Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to Frederick and Mary Fried Folk Art Archives


Collection ID:
Fried, Frederick, 1909-1994
National Carousel Association.
Fried, Mary Hill
circa 1662-1999, undated
Physical Description:
36 Cubic feet
89 boxes, 10 map-folders

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
Collection primarily documents American folk art collected by Frederick Fried (1908-1994) and his wife Mary McKensie Hill Fried (1914-1988). It includes photographic materials, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, research files, lecture notes, unpublished manuscripts, brochures, drawings, printed advertisements, blueprints, books, patents, correspondence, trade literature, sheet music, auction catalogs, oral history interviews, and commercially recorded music. Of particular interest is the material relating to carousels. There is a substantial amount of material relating to New York architecture, wood carvings, show figures, weathervanes, mechanical and coin operated machines, amusement parks, the circus, tattoos and lesser-known folk arts. The collection is arranged by subject or genre in the order maintained by Frederick and Mary Fried.


Series 1, Professional Materials, 1930-1995, undated
Subseries 1.1, Lectures, 1968-1989, undated
Subseries 1.2, Research Notes, 1962-1975, undated
Subseries 1.3, Published and Unpublished Materials, 1960-1990, undated
Subseries 1.4, Exhibitions, 1966-1985, undated
Subseries 1.5, Correspondence, 1945-1995, undated
Subseries 1.6, Office Files, 1930-1991, undated
Series 2, Sculptors and Ship Carvers, 1855-1987, undated
Series 3, Ship Carving Reference Files, 1875-1990, undated
Series 4, Show Figures, 1847-1989, undated
Subseries 4.1, Carvers, 1847-1987, undated
Subseries 4.2, Reference Files, 1864-1989, undated
Series 5: Carousels, 1851-1999, undated
Subseries 5.1, Reference Files, 1851-1990, undated
Subseries 5.2, Manufacturerst, 1854-1999, undated
Subseries 5.3, Carvers, undated
Subseries 5.4, Foreign, 1902, undated
Subseries 5.5, Organizations, 1974-1991, undated
Subseries 5.6, Museum Collections, 1959-1989, undated
Series 5.7, Sites, 1962-1991, undated
Series 6, Charles W. Parker Company, 1904-1905; 1922-1924, undated
Subseries 6.1, Glass Plate Negatives, 6x8, 1904-1905, undated
Subseries 6.2, Glass Plate Negatives, 8x10, 1922-1924, undated
Series 7, Amusements Parks, 1917-1992, undated
Series 8, Amusement Industry, 1662-1994, undated
Subseries 8.1, Companies, 1903, undated
Subseries 8.2, Reference Files, 1662-1994, undated
Series 9, Circus, 1902-1992, undated
Series 10, Architectural Ornaments, 1832-1988, undated
Subseries 10.1, Residential Architecture, 1899-1985, undated
Subseries 10.2, New York City Municipal Parks, 1968-1988, undated
Subseries 10.3, South Street Seaport, 1965-1970, undated
Subseries 10.4, New York Civic Sculpture, 1832-1977, undated
Subseries 10.5, Architectural Ornamentation, 1873-1985, undated
Series 11, Weathervanes, 1854-1981, undated
Series 12, Automatic, Coin Operated, and Vending Machines, 1960-1980, undated
Series 13, Banner Paintings and Painters, 1892-1999, undated
Series 14, Folk Arts, 1783-1999, undated
Subseries 14.1, Reference Files, 1831-1988, undated
Subseries 14.2, Clocks and Watches, 1869-1876; 1976, undated
Subseries 14.3, Eagles, 1843-1989, undated
Subseries 14.4, Musical Instruments, 1963-1999, undated
Subseries 14.5, Painters and Paintings, 1950-1990, undated
Subseries 14.6, Signs and Symbols, 1974, 1976, undated
Subseries 14.7, Other Materials, 1872-1988, undated
Subseries 14.8, Miscellaneous, 1783-1954, undated
Series 15: Photographic Materials, 1832-1988, undated
Subseries 15.1, Photographs and Contact Sheets, 1940-1984, undated
Subseries 15.1.1, America's Forgotten Arts, undated
Subseries 15.1.2, Artists in Wood, undated
Subseries 15.1.3, General, 1940-1984, undated
Subseries 15.2, Slides, 1832-1987, undated
Subseries 15.3, Negatives, undated
Subseries 15.4, Glass Plate Negatives, undated
Subseries 15.5, Snapshots, 1964-1988, undated
Subseries 15.5.1, Artists, Manufacturers, and Dealers, undated
Subseries 15.5.2, Museum Collections, 1964, undated
Subseries 15.5.3, Parks or Other Locations, undated
Subseries 15.5.4, Private Collections, 1987-1988, undated
Subseries 15.5.5, General, 1983-1988, undated
Series 16, Audiovisual Materials, 1940-1991, undated
Subseries 16.1, Audiocassette Tapes, 1971-1988, undated
Subseries 16.1.1, Lectures, 1974-1986, undated
Subseries 16.1.2, Interviews, 1971-1984, undated
Subseries 16.1.3, Music, 1972-1988, undated
Subseries 16.2, Audiotapes, 1940-1977, undated
Subseries 16.2.1, Lectures and Performances, 1969-1973, undated
Subseries 16.2.2, Interviews, 1940-1976, undated
Subseries 16.2.3, Conferences and Meetings, 1973-1977
Subseries 16.2.4, Music, 1956, undated
Subseries 16.2.5, Other, undated
Subseries 16.3, Videotapes, 1982-1991, undated

Biographical / Historical

Biographical / Historical
Frederick P. Fried was born December 11, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn where his father owned a clock business across the street from Charles Carmel, a carousel carver. Fried acquired a fine-arts education in the 1930s with an emphasis on sculpture. He served with the Air Force during the Second World War. After a successful military career, Fried worked as art director in several fashion agencies. He met Mary McKenzie Hill, an academically trained artist in one of the studios.
Mary McKenzie Hill was born in 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts. After graduation, she spent a year abroad studying before she returned to the United States to work as a fashion illustrator in Baltimore and New York. During World War Two Hill was a draftsman for a firm of architects.
Fried and Mary Hill married in 1949. The couple had two children Robert Hazen and Rachel. Around 1953 Fried began to collect architectural ornaments in New York. Fried served as the art director for Bonwit Teller in New York City from 1955-1962. He left the fashion world in 1962 to pursue his passion for collecting and writing full time. Fried published his first book, Pictorial History of Carousels in 1964. In 1967, Fred and Mary Fried purchased a forty-acre farm in Bristol, Vermont where the family spent their summers.
In 1968, Fried led a national campaign to preserve the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse (Seamen's Church Institute at South Street). He also became active in politics and served as the campaign manager for a New York State senator. His interest in Indian cigar store figures resulted in his publication Artists in Wood: American Carvers of Cigar Store Indians, Show Figures and Circus published in 1970. The focus of the book was Samuel Anderson Robb a New York wood carver. Fried co-founded the National Carousel Association in 1973. In 1978, Fried wrote America's Forgotten Folk Art with his wife Mary. This publication covered subjects such as carousels, banner painting, scarecrows, beach sand sculpture, tattoos, cast iron toys, amusement park architecture and trade signs.
Fried's collecting goal was to first preserve artifacts and to then make them available through his writings and exhibitions. His most treasured relics were the items he salvaged from the ruins of Coney Island. Fried referred to such artifacts as the uncelebrated arts. He became one of the founders of the Anonymous Arts Recovery Society a group of individuals who saved architectural ornaments from the wreckers' balls. In addition, he was one of the founders of the National Carousel Round Table which was created to preserve hand-carved merry-go-rounds. As a result of his collecting, research and writing Fried became recognized as the authority on carousels, coin-operated machines, and cigar store figures. He served as a consultant to many Museums; in particular as chief consultant on American Folk Art for the Smithsonian Institution.
Frederick and Mary Hill worked together in many ways to document, collect, preserve and increase the awareness about primarily the folk arts. Mary McKenzie Hill Fried passed away in 1988 at the age of seventy-four. Frederick P. Fried died July 1994 at the age of eighty-six.


Craig Orr and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection a bequest of the Frederick Fried Estate.
Processing Information
Processed by Craig Orr, archivist, (1999); Jennifer Shaifer (intern), October-December 2008; Ramona Williamson (volunteer), November 2008; Sarah Allan, November 2008; Matthew Kuhnert, volunteer, 2014; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, supervisory archivist.

Digital Content

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Using the Collection

Preferred Citation
Frederick and Mary Hill Fried Folk Art Archives, circa 1662-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark. Fees for commercial reproduction.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
E. Howard Clock Company Records (NMAH.AC.00776)
M. Francis Misklea Carousel Collection (NMAH.AC.0665)
Archives Center Carousel Collection (NMAH.AC.0675)
Messmore and Damon, Incorporated Company Records (NMAH.AC.0846)
Anthony W. Pendergast Collection (NMAH.AC.0882)
Frank Paulin Photoprints (NMAH.AC.1373)
Wurlitzer Company Records (NMAH.AC.0469)
Industry on Parade (NMAH.AC.0507)
Reel #191, Craftsmen of the Carousel, 1954. Manufacturing merry-go-rounds for amusement reports. Arrow Development Co., Mountain View, California.
Materials at Other Organizations
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Frederick Fried Coney Island collection, 1847-2001
The collection consists of materials used by Frederick Fried in his research and writing about folk art and material culture, especially related to Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. A significant portion of the collection consists of the personal archive of William F. Mangels, which was purchased by Fried in 1955. Mangels was a designer and manufacturer of amusement rides and founder of the American Museum of Public Recreation at Coney Island. Subjects include amusement parks, amusement rides, architecture, bathing pavilions, beaches, beauty contests, carousels, carousel animals, Brooklyn, coin-operated machines, Coney Island, exhibitions, games of chance and skill, hotels, mechanical rides, mechanization, parades, pleasure railways, recreation, roller coasters, sideshows, transportation, and other subjects related to American material culture and popular amusement.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Periodicals Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Advertisements Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merry-go-round art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wood-carvers Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Signs and signboards Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weather vanes Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coin-operated machines Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blueprints -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Books Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Architecture -- Details Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Auction catalogs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Amusement ride equipment industry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Amusement rides Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Folk art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merry-go-round Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Figure sculpture -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
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