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Parker Family Papers

Call Number: MS 685

Scope and Contents

The Parker Family Papers consist of letters, legal and financial records, and miscellaneous items of the Parker, Lay, and other families with roots in eastern coastal Connecticut in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Parker family represented here is that of Gideon Parker of Essex and his children, principally his sons John L. and Gideon M., who were engaged in trade in Essex and in Key West, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama. The Parker papers are mainly commercial records and family correspondence. The Lay family papers consist of deeds and miscellaneous items belonging to members of several generations of the Lay and allied families of Saybrook, Westbrook, and Guilford, Connecticut. The Stark family is represented by correspondence of two households: Benjamin Stark of New London, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon; and Jonathan Stark and his children of Portersville in Groton. There are also commercial papers of Nathan Tyler, B[enoni?] Southworth, and two men named Timothy Shaler; several manuscript poems, including a striking denunciation of "British Taxation in North America" signed by Lucy D. Geer of Groton; and letters by William S. Williams of Michigan and Mary Avery Smith (later Mrs. Rowland Sears) of Petersburg and Albany, New York, to their relatives in Connecticut and New York.

The Parker Family Papers were purchased from Whitlock's in several lots between 1941 and 1944, except that the photostats of the Benjamin Stark letters were made by courtesy of Carroll A. Means at the time of sale of the original letters at the Collector's Shop in 1941.


  • 1747-1930
  • Majority of material found within 1789 - 1866


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Whitlock's in 1941-1944; in part by gift of Carroll A. Means in 1941.


1 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of correspondence, poems, estate papers, notebooks, account books, logbooks, legal books, and miscellaneous papers of the Lay, Parker, Pratt, Shaler, Smith, Stark, Tyler, and Williams families of eastern Connecticut.

Guide to the Parker Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Susan Grigg
February 1980
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
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