Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of papers of historian Francis Parkman, including his notebook of his journey on the Oregon Trail (1846); copies of documents from foreign archives and correspondence related to his research on Jesuits, Pontiac's Conspiracy, Native Americans, and the history of Canada (New France); items related to his interests in gardening and horticulture; diaries of other trips in the U.S. and Europe; account books; and correspondence with his father Francis Parkman (1788-1852).

Collection Description

The Francis Parkman (1823-1893) papers contain the personal and professional papers of this historian, famous for his works on the Oregon Trail, Pontiac's Conspiracy, the Jesuits and the Native Americans, and the history of the struggle between the French and English over the continent, specifically their role in Canada (New France) and Florida.

His papers include correspondence on his research, his writing, and the publication of his numerous works, as well as research notes and transcriptions of documents and a few original documents needed for his research; and a few manuscripts (including Montcalm and Wolf) and page proofs of his writings. The papers also include items related to his interest in horticulture and gardening, account books (1855-1892), commonplace-books, and notebooks. Parkman's diaries in the collection include a notebook of his journey on the Oregon Trail in 1846 and on various journeys in New England, Canada, Europe, and up the Magalloway River in New Hampshire, and regarding his gardening activities.

Items representing other individuals in the collection include manuscripts of sermons written by his father Francis Parkman (1788-1852), a Boston Congregational minister; Stephen Williams' diary of his service as a chaplain during the Louisbourg expedition (1745); and copies of the journals of Seth Pomeroy during the expeditions to Louisbourg and Crown Point (1755).

The loose papers contained in boxes 1-6 comprise primarily correspondence related to Parkman's lifelong work and research, his requests for copies of manuscripts for use in his research, his travels, and his involvement in the effort of the U.S., and specifically the Library of Congress, to publish the historical collections of Pierre Margry related to western discovery. His numerous correspondents include historians, publishers, scholars, politicians, and individuals representing various archives in the United States, Canada, and France. Box 5 contains letters, with typewritten transcriptions, from H. R. Casgrain, as well as letters to and from Pierre Margry.

Among his many correspondents are Henry Adams, George Bancroft, Adolph F. Bandelier, John R. Bartlett, Charles Deane, Lyman C. Draper, George E. Ellis, Charles Farnham, James A. Garfield, Gabrielle Gravier, George S. Hale, O. H. Marshall, Brantz Mayer, Charles E. Norton, George P. Putnam, Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, John G. Shea, Jared Sparks, A. R. Spofford, E. G. Squier, B. F. Stevens, Henry Stevens, William L. Stone, Col. Charles Whittlesey, and Justin Winsor. Also of note is a series of correspondence between Parkman and his parents, in particular letters from his journeys on the Oregon Trail.

This body of papers consists of 163 volumes (some in boxes), 6 boxes of loose papers, 3 card-file boxes, 2 cases, 5 folders, and 1 oversize box. The volumes have been placed into two series with separate numeric sequences (explained further in the container list). Most of the items have been individually identified in the MHS card catalog, with cards for main entries or writers of manuscripts, and many have been more fully described as to their contents. Volumes 1-123 remain as individual volumes, while papers in the volumes originally numbered 127-134 have been removed from the volumes and interfiled with other loose papers in chronological order in boxes 1-6. The container list for the boxes notes the original volume numbers contained in the individual boxes. The container list follows the placement of the items on the shelves.

Acquisition Information

The majority of the papers were donated by Francis Parkman in several installments between the Civil War and his death in 1893, in particular the bound volumes of manuscripts and notes. Additional donations were made by Elizabeth P. Cordner in April 1928 and October 1942; by Henry E. Hale, Jr. in January 1844; and by Mrs. John Forbes Perkins in February 1956.

One folder of greeting cards and other ephemera was donated by the Parkman family in 1956.

Other Formats

The following selections from the Francis Parkman papers are available on microfilm:

Oregon Trail notebooks on microfilm, 1 reel, P-128.

Seth Pomeroy 1745 journal (copy) on microfilm, 1 reel, P-149.

Stephen Williams diary on microfilm, P-363, reel 11.26.

H. R. Casgrain letters on microfilm, 1 reel, P-249.

Parkman's Oregon Trail notebook, 16 June-2 Sep. 1846, has been digitized and is available here:

Detailed Description of the Collection

All items are the papers of Francis Parkman (1823-1893) unless otherwise noted.

I. Bound Volumes, First Numbered Series

These volumes contain copies of documents held by other repositories in Canada and France, transcribed by Francis Parkman.

The following list of volumes contains the spine label/title for each numbered volume. Several of the volumes have been disbound and placed in boxes. However, the volumes continue to be listed separately. Those volumes which contain indexes to their contents have been noted below. References to individual volume numbers and items within them are included in the MHS card catalog.

Vol. 1 XT
Canada, 1674-1686
Vol. 2 XT
Canada, 1686-1690
Vol. 3 XT
Canada, 1690-1693
Vol. 4 XT
Canada, 1693-1696
Vol. 5 XT
Canada, 1696-1699
Vol. 6 XT
Canada, 1699-1702; 1712
Vol. 7 XT
Canada, Letters du Roy, etc., 1675-1689
Vol. 8 XT
Canada, Letters du Roy, etc., 1689-1698
Vol. 9 XT
New France I, Acadia, 1713-1767

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 10 XT
New France II, Isle Royale, 1745-1751
Vol. 11 XT
New France III, Isle Royale, 1752-1756
Vol. 12 XT
New France IV, Isle Royale, 1757-1758
Vol. 13 XT
New France V, Canada, 1749-1750
Vol. 14 XT
New France VI, Canada, 1751-1754
Vol. 15 XT
New France VII, Canada, 1746-1756

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 16 XT
New France VIII, Canada, 1756-1759

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 17 XT
New France IX, Canada, 1756-1760

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 18 XT
New France X, Canada, 1756-1758

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 19 XT
New France XI, Canada, 1756-1759

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 20 XT
New France XII, Canada, 1757-1761

For index, see Vol. 21.

Vol. 21 XT
New France, Index


Vol. 22 XT
Pontiac, Documents from State, 1762-1763, Paper Office
Vol. 23
Pontiac, Journals, etc.
Vol. 24
Pontiac, Miscellaneous, 1750-1762
Vol. 25
Pontiac, Miscellaneous, 1763
Vol. 26
Pontiac, Miscellaneous, 1764
Vol. 27
Pontiac, Miscellaneous, 1765-1778
Vol. 27a
Pontiac, French documents, etc.
Vol. 27b
Pontiac, Bouquet Papers, I
Vol. 27c
Pontiac, Bouquet Papers, II
Vol. 27d
Pontiac, [ ] Miscellanies
Vol. 28
Letters of Pedro Menedez, 1565-1566
Vol. 29
Acadia-Abenaquis, Vol. 1

Index for Vols. 29-31

Vol. 30
Acadia-Abenaquis, Vol. II

For index, see Vol. 29.

Vol. 31
Acadia-Abenaquis, Vol. III

For index, see Vol. 29.

Vol. 32 XT
Canada, Correspondance Officielle, 1621-1679

Includes index.

Vol. 32a
Quebec, Docs. Index, Archives de Paris
Vol. 33 XT
Canada, Correspondance Officielle, II

Includes index.

Vol. 34 XT
Canada, Correspondance Officielle, IV

Includes index.

Vol. 35 XT
Canada, Correspondance Officielle, V

Includes index.

Vol. 36
Public Record Office, 1693-1711
Vol. 37
Public Record Office, 1711-1725
Vol. 38
Public Record Office, 1744-1746
Vol. 39
Public Record Office, 1746-1749
Vol. 40
Public Record Office, 1753-1755
Vol. 41
Public Record Office, 1755-1756
Vol. 42
Public Record Office, 1756-1758
Vol. 43
Public Record Office, 1759-1760
Vol. 44
Public Record Office
Vol. 45
Bouquet & Haldimand Papers, 1756-1761
Vol. 46
Letters of Dinwiddie, I
Vol. 47
Letters Of Dinwiddie, II
Vol. 48
Letters of Dinwiddie, III
Vol. 49
Letters of Dinwiddie, IV
Vol. 50
Letters of Dinwiddie, V
Vol. 51
Voyage Au Canada Par T.C.B., 1751-1761
Vol. 52
Archives du Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, 1629-1686
Vol. 53
Archives du Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, 1714-1755
Vol. 54
Archives Nationales, 1598-1759
Vol. 55
Canada, Church and State, 1647-1704
Vol. 56
Vol. 57
Correspondance Officielle, 2me Serie IX, X, XI
Vol. 58
Correspondance Officielle, 3me Serie, II
Vol. 59
Correspondance Officielle, 3me Serie V, VI, VII
Vol. 60
Correspondance Officielle, 3me Serie VIII, IX, X, XI, XII
Vol. 61
Archives de la Marine, 1660-1671
Vol. 62
Archives de la Marine, 1704-1709
Vol. 63
Archives de la Marine, 1709-1737
Vol. 64
Archives de la marine, 1737-1759
Vol. 65
Archives Nationales, Compagnie du Castor
Vol. 66
Archives Nationales, 1666-1759

Includes index.

Vol. 67
Dupuis Troubles du Canada, 1728
Vol. 68
Voyage dans le Gulfe du Mexique, 1684-1685
Vol. 69
Lettre d'un Habitant de Louisbourg, 1745
Vol. 70 XT
[Miscellaneous Documents in a binder] - Not Labeled
Vol. 70a
Stephen Williams Diary, 1745-1748
Vol. 71
Mass Docs. Index (documents in Mass. Archives; see note in volume)
Vol. 72
"Troops at Louisburg, 1745, Parkman Coll." (bound-up original lists and docs.)
Vol. 73
"Letters of Bastide, 1743-1764. Parkman Coll." (bound-up original mss.)
Vol. 74
"French letters, 1697-1711, Parkman Coll." (bound-up original mss.)
Vol. 75
Histoire de Montreal
Vol. 76
[No spine label] Copies of official docs. in Spanish and Florida Native American languages (7 sheets)
Vol. 77
[No spine label] Copied French docs., ca. 1698-1699
Vol. 78
Francis Parkman--Gould Article on Parkman's ill health by George M. Gould (printed), 1903
Vol. 79
Relation de Penecaut
Vol. 80
Scrapbook (biographical scraps pasted in)
Vol. 81
Montcalm papiers de Famille
Vol. 82
Lettres diverses a Bourlamaque
Vol. 83
Lettres de Montcalm a Bourlamaque
Vol. 84
[No spine label] "The enterprises & discoveries of Robert ... de la Salle."
Vol. 85
Jesuits in Canada ("miscellaneous notes...")
Vol. 86
Letters [This is a copy of part of the ms. of "Pontiac"]
Vol. 87
Histoire de la Louisiana de 1699 a 1721
Vol. 88
Jesuit letters, 1683-1708
Vol. 89
Documents sur le Canada, 1627-1702
Vol. 90
[No spine label] "Notes on the Indians, vols. I, II," 1845
Vol. 91
[No spine label] "Notes on the Indians, 2" [1845]
Vol. 92
[No spine label] "Miscellaneous notes on the Indians, March 1845."
Vol. 93
L'Acadie Colonisee Par Ch. De Menou D'Aulnay
Vol. 94
[No spine label] [Misc. Notes on French History and Politics]

No description of contents by Parkman or others.

Vol. 95
Index Rerum (printed index volume with manuscript notes on Canadian history, etc.)
Vol. 96
Index Rerum (printed index volume with notes on French and Indian War)
Vol. 97
Lettre de Soeur Cecile, "Marquis de la Roche, 1598 ... Rapport du Capitaine Fleury ... 1613; 1639 ..." (copied letters and reports in French)
Vol. 98
Affa. du Cana. "Memoires sur les affaires du Canada, 1756." (original or early copy)
Vol. 99
Notes on Paris documents, etc.

Includes index.


Vol. 100
Notes on Paris documents, etc.

Includes index.


Vol. 101
Notes on Paris documents, etc.

Includes index.


Vol. 102
Notes on Old Regime, etc.

Includes index.

Vol. 103
Notes on Old Regime, etc. including copies of journals of Seth Pomeroy 1745, 1755

Includes index.

Vol. 104
Notes on Old Regime, etc.
Vol. 105
Notes on Nova Scotia Cadillac, etc.
Vol. 106
Notes on Nova Scotia Cadillac, etc.
Vol. 107
Notes on Pontiac, etc.

Includes index.

Vol. 108
Notes on Pontiac, etc.
Vol. 109
Notes on Pontiac, etc.

Includes index.

Vol. 110-113
[Newspaper cuttings relating to Francis Parkman and his works]
Vol. 114
Notes on Florida, etc.
Vol. 115
Notes on Florida, etc.
Vol. 116
Notes on Florida, etc.
Vol. 117
Notes on Florida, etc.
Vol. 118
Notes on Florida, etc.
Vol. 118a
Ebenezer Parkman commonplace-book, 1721-1779


Vol. 119
Conspiracy of Pontiac
Vol. 120
France in the New World
Vol. 121
Maps, newspaper clippings, printed material, etc.
Vol. 123
True and Single Account, P. H. de la Valiniere, 1786-1788
Vol. 127-134

II. Cases

Cases 1-2
Montcalm and Wolf, original manuscript

III. Boxes

Box 1
Francis Parkman Papers, 1838-1857

Includes items formerly found in Vol. 127 - Vol. 128, #8.

Box 2
Francis Parkman Papers, 1858-1873

Includes items formerly found in Vol. 128, #8 - Vol. 129, #89.

Box 3
Francis Parkman Papers, 1874-1880

Includes items formerly found in Vol. 129, #90 - Vol. 131.

Box 4
Francis Parkman Papers, 1881-1887

Includes items formerly found in Vol. 132 - Vol. 133, #51.

Box 5
Francis Parkman Papers, 1888-1941

Includes items formerly found in Vol. 133, #51 - Vol. 134.

Box 6
H. R. Casgrain & Pierre Margry letters, 1866-1892

Includes items removed from Vols. 128 - 134.

Box 7
Checks, 1870-1893
Box 8-9
Card catalog

IV. Folders

Folder 1
Francis Parkman (1788-1852) manuscripts and sermons, 1836, 1841, 1851
Folder 2
Accounts of his trip up the Magalloway River, N.H., Sep. 1841
Folder 3
Misc. anonymous sketches, 1852-1853, 1863
Folder 4
Mary Brooks Parkman commonplace-book, 1858
Folder 5
Parkman family greeting cards, etc., 1859-1888

V. Volumes, Second Numbered Series

The volumes listed below were not part of the original numbering system assigned to the bound volumes. For this reason, they have been given a separate numeric sequence.

Each volume is individually described in the MHS card catalog. However, the citations do not refer to volume numbers.

2nd series, Vol. 1
Catalogus coelopterum, undated
2nd series, Vol. 2
Diary, Mass. and N.H., July-Aug. 1841
2nd series, Vol. 3
Diary, N.Y. and Canada, July-Aug. 1842
2nd series, Vol. 4
Notes, N.Y., N.H., Canada, 1843
2nd series, Vol. 5
Notes, Italy, 1843-1844
2nd series, Vol. 6A-6B
Diary of trip to Europe, 1843-1844 (2 vols.)
2nd series, Vol. 7
Passport, 1843-1845
2nd series, Vol. 8
Notes, Western Mass., July-Sep. 1844
2nd series, Vol. 9
Diary about Native Americans, Western Mass., 1844-1845
2nd series, Vol. 10A-10B
History of Europe, notes from a college course, 1844-1845 (2 vols.)
2nd series, Vol. 11
Diary, N.Y., Canada, Aug. 1845
2nd series, Vol. 12
Notes, 1846
2nd series, Vol. 13A-13C
Notebook, journey on Oregon Trail, 1846 (3 vols.)

Click here to view the online presentation of Francis Parkman's Oregon Trail notebook, 16 June-2 Sep. 1846.

2nd series, Vol. 14
Records, 1849-1850
2nd series, Vol. 15
Account book, 1855
2nd series, Vol. 16
Account book, 1856
2nd series, Vol. 17
Account book, 1857
2nd series, Vol. 18
Account book, 1858
2nd series, Vol. 19
Receipt book for sale of flowers, 1859, 1874-1880
2nd series, Vol. 20
Account book of nursery and garden expenses, 1859-1879
2nd series, Vol. 21
Account book, 1861-1866
2nd series, Vol. 22
Diary of gardening activities, 1861-1867
2nd series, Vol. 23
Account book, 1866-1876
2nd series, Vol. 24
Commonplace-book, 1867, with copy of 17 Apr. 1865 letter
2nd series, Vol. 25
Mrs. John Cordner, diary about the death of her daughter, with transcripts of letters by Francis Parkman, 1867
2nd series, Vol. 26
Diary, Paris, 1868-1869
2nd series, Vol. 27
Diary of gardening activities, 1868-1886
2nd series, Vol. 28
List of roses, 1869
2nd series, Vol. 29
Notes on trip to Mt. Desert, Sep. 1870
2nd series, Vol. 30
Notes on travels in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, July-Aug. 1871. Also contains "Acadia local notes" of Aug. 1873
2nd series, Vol. 31
Notes on Paris, 1872
2nd series, Vol. 32
Account book, 1877-1889
2nd series, Vol. 33
Historical memoranda, notes on Florida, 1879-1885
2nd series, Vol. 34
Address book from abroad, 1880-1881
2nd series, Vol. 35
Account book, 1888-1893
2nd series, Vol. 36
Account book, 1892

VI. Oversize Material

Contains diplomas; honorary degrees.

OS Box

Preferred Citation

Francis Parkman papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

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.


Adams, Henry, 1838-1918.
Bandelier, Adolph Francis Alphonse, 1840-1914.
Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de, comte, 1729-1811.
Casgrain, H. R. (Henri Raymond), 1831-1904.
Clark, Gaylord.
Draper, Lyman Copeland, 1815-1891.
Frye, Joseph, 1712-1794.
Gorell, James.
Margry, Pierre, 1818-1894.
Marshall, O. H. (Orsamus Holmes), 1813-1884.
Mayer, Brantz, 1809-1879.
Parkman, Francis, 1788-1852.
Pomeroy, Seth, 1706-1777.
Putnam, George Palmer, 1814-1872.
Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909.
Spofford, Ainsworth Rand, 1825-1908.
Squier, E. G. (Ephraim George), 1821-1888.
Stone, William Leete, 1835-1908.
Williams, Stephen, 1693-1782.
Winsor, Justin, 1831-1897.


Jesuits--North America.


Congregational churches--Clergy.
Crown Point Expedition, 1755.
Indians of North America.
Pontiac's Conspiracy, 1763-1765.
Voyages and travels.
Account books--1855-1892.
Canada--Description and travel.
Canada--History--To 1763 (New France).
Louisbourg (N.S.).
Oregon Trail.
United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
Europe--Description and travel.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Francis Parkman photographs, ca. 1840-1910. Photo. Coll. 170.

The following items have been removed from the Francis Parkman papers and are stored separately in Special Libraries.

"Oregon trail notebooks." Notebooks kept by Francis Parkman on a journey to the Oregon Trail used for his published work The California and Oregon Trail (later simply The Oregon Trail), 1846. Three notebooks in one case. USE MICROFILM, P-128, 1 REEL.

Felix Octavius Carl Darley, Sketches for the frontispiece of The California and Oregon Trail, [1849]. One case.

Sketches made by Native American prisoners from the Great Plains at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Fla., ca. 1875-1878. One case and one folder of photocopies. USE PHOTOCOPIES (Ms. S-56), MICROFILM (P-245, 1 reel), OR DIGITAL IMAGES (