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Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection

Identifier: H-Mss-1086

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials relating to cycling that were acquired by Ruth Frey Axe in memory of her nephew, Charles S. Frey. Dating as far back as the late 19th century, this collection contains a diverse range of materials relating to bicycling and bicycle enthusiasts, including bulletins, announcements, correspondence, periodicals, journals, pamphlets, illustrations, comics, newspaper clippings, publications, and scrapbooks. Noteable items include the very rare Volumes 1 and 2 of the 1897 pamphlet "Wheeling."


  • Creation: 1871-1984

Language of Materials

Languages represented in the collection: English.


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

The Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection was donated by Ruth Frey Axe of Los Angeles, CA. Mrs. Axe has long-standing connections with Pomona College, where she was Henry Raup Wagner’s assistant when he donated the Northwest Cartography Collection and other gifts to the Carnegie Library during the 1920s and 1930s. Their visits to Claremont were described by Mrs. Axe in her lively biography of Henry Wagner published in AB Bookman’s Weekly in 1980.

The reason behind the bicycle collection is a personal one. Ruth Axe had a sister-in-law, Annabelle (Norris) Frink Frey, who graduated from Pomona College in 1918. When Mrs. Frey's son Charles was killed in the Second World War, Ruth Axe, an avid book collector, decided to dedicate a collection to his memory and donate it eventually to Pomona College. In her own words, she “had decided at the start that [the collection] would be formed in the memory of my nephew…after Charles’s death (at age 21) [his mother] and I had established a small book fund at the College in his memory. I thought that the bicycle collection would add to that memorial.”

Both Ruth and her husband Harold were enthusiastic bicyclists for many years. Harold Axe started bicycling seriously during World War II, when the public was asked to curtail gasoline consumption. So cycling was the subject around which Ruth Axe accumulated her memorial collection in honor of her nephew. Over the years, she gathered a wide assortment of items, from children’s stories, newspaper clippings, correspondence, pictures, and magazines to several of the earliest books and periodicals on the subject. After Mrs. Axe donated her collection, it was put on display in the Honnold/Mudd Library from November 1983 – March 1984.


4.75 Linear Feet (5 document boxes, 1 slim document box, 1 oversize flat box)


The Charles S. Frey collection contains materials related to bicycling and bicycle enthusiasts ranging from pamphlets and periodicals to illustrations and comic books. It was created by Ruth Frey Axe in honor of her nephew, an airman who lost his life during World War II. She began collecting in 1956, and acquired diverse and hard to find items, including some of the earliest 19th century pamphlets on bicycling.

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is arranged on a file level

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance / Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ruth Frey Axe, 1983.


No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

Processed, arranged, and listed by Andrea Bell.

Charles S. Frey Memorial Bicycle Collection
Finding aid prepared by Sara Chetney, MA
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the 01 - Special Collections & Archives, The Claremont Colleges Library Repository

800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711 United States