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Parsons, Lydia Marie Auerbach, 1887-1985. Papers of Lydia Marie Auerbach Parsons, 1904-1984: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: 85-M110
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Lydia Marie Auerbach Parsons, 1887-1985
Title: Papers of Lydia Marie Auerbach Parsons, 1904-1984
Date(s): 1904-1984
Quantity: .63 linear feet (1+1/2 file boxes) plus 3 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence and courtship letters of Lydia (Auerbach) Parsons from Buffalo, New York.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 85-M110
The papers of Lydia Marie (Auerbach) Parsons were given to the Schlesinger Library in June 1985 by her daughter, Eleanor Parsons.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory: July 1985
By: Elizabeth Young
Updated photograph description: May 2016
By: Lillianne Keaney

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lydia Marie Auerbach Parsons is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Lydia Marie Auerbach Parsons Papers, 1904-1984; item description, dates. 85-M110, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


This collection centers on Lydia Marie (Auerbach) Parsons and her immediate family. Parsons was born on September 20, 1887, the daughter of Otto Auerbach, who ran the "Otto Auerbach School of Music" in Buffalo, New York, and Lydia (Jahraus) Auerbach. She had two siblings, Otto and Gertrude, and graduated from Buffalo Central High School in 1904. In 1910 Parsons married Harry Leslie Parsons (1881-1970) of Komoka, Ontario; they lived first in Vancouver, then in Toronto, and later in New York City, and had two daughters, Doris (Parsons) Rose (1918-75) and Eleanor Parsons (1929- , Radcliffe '52). In later years Parsons and Harry Leslie Parsons lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Parsons died in 1985 at the age of 97.


This collection is composed primarily of letters Parsons received from members of her immediate family during the period 1910-1930, and of courtship letters from three suitors, 1904-1918. Letters from her parents document domestic life in Buffalo and significant family events, including the death of Parsons' sister, Gertrude (Auerbach) Magee, of tubercular meningitis in 1918, and the births of Parsons's children. Letters from Gertrude Auerbach Magee fall roughly into two groups: those from Buffalo, where Gertrude Auerbach Magee lived with her parents, which describe the daily round of housework and her outings to see dance, film, and theatre; and those from New York City, where she later moved to pursue a career on the stage. The latter describe Gertrude Auerbach Magee's life as a young woman alone in the city, touching on entertainment, New York sights, politics, her work goals, and other topics.
Letters to Parsons from John Stuart Frazer, Louis White Fehr, and Harry L. Parsons provide insights into courtship and romance in the first part of this century. A few letters survive from the unsuccessful courtship (1906-1907) of John Stuart Frazer; more are included from her husband, Harry Leslie Parsons, before and after their marriage. The bulk of these love letters, however, is from Louis White Fehr and dates from 1905-1907, when Louis White Fehr was an undergraduate at Cornell University. The letters also depict college life, and particularly college journalism: Louis White Fehr wrote for the Cornell paper, and his letters include brief descriptions of meetings with journalists William Randolph Hearst and Theodore Stanton.
The collection also includes correspondence and other papers of other Auerbach and Parsons family members; cards and letters from friends of Parsons; and assorted clippings, photographs, and memorabilia pertaining to the two families.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Buffalo (N.Y.) --Social life and customs
College students
Family records
Journalism, College
Mothers and daughters
Motion pictures
New York (N.Y.)--Social life and customs
Theater--New York (State)--New York
Auerbach family
Cornell University
Fehr, Louis White
Frazer, John Stuart
Magee, Gertrude Auerbach, -1918
Parsons family
Parsons, Harry Leslie, 1881-1970
Parsons, Lydia Marie Auerbach, 1887-1985