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MC 346

Parsons family. Papers of the Parsons family, 1815-1905: 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.: MC 346
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Parsons family
Title: Papers of the Parsons family, 1815-1905
Date(s): 1815-1905
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence of Judith Parsons and her daughter Sarah who took in lodgers and ran a school in New Hampshire.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 77-M87
These papers were purchased from the Missouri Historical Society by the Schlesinger Library in June 1977. They had been part of a family collection there, acquired from a descendant of Judith Parsons (see list of family members below).

Processing Information:

Processed: April 1983
By: Sarah Burns

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Parsons family as well as 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:

Parsons family Papers, 1815-1905; item description, dates. MC 346, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


The Parsons family lived in northern New England. Judith Parsons and her daughter Sarah took in boarders and ran a school in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Other family members were doctors, preachers, and teachers.


This collection consists entirely of correspondence, which falls into three distinct and unrelated groups. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written between the six children and a few friends and lodgers of Judith Parsons during the period 1845-1905. An earlier group (1815-1833) consists of letters to Maria L. Burns (Mrs. Andrew) Mack from family and friends and one letter to her sister Anne in Florida. These letters discuss the community, a corrupt minister, death, sickness, family news, vacations and the 1833 State of the Union message. There are also two letters (see #2) that are unrelated to either group.
The only apparent common feature of the three groups of letters is the fact that members of both families at some time lived in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Here Judith Parsons and her daughter, Sarah J. Parsons, took in boarders and ran a school. Other family members became doctors, preachers or teachers, or married members of those professions. They lived in various parts of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
The letters discuss local events and fashion trends; the weather; produce and crops and their prices; illness, medicine and death; boarders and the school. There is an occasional mention of current public events, including a speech to repeal laws relating to atheists (February 1858), and a military victory in New Orleans (May 1862). The letters have been arranged in chronological order.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Family records
Families--Health and hygiene--History--19th century
Farm life--New Hampshire--History--19th century
New Englanders--Family relationships
New Hampshire--Social life and customs
Private schools--New Hampshire
Rural conditions--History--19th century
Gilmanton Academy, Gilmanton, N.H.
Hidden family
Mack, Maria L. Burns