Scope and arrangement
The Fred F. French Companies records consist of financial, legal and promotional materials in a range of formats including, project development binders and scrapbooks, correspondence, legal agreements, stock ledgers and certificates, prospectuses, brochures, photographs, and architectural blueprints and renderings that document French's distinctive approach to developing real estate in New York City during the early to mid 20th-century.
The scrapbooks and project binders represent a broad spectrum of French projects with a heavy emphasis on the Tudor City and Knickerbocker Village housing projects. They document the process of raising money for, and construction of, new buildings, as well as documenting the promotional activities of the Companies. Photographs document the prior conditions of the potential building sites, the construction processes, and the completed buildings. Although the financial papers and legal records are fragmentary, they provide insights into the investment strategies and legal particulars of the Companies. The records do not document the Companies disposition of properties and shifted emphasis to investing.
The Fred F. French Companies Records are arranged in five series:
- 1918-1943, n.d.
- 1913-1966, n.d.
- 1926-1951, n.d.
This series is arranged alphabetically by subject. Construction photographs document buildings in various stages of construction. Documentation photographs include images of a section of the Lower East Side known as the "lung block'" (so called owing to the high incidence of tuberculosis) that was razed to make way for Knickerbocker Village. Also included are photographs of completed buildings. Photographs of executives and staff include portraits of corporation officials, including French, and photographs of company events. Unidentified photographs are of a lake house and its environs.
This series is arranged chronologically. Created to document the progress of the French projects and companies, the project development binders and scrapbooks cover six decades and multiple building projects. Volumes contain photographs, clippings, advertisements, brochures, blueprints, architectural renderings, and proposals that chronicle the construction of new properties and the promotional activities of the French Companies.
Includes brochures of properties for customers, for prospective investors and for salesmen. Also includes publicity postcards promoting the quality of life at Tudor City.