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Augustus Vincent Tack Papers

Identifier: MSN/MN 0505

Scope and Contents

Almost all the papers in the collection relate to Augustus Vincent Tack's involvement with the American Oil Development Company. Among the 141 letters are 89 directed to Augustus by company president Theodore A. Tack, September 1914 to January 1916. Though these contain a good deal of personal and family content they are first and foremost business letters, bringing Augustus up to date on company affairs. Among the numerous topics discussed are: the impact of the war in Europe on the oil industry; ongoing lawsuits involving oil companies and individuals; the successful purchase at auction and possible sale of oil sites in Oklahoma; reports of company manager Harry Tack's field trips to company sites; contracts made with Standard Oil to sell crude to refineries; the banking of the company's assets; and the payment of dividends to family members. There are also 36 letters addressed to Augustus by A.O.D. Co. secretary Willis Siegfried, requesting the signature of enclosed items and touching on other financial duties and scheduled meetings. Also in the collection are 12 letters written to Augustus by his wife Violet, describing her and the children's stay in Santa Barbara, California in the winter of 1922-23. Relevant to Tack's artistic interests are two letters written by his brother-in-law Arthur Negus Fuller, discussing, among other things, a planned exhibition of the works of George Fuller.

Also among the papers are Tack's copies of three groups of American Oil Development Company records. First, there are 57 A.O.D. Co. daily average production statements of the company's wells, totaling 293 pages. Each statement details a ten-day period; all told, the records cover production for almost exactly one year, from 1-10 September 1914 to 1-10 September 1915. Second, there are 13 A.O.D. Co. monthly production statements for all divisions, ranging in date from August 1914 to December 1915. Third, there are 17 A.O.D. Co. monthly receipt and expense reports, August 1914 to December 1915.


  • Creation: 1914-1923
  • Creation: Majority of material found within ( 1914-1915)

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Augustus Vincent Tack was born on 9 November 1870 in Pittsburgh, the son of Theodore E. and Mary Cosgrove Tack. Since 1863 Theodore Tack and two brothers had been engaged in the petroleum business, first as brokers and later as producers. In 1900 their McCalmont Oil Company was merged into the American Oil Development Company of Pittsburgh, of which Theodore E. Tack became president. Following Tack's death in 1914 company management devolved upon three first cousins: Theodore A. Tack, president; Harry S. Tack, vice-president and general manager, and Augustus Vincent Tack, treasurer. The A.O.D. Co. purchased and leased oil-producing properties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Oklahoma, selling much of the resulting crude to Standard Oil refineries. It also owned and operated a gasoline producing facility in Sisterville, West Virginia.

Augustus Tack's role in the family oil business appears to have been casual, even if it did provide him with personal income. As company treasurer he was primarily responsible for signing checks mailed to him at his residences in New York and Deerfield, Massachusetts. He was a painter by vocation, whose work was admired, collected, and exhibited by Duncan Phillips in the period between the wars, and is now broadly represented in the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Tack graduated from St. Francis Xavier College in Chelsea, New York, a Jesuit school, in 1890; for the five years following he took classes at the Art Students League. In 1897 he made his first visit to Deerfield, Massachusetts, where an artist's colony had grown up around the legacy of the painter George Fuller; for many years henceforth, Tack would divide his time between Deerfield and New York City. In 1900 he married Fuller's daughter Agnes, called Violet. Tack's career as a portrait, figure, and landscape painter took a remarkable turn ca. 1914-16, when Phillips began to champion his work, especially the abstract landscapes for which he is now best known. By 1959, ten years after Tack's death, the Philips Collection owned more than 250 of his works.


1 Cubic foot (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Incoming letters and documents preserved by the American painter Augustus Vincent Tack, mostly relating to his tenure (1914-1915?) as treasurer of the American Oil Development Company of Pittsburgh, the Tack family business.


The collection is arranged in three series: 1. Correspondence; 2. American Oil Development Co. Records; 3. Miscellaneous.

Lauren Golden
September 2014
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556