Skip to main content

John Edward Parsons papers

Call Number: MS 792

Scope and Contents

The papers of John Edward Parsons (1903-1976), lawyer, naval officer, and historian, consist almost entirely of drafts anad corrected copies of an unpublished historical monograph, entitled "The Aroostook Dispute and The Bounding of Maine", and research materials used in its preparation. The manuscript narrates the diplomacy and survey of the Maine-Canada border in the 1840's and is a logical extention of the author's earlier work on the history of the demarcation of the Canadian-U.S. boundry west of the Great Lakes:West on the 49th parallel: Red River to the Rockies, 1872-1876(New York, 1963).

Two holographs by James Duncan Graham and Thomas J. Lee have been transferred from this collection to the Graham Papers in the Beinecke Library. Photographs of John E. Parsons, and life at Yale during the 1920's, have been transferred to the Yale Picture Collection, Individuals Series, under the surname Parsons.


  • 1960-1976


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for 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

Gift of Mrs. John E. Parsons to Beinecke Rare Book Library, 1976; transferred to Manuscripts and Archives, 1977


3 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of manuscript drafts, research notes, correspondence, and copies of original documents concerning the unpublished work The Aroostock Dispute and the Bounding of Maine. Also included is correspondence related to research and publication of West on the 49th; Red River to the Rockies, 1872-1876 (1963) and copies of other published writings of John E. Parsons.

Biographical / Historical

John Edward Parsons

Graduating from the Yale Law School in 1928, John had the interesting experience of a year's service as law clerk to Chief Justice William Howard Taft of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was associated with Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts in New York from 1929 to 1936 and has since been independently engaged in practice, also devoting considerable time to writing. He is the author of The Peacemaker and Its Rivals (1950) and Henry Deringer's Pocket Pistol (1952), both published by William Morrow & Company, and of The First Winchester, which is still to be published, and is the coauthor of Firearms in the Custer Battle (Stackpole Company, Harrisbary, 1953). He has contributed articles and book reviews to the New York Historical Society Quarterly, the Atlantic Salmon Journal, and The American Rifleman.

He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1931 and belongs to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, of whose committee on state legislation he was a member from 1935 to 1940. He is a trustee of both the New York Historical Society and the Lenox (Mass.) Library Association and from 1939 to 1941 served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the Radio-Keith-Orheum Corporation.

John, who was on active Navy duty from May, 1942, to November, 1945 (lieutenant, then commander), served for forty months as assistant U-boat tracking officer at the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet in Washington, with temporary duty in London in 1943 and aboard the Guadalcanal in the Atlantic in 1944. He was awarded a Navy Commendation Ribbon, A Navy Unit Citation, and the Order of the British Empire. In December, 1953, he was transferred to the Retired Reserve.

On June 27,1927, he was married in Tuxedo Park, N. Y., to Fanny Haven Wickes. They had three chidren: Fanny Forsyth, born January 3, 1930, Richard Arnot on November 18, 1935, and John E., Jr., on January 11, 1938. Fanny, who graduated from Foxcroft in 1947 and then attended Bennington with the class of 1951, was married on January 20, 1951, to Edward D. Culleton and has two children: Dale Arnot, born July 18, 1952, and Ruth Mcllvaine on May 15, 1954. Hohn, Jr., was a member of the St. Paul's class of 1956.

Thirty Year Record of the Class of 1925, Yale College, pages 286-287

Processing Information

The Parsons Papers were received in no particular order. A rough sorting of the originial bundles has been made and their contents placed in numbered folders according to type of material. Where appropriate, folder titles correspond to Mr. Parsons' notations on the original bundles.

Guide to the John E. Parsons Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
March 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours