Guide to the Photograph Collection
This collection contains photographs collected by the historian Francis Parkman and his descendants, ca. 1860-1910. It includes portraits of Parkman and his family, Native Americans, photographs of the Parkman family home in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and various views of American and Canadian wilderness, among many other subjects.
Francis Parkman (1823-1892) was born in Boston, Mass., the son of Rev. Francis Parkman (1788-1852), minister of the New North Church in Boston, and Caroline Hall Parkman (1794-1871). He was a historian famous for his works on the Oregon Trail, Pontiac’s Conspiracy, the Jesuits and the Indians of North America, and the history of the struggle between the French and English over the continent, specifically their role in Canada (New France) and Florida. Parkman was educated at Harvard College, where he studied history under Professor Jared Sparks and graduated in 1844; he later received his law degree from Harvard in 1846, though he never practiced. His historical works include The California and Oregon Trail (1849), History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851), Pioneers of France in the New World (1865), The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (1867), LaSalle and the Discovery of the Great West (1869), Montcalm and Wolfe (1884), and A Half-Century of Conflict (1892), among other publications. During his lifetime, Parkman was a member of the Saturday Club and of the Massachusetts Historical Society, where he served as president from 1875 to 1878; a founder and president of the St. Botolph Club (1880-1886); a founder of the Archaeological Institute of America; and an Overseer of Harvard College. Despite his active scholarly and social endeavors, Francis Parkman was also plagued by illness throughout his life, including a debilitating loss of eyesight, insomnia, and arthritis of the knees.
In 1850, Francis Parkman married Catherine Scollay Bigelow (1825-1858), daughter of physician and botanist Jacob Bigelow (1786-1879) and Mary Scollay (1793-1882), and the sister of Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow (1818-1890). Francis and Catherine had three children: Grace Parkman (1851-1928), who married Charles P. Coffin; Francis Parkman III (1854-1857); and Katherine Scollay Parkman (1858-1900), who married John Templeman Coolidge (1856-1879) in 1879. In 1852, after Rev. Francis Parkman’s death, the Parkmans bought a summer house on Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Mass., where Francis Parkman maintained an extensive garden to pursue his interest in horticulture. During the winters, the Parkman family lived at 8 Walnut Street in Boston with Parkman’s widowed mother. In 1858, Parkman’s wife Catherine died. Parkman and his children moved their winter residence to 50 Chestnut Street, Boston, and after his mother’s death in 1871, his sister Eliza also moved in and lived with Parkman until his death in 1893.
Francis Parkman's siblings included: Caroline Hall Parkman (b. 1825), who in 1852 married John Cordner (1816-1894); Mary Agnes Parkman (1827); Mary Brooks Parkman (1830-1866); Eliza Willard Shaw Parkman (1832-1905); and John Eliot Parkman (1834-1871). He also had two half-siblings, Samuel Parkman (1816-1854) and Sarah Cabot Parkman Atkinson (b. 1818), who were the children of Rev. Francis Parkman and his first wife, Sarah Cabot (d. 1818).
This collection contains 665 photographs in 4 boxes, 8 volumes, and 3 oversize boxes. Most of these photographs were collected by Francis Parkman and his descendants; they span the years ca. 1840-1910.
Four boxes and three oversize boxes contain loose photographs. Many of these are portrait photographs of Francis Parkman, his daughters, and other Parkman family members, as well as his friends and colleagues. There are also a large number of views of various places in the United States, Canada, and Europe. These include photographs of the Minnesota frontier; camping and canoeing the waterways of Maine, taken ca. 1867-1879 by James C. Stoddard; views of cities and wilderness in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia taken by various Canadian photographers; and Francis Parkman’s homes at 50 Chestnut Street in Boston and on Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Mass. The loose photographs also include some portraits of Native Americans, collected by Parkman; photographs of Parkman’s camp on the Batiscan River in Quebec with Charles Haight Farnham in 1886; and other miscellaneous photographs, including photographic reproductions of European artwork.
There are also eight volumes of photographs in this collection. Four volumes contain portrait and snapshot photographs of various members of the Parkman, Cordner, and Coolidge families and their descendants, taken ca. 1860-1910. Another volume contains cartes de visite collected by John Eliot Parkman, brother of Francis Parkman, that include portraits of Civil War soldiers, taken ca. 1860-1864. Other volumes contain cartes de visite of American and European public figures, as well as portraits of Native Americans collected by Francis Parkman.
This collection contains tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, stereographs, and other paper-based photographs. There are also four daguerreotypes and one ambrotype, which are stored apart from the collection by format in the Daguerreotype collection (Photo. Coll. 1) and the Ambrotype collection (Photo. Coll.). See the Detailed Description of the Collection for more information.
Photographers in this collection include both American and Canadian commercial photographers, among others. Some of the American photographers are Allen & Rowell, James Wallace Black, and John Adams Whipple of Boston, Mass.; Benjamin Franklin Upton of St. Anthony, Minn.; Whitney’s Gallery of St. Paul, Minn.; and James C. Stoddard, among many others. Canadian photographers include Alexander Henderson and William Notman of Montreal, as well as Livernois & Bienvenu of Quebec, among others.
The Francis Parkman photographs were removed from the Francis Parkman papers, a gift by Francis Parkman to the Massachusetts Historical Society in several installments between the Civil War and his death in 1893. Additions to this collection were made to the Society by Elizabeth P. Cordner in Apr. 1928 and Oct. 1942, and by Mrs. John Forbes Perkins in Feb. 1956.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Photograph albums
All photographs in these volumes are arranged in the order in which they appear in the album.
A. Vol. 1. Francis Parkman family carte de visite album, ca. 1860-1877.
This volume contains carte de visite portraits, mostly of Francis Parkman's daughters, Grace Parkman (later Coffin) and Katherine Scollay Parkman (later Coolidge). The photographs were taken ca. 1860-1877 by Howard A. Richardson, Antoine Sonrel, and John Adams Whipple, all of Boston, Mass., among others.
B. Vol. 2: Parkman-Cordner family photograph album, ca. 1860-1879.
This volume contains carte de visite and cabinet card portraits, mostly of members of the Parkman and Cordner families. Subjects include Francis Parkman (1823-1893) and Catherine Scollay Bigelow Parkman, as well as John Cordner (1816-1894), husband of Francis's sister Caroline Hall Parkman, and their three daughters, Mary Agnes Cordner, Caroline Parkman Cordner, and Elizabeth Parkman Cordner, among many others. Most of the photographs are unidentified, and the portraits may also include those of family friends as well as American and European public figures. Most of the photographs were taken by Canadian photographers, including William Notman.
C. Vol. 3: Parkman-Coolidge family photograph album, ca. 1860-1889.
This volume contains photographs of various members of the families of Francis Parkman and Katherine Scollay Parkman Coolidge, taken ca. 1860-1889. Subjects include Francis Parkman, Catherine Scollay Bigelow Parkman, Charles F. Atkinson, Grace Parkman (later Coffin), and various members of the Cordner family, as well as Katherine Scollay Parkman Coolidge and her children. Photographers include John Adams Whipple, James Wallace Black, James Notman, and Allen & Rowell, all of Boston, Mass., and various French photographers.
Inscription on back of photograph : "Parkman / Nov 18th / old [illegible]".
Inscription on album page: "Katrine / granddaughter".
Inscription on back of both photographs: "Mary Coolidge. 1881 / 5 ½ months." Inscription on album page: "Molly."
Inscription on back of photograph (partial), possibly in the hand of James Wallace Black: "F Parkman / Saturday / May 2nd / 50 Chestnut St / [illegible]".
D. Vol. 4. Parkman family photograph album, ca. 1900-1910.
This volume contains snapshot photographs taken ca. 1900-1910, mostly of unidentified children, probably descendants of Francis Parkman. The photographer is unknown. The last page of the album is inscribed, "E. McA. D."
E. Vol. 5: John Eliot Parkman carte de visite album, ca. 1860-1864.
This volume contains carte de visite portraits collected by John Eliot Parkman, brother of Francis Parkman. Most of the subjects of the photographs are unidentified but include portraits of Civil War soldiers, many of whom possibly served with John Eliot Parkman. All of the photographs were taken between ca. 1860-1864. Photographers include Black & Batchelder, James Wallace Black, and John Adams Whipple, all of Boston, Mass., among others. The inside cover of the album is inscribed with the initials, "J. E. P."
F. Vol. 6: American and European public figures carte de visite album, ca. 1862-1875.
This volume contains carte de visite portraits, mostly of various American and European public figures. The photographs were taken between ca. 1862-1875, and most are unidentified. The portraits may also include photos of various Parkman family members and friends. Photographers include William Notman of Montreal, as well as John Adams Whipple and James Wallace Black of Boston, Mass., among many other American, Canadian, and European photographers.
G. Vols. 7-8. Native American carte de visite albums, 1862-1871
Two fold-out volumes containing carte de visite portraits of Native Americans, collected by Francis Parkman. Titles listed below in quotation marks are either those printed commercially on the cartes de visite or are inscriptions hand-written on the front of the photograph.
NOTE: Some of the photographs in this subseries have been digitized. Click on the links below to see digital images.
Inscriptions on back of photos: "Photographed from Krieghoff's paintings."
Inscription on back of photo: "[Ulay?] - brother of Shawanoah / Ute".
Inscription on back of photo: "Shawanoah / war chief of the Utes".
Inscription on photo: "Utahs (J.E.P.) / 1866."
Written backwards on the photo: "Murderer of McMurthy who was killed at Grand [illegible]."
Inscription on back of photo: "Pawnee with a white womans [sic] scalp in his belt - the brute."
Inscription on back of photo: "Feb 21st - 1871 / Snake Charlie".
Inscription on back of photo: "Salt Lake, Feb. 21, 1871".
Inscription on back of photo: "Salt Lake/ Feb. 21 '71/ Little Soldier +/ Squaw/ Pah Ute."
Inscription on back of photo: "[Bannachs?]/ Feb 21, 1871."
Inscription on back of photo: "Pahute [Pahastes?]."
II. Loose photographs
This series contains loose photographs not collected in photograph albums and is divided into seven sections: Glass-based photographs (A); Portraits of Parkman family and friends (B); Views (C); Photographs of Native Americans (D); Batiscan River photographs (E); Art and artifacts (F); Miscellaneous photographs (G); and Oversize loose photographs (H).
A. Glass-based photographs
This subseries contains daguerreotype and ambrotype portraits and one view, collected by Francis Parkman. Please note that daguerreotypes and ambrotypes are stored apart from this collection by format in the Daguerreotype collection (Photo. Coll. 1) and Ambrotype collection (Photo. Coll. 2). When requesting glass-based photographs, the reader should use call numbers for Photo. Coll. 1 and Photo. Coll. 2, listed below in bold, NOT those for Photo. Coll. 170.
Enclosed with daguerreotype is a note in an unidentified hand that reads, "House of M. Campau, defended by Maj. Rogers, July 31st 1763."
See also Photo. 1.307, an identical daguerreotype of Caroline Hall Parkman that is not part of this collection.
Possibly a member of the Parkman family.
Possibly a member of the Parkman family.
B. Portraits of Parkman family and friends
Arranged alphabetically into two groups: Individual portraits and Group portraits.
This subseries contains portrait photographs of various members of Francis Parkman, his daughters, and other Parkman family members, as well as some of Parkman's friends and colleagues.
Lieutenant-Colonel, 44th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Inscription on back of photograph: "F. P./ from/ S.C.A./ Bought in Cooperstown,/ August '88." [Given to Francis Parkman by Sarah Cabot Parkman (b. 1818).]
Major, 44th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Inscription on back of photograph: "Dabney/ 6/ Oct 4/ Friday/ Oct, 6th [illegible]".
Inscription on back of photograph: "F. Parkman from B. A. Gould/ Nov. 1874".
Colonel, 44th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Photo. #170.334b is a copy photograph of Photo. #170.331a, taken by George M. Cushing (Boston, Mass.).
Inscription on back of Photo. #170.334a: "Jamaica Plain/ 1890?/ Taken by/ C.F.A."
See also Photo. #170.357, which was taken in the same sitting by the same photographer.
Inscription on back of photograph: "F. P. taken by C. F. A. at Jamaica Plain."
See also Photos. #170.334a-336, which were taken in the same sitting by the same photographer.
Arranged into three groups: United States, Canada, and Other (all alphabetical by location).
This subseries contains various views of places of importance to Francis Parkman, mostly of wilderness and frontier living in the United States and various cities in Canada. There are also some views of various places in Europe. Photographers include James C. Stoddard; Benjamin Franklin Upton of St. Anthony, Minn.; and William Notman of Montreal.
These photographs may have been taken during surveying expeditions through Maine, and each stereograph is identified on the verso in the hand of Francis Parkman. The stereographs also include one view of Native Americans at camp on Aboljacarmegus Lake. See also oversize Photos. #170.587-605.
Inscription on the back of Photo. #170.360: "Rangeley Lakes./ in 1886./ Built by F. P. but he was never able to occupy it."
Inscription on back of photograph: "River St Lawrence at Montreal -/ after "Shove" of the Ice 20th Apr. 1863".
Inscription on back of photograph: "With F. P. 1872."
D. Photographs of Native Americans
This subseries contains loose photographs of portraits of Utes and other unidentified Native Americans, cartes de visite depicting "Red River Half-Breeds" of Minnesota, and one albumen photograph of a pueblo in Taos, New Mexico. All of these photographs were taken ca. 1860-1870 and were collected by Francis Parkman. Includes one hand-colored tintype and a note in Francis Parkman's hand describing his relationship to some of the Native American subjects in these photographs.
E. Batiscan River photographs
This subseries contains loose photographs of Francis Parkman and Charles Haight Farnham during the month they spent at Farnham's camp on the Batiscan River, Lake St. John in Quebec in June 1886. These photos were taken by both Parkman and Farnham.
F. Art and artifacts
Loose photographs of reproductions of European artwork, as well as of artifacts of historical significance such as the "Lenape Stone," a supposed Native American pictographic artifact that was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1872. These photographs were most likely collected by Francis Parkman and his sister, Eliza Willard Shaw Parkman.
G. Miscellaneous photographs
This subseries contains miscellaneous photographs collected by Francis Parkman. Subjects include a fish, a manuscript map of an unidentified location, and a manuscript written in French, as well as a series of four views of an interior of an unidentified church and an unidentified man, taken by the same photographer. One of the photographs was taken by Sweeney of Cleveland, Ohio; the other photographers are unknown.
H. Oversize loose photographs
Arranged alphabetically into five groups: Portraits; Views; Native Americans; Art and artifacts; and Miscellaneous.
See also Photos. #170.361-368.
Art and artifacts
Various photographs of paintings and sculpture, taken ca. 1875-1890 by various photographers.
One photograph of a flower, "Magnolia macrophylla," taken ca. 1880s. The photographer is unknown.
Francis Parkman photographs, Photo. Coll. 170, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.