 8. Wills and Trusts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elizabeth Tilton Seeley

Physical Description

1,206 items other_unmapped

Frost Family Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 28]DOC MSS 28
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Repository Details

Part of the Saint Louis University Archives Repository

Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis Missouri 63108 United States