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Hayfield Estate records

Identifier: PSUWB 0002

Scope and Contents

The Hayfield Estate records consists of correspondence, photographs, financial records, and drawings documenting the activity of the estates owned by John C. and Bertha R. Conyngham, most notably, the construction of their estate on Hayfield Farm. The records include exchanges with their property manager, Harold Deemer, the architect, Francis Nelson, and their designer, William Kimbel, as well as various builders, designers, and suppliers that contributed to the completion of the Hayfield House. The collection also includes records relating to Hayfield Farm and other Conyngham properties and estate information. Arrangement is Chronological.


  • 1925 - 1986


Access to Collection

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright, where it persists, is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed by Jenelle Bruno, 2017


2 Linear Feet

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Hayfield Estate records were transferred to the Nesbitt Library from the Office of the Chancellor, Pennsylvania State University, Wilkes-Barre, in 2016.

Biographical / Historical

John Nesbitt Conyngham was born in Wilkes-Barre on September 13, 1865, the oldest son of William Lord Conyngham and Olivia Hillard. Bertha Robinson Conyngham was born in 1865 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, daughter of financier John Norris Robinson and Mary Moore. Bertha was the stepdaughter of financier J. Hood Wright. John and Bertha were married on April 18, 1895. John Nesbitt Conyngham was president of the Standard Register Company of New York, a director of National Biscuit Company, and director and vice-president of Miners National Bank in Wilkes-Barre. He was involved in numerous coal companies, including as a president of the West End Coal Company and the Tioga Coal Company (New York). A “gentleman farmer,” Conyngham purchased the land that became Hayfield Farm in Lehman Township in the early 20th century and raised Clydesdale horses, Highlander beef cattle, and Sardinia donkeys. While not in Pennsylvania, the Conynghams resided at the Hotel Plaza in New York. In the late 1920s, the Conynghams began to plan the construction of a home on the Hayfield Farm property. Francis A. Nelson was the architect, and A. Kimbel & Son, Arden Studios, and Alavoine & Co. were the designers. The first cornerstone for Hayfield House was laid in 1932 and the family first occupied the home on Thanksgiving Day 1933. John Nesbitt Conyngham died on July 12, 1935, at the age of 69. Following the death of her husband, Bertha Conyngham continued to divide her time between the Hotel Plaza in New York and the Hayfield Farm in Lehman, Pennsylvania. Bertha Conyngham died on August 12, 1964. The couple had no children, and their nephew, Richard Robinson, inherited the property. Soon after, Richard Robinson transferred ownership to the Pennsylvania State University for use by the Wilkes-Barre campus; the first classes on the Hayfield campus were held in 1968. Penn State Wilkes-Barre has occupied the property ever since.

Existence and Location of Copies

An original version of the auction catalog for Bertha R. Conyngham's estate, "English and French Furniture," 1964, is located in the Nesbitt Library, Pensylvania State University, Wilkes-Barre, Call number: PENNSYLV Z999.P23 no. 2312.

Hayfield Estate records
Jenelle Bruno
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre Campus Repository

Nesbitt Library
44 University Drive
Dallas PA 18612