Childs Frick (1883-1965)

The eldest of the Frick family’s four children, Childs was already in college when his family left Pittsburgh for New York in 1905.

Like his sister Helen Clay Frick, he displayed interests early in life that foreshadowed his career. As a young boy he spent time identifying and tagging animals such as rabbits and raccoons, examining rocks with his geology kit, and experimenting with photography. He also studied taxidermy as a young man.

After attending Princeton University, Childs began the first of many expeditions to Africa and the American West to collect animal specimens and fossils for study, many of which were donated to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

In 1913 Childs married Frances Dixon and they eventually settled in Roslyn, Long Island. As a gift for his son and daughter-in-law, Henry Clay Frick purchased and renovated a Georgian mansion. Childs and Frances renamed the house Clayton and made it their home for almost 50 years. They raised four children–Adelaide, Frances, Martha, and Clay. The home is now the Nassau County Museum of Art.

After he moved to New York, much of Childs’ research and collecting efforts were done in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History, where he established the Frick Laboratory of Vertebrate Paleontology. He also was named honorary curator of Late Tertiary and Quaternary Mammals, and served as a trustee from 1921 until his death.

During that time, he also served as president of the board of trustees of The Frick Collection, New York.