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The Fricks Take a Trip: Egypt

The Fricks Take a Trip: Egypt
January 21, 2021

The Fricks Take a Trip: Egypt

In the early twentieth century, Egypt was a vacation destination for many wealthy American and European families. It provided both adventure and ancient history while at the same time offered luxurious hotels and boat tours. The Fricks traveled to Egypt in the winter of 1912; they were led on their journey by archaeologist George Andrew Reisner, who Mr. Frick had met at an Egyptology talk in Boston. Reisner convinced Frick that he could take the family to sites unknown to most travelers. The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Frick; Reisner and his wife and daughter; Helen Clay Frick; Frances Dixon (who would later marry Childs Frick); and J. Horace Harding, an art collector and Mr. Frick’s financial advisor. They left on January 10th, 1912 aboard the Adriatic and arrived in Alexandria on the 28th. 

Off the coast of Gibraltar. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Helen Clay Frick and Frances Dixon riding along the Nile. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Henry Clay Frick reading on the Soudan II during their trip up the Nile River. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Adelaide Frick at the Tomb of the Kings. She had injured her ankle in the Azores and could not make the journey on foot. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Left to right: Henry Clay Frick, Mrs. Harding, J. Horace Harding, Frances Dixon, Helen Clay Frick, and George Reisner. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

Reisner took them to the Giza Necropolis to see the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx. They boarded the Soudan II and sailed up the Nile to other monuments of the ancient Egyptians. Helen was taken away with the views, saying “I have never seen such coloring in my life and can’t recall such a combination as the sunset and moon rise as we had this evening.” Their stops included Beni Hassan, Kom Ombo, Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings. Reisner showed them the tombs of the pharaohs and temples dedicated to the old gods of Egypt. Frick, impressed by all he had seen, donated 12,000 dollars to support Reisner’s excavations in Egypt. 

Temple statues. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

The Great Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khufu. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

The Great Pyramids of Giza. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

The Frick party in Egypt. Courtesy of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

After Egypt, they visited Italy and France. A sail home on the Titanic was planned, but the Fricks delayed their return and gave the tickets to J.P. Morgan, who in turn also gave them away. The Titanic never reached New York and the Fricks returned home separately aboard the Lusitania and the Amerika.
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