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H.W. Fay Portrait Collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

Box 4

Box 5

Box 6

Box 7

Box 8

Box 9

Addendum 1

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H.W. Fay Portrait Collection, 1864-1945 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: H.W. Fay Portrait Collection, 1864-1945

ID: RHC/RC/026

Extent: 7.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 02/16/1966

Subjects: Ames, Daniel, Archaeology, Fay, Herbert W., Grand Army of the Republic., Knights of Pythias., Maple Park (Ill.), Northern Illinois University, Suffrage., United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence

Forms of Material: Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Herbert W. Fay Collection contains 9 boxes of material directly related to and including Fay’s portrait collection.  Box 1, housing material dated between 1864-1945, contains several file folders of general and personal correspondence and portrait loan agency clippings, all reflective of Fay s occupation as an historical portrait collector. Also included in this group are printed materials (broadsides leaflets, etc) related to Fay’s social and political interests and his participation in fraternal organizations. Boxes 2-8 contain Fay s portrait collection. Boxes 2-4 contain old portraits of DeKalb County citizens, Chicagoans and Illinois state officials. Box 4 also contains old photographs of the DeKalb County area. Boxes 5-7 contain portraits of people representing all spheres of life. Box 8 contains portraits which remain to be identified, 4 books and a tin plate of Horace Fay. Glass lantern slides, dating from about 1899 to 1921, make up Box 9. About 30 of the 66 lantern slides deal with DeKalb and the N.I.S.N.S./N.I.S.T.C. [now N.I.U.] campus.

The portraits found in boxes 2-8 were assembled by Fay during the period dating approximately 1890 to 1920. The date recorded on the reverse of the photograph is generally the year in which Fay received it. Subject and qualifier indices are available.

Collection Historical Note

Herbert W. Fay was born February 28, 1859, in Squaw Grove Township, DeKalb County, Illinois, and was the son of Edwin H. and Ann Haywood Fay, natives of New York and Maine, and the grandson of Horace W. Fay who came to DeKalb County from New York in 1838. Mr. Fay attended the common schools for his primary education and studied for four years at Monmouth College. After completing his course work, he taught school briefly and then came to Hinckley, purchasing a third interest in the Hinckley Review in partnership with the Tomblin Brothers. In 1882 he became sole proprietor. On September 24, 1884, Fay married Nellie Sebree and moved from Hinckley to DeKalb where he purchased a half interest in the DeKalb Review with D.W. Tyrell. In DeKalb Fay was a county surveyor and served for three years on the board of education.

Mr. Fay was a collector of historical portraits. This collection was begun by Fay in 1869 and contained fifty thousand photographs of some of the most notable people in the world. His collection included ninety different sittings of Lincoln and twenty-five of Longfellow. He was the owner of the McNulta negative of Lincoln and had photographs of kings, queens, presidents, ex-presidents, judges of the supreme court, United States Senators, representatives, authors, scientists, inventors, artists, etc. He became the associate editor of National Cyclopedia of American Biography and many of the portraits used to illustrate the work are from his collection. He furnished 500 pictures of prominent people for the Americanized edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica and his series of Lincoln portraits were used in McClure s Life of Lincoln. In later years Mr. Fay went to Springfield as custodian of the Abraham Lincoln Monument

Subject/Index Terms

Ames, Daniel
Fay, Herbert W.
Grand Army of the Republic.
Knights of Pythias.
Maple Park (Ill.)
Northern Illinois University
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to material in the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center, literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Mr. Paul Nehring, Sr

Acquisition Method: Mr. Paul Nehring, Sr. donated the H.W. Fay Collection of portraits to the Northern Illinois University Archives on February 16, 1966. In May 1978, University Archivist, Mr. J. Joseph Bauxer, transferred the collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center

Related Materials: See also the Abraham Lincoln related lantern slides in UA 11 Box 5]

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Addendum 1],

Box 1
Folder 1A-B: Correspondence, 1880-1945
Folder 2: Personal Correspondence, 1900-1945
Folder 3: Daniel C. Ames Letters, includes information on Ames family, and 52nd Illinois Infantry, July 1864-June 1865
Folder 4: Talbot Letters to H. W. Fay; Ichang, China, 1912
Folder 5: Photo Service Letters, 1839-1932
Folder 6: Portrait Loan Agency Clippings
Folder 7: Political Campaign Literature, 1905-1933
Folder 8: Social Welfare Literature, includes Suffrage, 1897-1917
Folder 9: Knights of Pythias; Odd Fellows, 1905-1944; 1924
Folder 10: Civil War Rosters, 1886-1915
Folder 11: Civil War Broadside - Sherman's Battles, Lincoln portrait
Folder 12: Entertainment, lectures, revivals, 1864-1921
Folder 13: Marriage Announcements and Obituaries, 1892-1917
Folder 14: Fay Photo Engravings and Business Cards
Folder 15: Mastadon Bones, Jacob Hockstrawser Farm, Maple Park (9 Photographs, 2 Proof Sheets), 1907

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Addendum 1],

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