The Park Family Papers are composed of correspondence and other papers of Park family members and of correspondence and other documents collected and preserved by Park family members for their autograph or historical value. The Park family is composed of several generations of clergymen and educators. Theologian and professor Edwards Amasa Park, his son William Edwards Park, and his granddaughter Bryn Mawr College President Marion Edwards Park are represented in the papers. In addition the papers contain letters and papers of Anna Maria Edwards Park, the wife of Edwards Amasa Park and great-granddaughter of Jonathan Edwards, and of related members of the Burr, Edwards, and Reeve families. Also represented in the papers are Sara Billings Edwards, the wife of William Edwards Park, and her family. Her father was the theologian and editor Bela Bates Edwards and her mother was Jerusha William Billings, who conducted a school for girls in Andover, Massachusetts, and was the sister of Elizabeth Storrs Billings Mead, the president of Mount Holyoke College from 1890 to 1901.
In addition to the family materials the papers contain a large collection of documents including correspondence, minutes, voting records, reports, and printed material relating to the history, faculty, and administration of Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, and of Andover Theological Seminary. Particularly numerous are the personal and professional papers of Eliphalet Pearson, the academy's first principal and seminary founder, and of Samuel Farrar. The papers also include numerous documents of John Hoff Duke of Charleston, South Carolina, estate papers of Augustine Prevost, papers relating to the early history of Wrentham, Massachusetts, and six autograph albums containing letters and documents signed by American and European authors, scientists, statesmen, and clergymen.
Edwards Albert Park and Marion Edwards Park donated their family's papers to the Yale University Library between 1935 and 1960. An inventory of the papers received through 1954 is included in this register as Appendices A and B. This inventory describes all material in Edwards Albert and Marion Edwards Park's donation, including some material transferred to other collections. Most though not all material relating to Burr, Reeve, and Edwards family members is now found in either the Burr Family Papers (MS 303) or the Reeve Family Papers (MS 686) in the Manuscripts and Archives Department or in the Jonathan Edwards Papers in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
The Park Family Papers are arranged in two series: I. CORRESPONDENCE AND PAPERS, 1715-1903 and II. FAMILY PAPERS, 1701-1929.
Both series contain papers of Park family members and papers collected and preserved by Park family members, though Series II contains a higher proportion of family papers. The contents of Series I are thoroughly indexed in Appendix A, which is arranged alphabetically by personal or corporate name, or Appendix B, which is organized by topic. Materials described on one list are not listed on the other, and most items in Series II are not included on these lists.
Series I is arranged in chronological order. The majority of the materials in boxes 1-4 relate to the personal life and professional career of Eliphalet Pearson. These materials are detailed in Appendix B. A few additional letters to Pearson are listed in Appendix A. Pearson's correspondence, as well as that of Samuel Farrar (boxes 5 and 6), concerns Phillips Academy and Andover Theological Seminary. Topics and frequent correspondents include Leonard Woods, Jedidiah Morse, Samuel Phillips, Moses Stuart, Samuel Abbot, Jonathan French, Benjamin B. Wisner, and several benefactors of the schools. In addition the series includes Pearson sermons and petitions, subscription lists, organizational papers, memoranda, reports, minutes, wills and statistics relating to the schools. Additional Pearson correspondence and papers concern the American Society for the Education of Pious Youth for the Ministry, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Other correspondents include Pearson's first and second wives, his father-in-law Edward A. Holyoke, and his son Henry B. Pearson.
Scattered through boxes 1-5 are additional items not related to Pearson, the academy, or the seminary. There are numerous documents relating to Augustine Prevost and his estate. There are also letters, notes, and sermons concerning Nathanael Emmons and Samuel Hopkins, perhaps collected by Edwards Amasa Park when editing the collected works of these men. Several early documents relate to Wrentham, Massachusetts in the 1700s.
Boxes 6 through 8 contain letters to Park family members and to Bela Bates Edwards. A few concern the editing of Bibliotheca Sacra and some recall trips to Europe. The letters form no continuous correspondence but rather appear to have been preserved for their autograph value. Many of these letters are listed in either Appendix A or B. These boxes also contain the collection of documents relating to John Hoff Duke of Charleston, South Carolina, which is described in Appendix B. There is also correspondence of Eliphalet Pearson's children, some of which is with Edwards Amasa Park, concerning publication of a memoir or biography of their father and the history of Andover Theological Seminary.
Boxes 9 and 10 contain six volumes of mounted autographs as well as a few loose items. The volumes are thoroughly indexed in Appendix A by the name of the creator of the letter or document. Appendix A is annotated with volume and page numbers for nearly all items found in the volumes. The volumes are arranged by subject or geographic area and include autographs by authors, clergymen, American statesmen, British and continental scientists and academicians, and American Revolutionary War figures and presidents.
Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, includes correspondence, notes, writings, memorabilia, and printed material organized by the name of individual family members. The materials for all family members are fragmentary and in most instances there are only one or two exchanges in a folder. The correspondence arranged under any individual's name includes both incoming and outgoing letters.
The largest quantity of material in the series is that of Edwards Amasa Park. It includes family correspondence, lectures, sermons, notes by others on Park's lectures, writings of others, and additional material relating to Eliphalet Pearson, Andover Theological Seminary, and topics of Edwards Amasa Park's or William Edwards Park's research. Some of this material is indexed in either Appendix A or B.
There is also a sizeable quantity of material relating to Marion Edwards Park in the series. It includes several folders of letters to her mother Sara Billings Edwards Park including those from her undergraduate years at Bryn Mawr and from her studies abroad. There are also four folders of letters from M. Carey Thomas which document Bryn Mawr's offer of its presidency to Park and the transition of leadership in the early 1920s. Thomas's lengthy letters discuss the future of various academic departments and faculty appointments.
Correspondence of William Edwards Park and his wife and family portrays the life of a Congregational minister in Gloversville, New York. The series also includes correspondence of related Billings, Edwards, and Mead family members, travel letters of various Park family members, Timothy Edwards's letterbook (1797-1813), and notebooks kept by students on lectures by Tapping Reeve and James Gould at the Litchfield Law School. Folder 245 contains a list documenting Edwards Albert Park's sizeable donation of books by and about Jonathan Edwards and the Congregational Church in New England to the Yale Library in 1912.