An Inventory of the Parrish Family Papers, 1780-1966

(2 boxes; 1 linear ft.)

RG5/229


©Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
Collection contains papers of the Parrish family, a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. Includes correspondence, writings, and other papers of Edward Parrish, first president of Swarthmore College. Also of special interest is the correspondence of Dillwyn Parrish and his aunt and uncle, William and Deborah Parrish Wright; the letters of the Wrights in 1835 and 1836 give information about abolition and anti-slavery efforts in Lancaster County. A scrapbook assembled by Clemmons Parrish contains autographs and letters collected by his brother, Thomas C. Parrish. While most of the items in the scrapbook contain merely a short note and signature, there is some substantive correspondence including letters from John Dickinson, Samuel Parsons, John Neagle, and Maria Mitchell.

Background note:
The Parrish family, a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family, moved north from the western shore of Maryland to Philadelphia in the middle of the 18th century. John Parrish (1729-1807), the son of John, was married to Ann Wilson at Philadelphia meeting in 1753. His brother, Isaac (1734-1826), married Sarah Mitchell six years later. Isaac’s youngest child, Joseph (1779-1840) was born in 1779 and married Susanna Cox, daughter of John Cox and Ann Dillwyn in 1808 in Burlington, New Jersey. Joseph was a prominent Philadelphia physician and philanthropist.

Deborah Parrish (1773-1856), daughter of Isaac, married William Wright of Columbia, Pennsylvania, in 1800. William Wright was an ardent abolitionist who was actively involved in the Underground Railroad in Lancaster County.

Joseph and Susanna’s oldest son, Dillywn Parrish (1809-1886) graduated from the College of Pharmacy in Philadelphia. A member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting he served as Overseer, Clerk, and Elder. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and Improving the Condition of the African Race from 1832-1886 and served as its President in 1851.

Edward Parrish was the eighth child of Joseph and Susanna, born on May 31, 1822. In 1845 he married Margaret Shreve Hunt. Also trained as a pharmacist, he operated a pharmacy in Philadelphia with his brother, Dillwyn, and taught at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Edward Parrish was active on the committee of members of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore Yearly Meetings (Hicksite) which sought subscriptions for the founding of a college, and he was a member of the Board of the Friends Education Association which adopted a constitution in December 1862. Swarthmore College was incorporated in 1864, and Edward Parrish was one of its primary fundraisers. He was elected president of the College in May 1865, and raising money for the fledgling college continued to be one of his most important jobs. The College opened in the fall of 1869 in a large stone building known then simply as “The College” and now as Parrish Hall.

In addition to serving as president of the College, Parrish was also a professor of ethics, chemistry and the physical sciences. His ideas on education and the discipline of students clashed with some of the more conservative members on the Board of Managers who believed that the College should foremost provide a “guarded” education for Quaker youth. The differences in philosophy regarding discipline, the role of the president, and the mission of the College caused Parrish to resign in February 1871. After his resignation, the Board assumed most of the executive powers and appointed as president Professor Edward H. Magill.

Edward Parrish was active in a number of Quaker social concerns, and in 1872 he was appointed to a Commission to negotiate a treaty with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes. While on this mission to Fort Sill in the Indian Territory, Edward Parrish died of malaria at age 51 on September 9, 1872.

Edward and Margaret Parrish had four sons and a daughter. Their oldest child was Thomas Clarkson Parrish (1847-1899). A member of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, part owner of a Colorado silver mining company, and collector of autographs, Thomas died at his home in Colorado Springs, CO. Clemmons Parrish was the second child (1848-1912); he trained as a pharmacist and joined his father in business. Clemmons married Emma Powell in 1872, and they had two sons, Henry C. and Edward. Clemmons gathered and arranged the autographs in a scrapbook which apparently subsequently descended to his son, Henry. Henry married Bertha Lippincott, and they had four children, Edward Dillwyn, Henry L., Alice L. and Lawrence L. Parrish. Henry and Bertha and their sons were graduates of Swarthmore College.

Scope and content
Collection contains papers of the Parrish family, a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family. Includes correspondence, writings, and other papers of Edward Parrish, first president of Swarthmore College. The diary extracts and his entries in “Index of Subjects” document Edward’s frustrating tenure at the fledging College. Also of special interest is the correspondence of Dillwyn Parrish and his aunt and uncle, William and Deborah Parrish Wright; the letters of the Wrights in 1835 and 1836 give information about abolition and anti-slavery efforts in Lancaster County. A scrapbook assembled by Clemmons Parrish contains autographs collected by his brother, Thomas C. Parrish, in the 1860’s, and there is additional correspondence and genealogical material. While most of the items in the scrapbook contain merely a short note and signature, there is some substantive correspondence including letters from John Dickinson, Samuel Parsons, John Neagle, and Maria Mitchell.

Organization: Organized into three series: 1. Edward Parrish; 2. Correspondence and album; 3. Miscellaneous.


Administrative and Other Descriptive Information

Restrictions
Collection is open for research.

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Acquisition Information
Donation, Lawrence L. Parrish and Alice Hackett, 2003

Processing information
Papers placed in acid-free folders and divided into series. Loose correspondence removed from the scrapbook and foldered. Acid-free photocopies made of clippings.

Separated material
Photographs added to PA 120: Parrish Family Photographs

Added to book collection:

Parrish, Edward, 1822-1872. An essay on education in the Society of Friends ... : with an account of the proceedings on the occasion of laying the corner-stone of Swarthmore College. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1866.

Parrish, Edward, 1822-1872. The phantom bouquet: a popular treatise on the art of skeletonizing leaves and seed-vessels and adapting them to embellish the home of taste. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott ; London : A. Bennet, 1862.

Memoirs of William and Nathan Hunt. Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt & Son, 1858.

Related material
Edward Parrish Papers, 1859-1872: RG6./ Ser. D01 (Use of this material is restricted and requires the permission of the President of Swarthmore College or the Chairman of the Board of Managers of the College)

Edward Parrish Diary, 1866-1872: Journals (Mss) Parrish


Added entries

Subjects
  • Carey, Matthew, 1760-1839
  • Cox, John, 1754-1847
  • Dickinson, John, 1732-1808
  • McKim, James Miller, 1810-1874
  • Mitchell, Maria, 1818-1889
  • Parrish family
  • Parrish, Clemmons, 1848-1912
  • Parrish, Dillwyn, 1809-1886
  • Parrish, Edward, 1822-1872
  • Parrish, John, 1729-1807
  • Parrish, Margaret S. (Margaret Shreve), 1824-1872
  • Parrish, Thomas C. (Thomas Clarkson), 1847-1899
  • Parsons, Samuel, 1774-1841
  • Pemberton, James, 1723-1809
  • Preston, Ann, 1813-1872
  • Quakers--Education
  • Quakers--Pennsylvania
  • Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
  • Swarthmore College
  • Universities and Colleges--Pennsylvania--History—-19th century
  • Wharton, Susanna Parrish, 1852-1928
  • Wharton, Susanna, 1827-1915
  • Wright, William, d.1846

    Contact information

    Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

     


    Collection inventory

    Note to Researchers: These records may only be consulted at Swarthmore, and are not available through inter-Library loan.


    Series 1: Edward Parrish

    Correspondence: Edward Parrish to his mother and sister
    1839-45
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Tribute to Edward Parrish from the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children
    1864
    Box 1

    Correspondence: Swarthmore College
    1866-70 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Extracts and correspondence concerning Edward Parrish
    1869-73
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Extracts from the Diary of Edward Parrish, 1869-72, as well as copies of the correspondence of his children with the Board of Swarthmore College and Clement M. Biddle concerning Edward Parrish’s resignation from the Presidency of Swarthmore College

    Parrish, Edward. Index of Subjects
    1870 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Essays on various subjects listed alphabetically, written by Edward Parrish in a bound volume for that purpose. Of particular interest are the sections on “Crackers" (firecrackers), “Discipline,” “Shoes,” “Hidden Books,” and “Dormitories,” which detail Parrish’s dealings with Edward Hicks Magill and the Board of Swarthmore College over the discipline of students and the expulsion of a student.

    Fragment of a letter describing a train trip to the West
    ca.1872
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Letters from Edward Parrish to his children and sister
    1872
    (2 letters)
    Box 1

    Copy by sister, Sarah

    A Memorial of Prof. Edward Parrish
    1873
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Parrish Hall (Swarthmore College)
    1881, 1921
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Letter of concern from Emma C. Bancroft concerning rumors of a plan to rename Parrish Hall and press clippings from the fire of 1881.

    Ms. Notes: Projected Popular Essays
    n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Series 2: Correspondence, 1780-1897

    Susan Parrish to Family
    1816-20 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    John Cox to Joseph, Susan, and Sarah Parrish
    1817-40
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    A.A. Alexander to Dr. (Joseph) Parrish
    1823
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    William and Deborah Wright to nephew Dillwyn Parrish
    1835-36
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Margaret Hunt to Uriah Hunt, with note from H. Williams
    1835
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Dillwyn Parrish to Edward (brother) and to William Wright (uncle)
    1844-53 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Dillwyn Parrish to nephew Clemmons Parrish
    1881
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Concerning the fire at Swarthmore

    Colorado correspondence
    1880-97
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Correspondence and stock certificates primarily of Thomas C. Parrish’ Rock Creek and San Juan Silver Mining Company in Colorado Springs

    Album of correspondence and autographs
    1780-ca.1892
    (1 volume and 16 folders)
    Box 2

    Scrapbook assembled by Clemmons Parrish. Contents include autographs collected by Thomas C. Parrish and other loose correspondence. There is a ms. index to the autographs at the beginning of the volume, but many of the items cited include only the signature of that individual and a short biography by the compiler. Among the substantive correspondence are the following:

    John Dickinson to Mr. John Parrish
    1780
    (ALS, loose)

    Brief note concerning his own spirituality.

    Samuel Parsons to John M. Sheppard
    n.d.
    (ALS, loose)

    Concerning “Negros insurrection” and recommending John Parrish for information.

    John Neagle to Matthew Carey
    1830
    (ALS, p. 9)

    Concerning a print.

    Pass[port] for John H. Cavender
    1857
    (DS, p. 40)

    J.W. McKim to Edward Parrish
    1870
    (ALS, p. 40)

    About subscription to the Nation.

    Ann Preston to Edward Parrish
    ALS, p. 44
    (1870)

    Swarthmore lecture.

    James Pemberton to John Parrish et al.
    1793
    (ALS, p. 50)

    Comments on the tragedy of the French Revolution and other matters

    Gerrit Smith to Matthew Carey
    1833
    (ALS, loose)

    About a pamphlet.

    W.T. Sherman to J.H. Hammersly
    1880
    (ALS, loose)

    Concerning a book

    Pass for Melbery Turner, a “Nottoway” Indian and free woman, to travel from North Carolina to New York State
    1802
    (ADS, loose)



    Maria Mitchell to Edward Parrish
    1869
    (ALS, loose)

    Swarthmore lecture.

    Letter of appointment for Dr. Joseph E. Parrish as Commissioner to visit tribes in the territory south of Kansas
    1872
    (AD, loose)

    Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1868-1966

    Marriage certificate and announcements
    1872, 1932
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Include marriage certificate of Clemmons Parrish to Emma P. Deacon in New York City by a Baptist minister

    Memorials of Margaret S. Parrish
    1872
    (1 volume)
    Box 1

    Ms. volume composed of a lengthy memorial written by her husband, Edward Parrish, for their children and a number of additional tributes and letters of condolence. Also mimeographed copy of Edward's Memoir.

    Miscellaneous memorials and obituaries
    1868-1946
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Obituaries and memorials of family and friends, including Clemmons Parrish, William Rodman Wharton, Susan J. Cunningham, Susan Parrish Wharton, William Hunt, Joseph Parrish.

    Parrish Memorial
    1909
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    Announcement and poetry composed for the occasion by Joseph P. Remington of a Parrish Memorial in 1909 at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

    Miscellaneous clippings and poetry
    1931-52 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1

    The Parrish Family, compiled and published by Scott Lee Boyd
    1935 & n.d.
    (photocopy)
    Box 1

    Parrish Family genealogical research
    1929-66 & n.d.
    (1 folder)
    Box 1