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Edward Smith Parsons (AC 1883) Papers

Identifier: MA.00127

Scope and Contents

Correspondence and news clippings, mainly regarding Parsons' dismissal from Colorado College as a result of his opposition to President William F. Slocum (AC 1874); diaries; scholarly notes and papers on John Milton; and miscellaneous booklets.


  • Creation: 1883-1943


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Parsons Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from Parsons Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Smith Parsons was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 9, 1863. He was educated at the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, Amherst (BA 1883) and Yale (BD 1887), and was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1887. After serving as parson of the First Congregational Church in Greeley, Colorado, for four years, he joined the faculty of Colorado College as an English professor in 1892. Parsons was vice-president of the college (1898-1916, and dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences (1901-1917). However, his vocal opposition to President William F. Slocum (AC 1874), which caused Slocum to resign, made him unpopular with the trustees, who in turn forced his resignation in 1917. Parsons' dismissal caused considerable public outrage, and the trustees offered to reinstate him conditionally. Parsons declined the offer, however, and moved to Marietta College (Ohio), where he served as President from 1919 to 1936 and as President Emeritus from 1936 to 1943.

Parsons was a founder of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, an active member and official of the YMCA, and a member of various other social and academic organizations. He edited Milton's Minor Poems for the Cambridge Series, and wrote several scholarly articles, including "The Earliest Life of Milton" (English Historical Review, January 1902; republished as part of Colorado College Studies, vol. X, 1903); "A Christian Critique of Socialism"; "The Social Message of Jesus"; etc. Parsons married Mary Augusta Ingersoll on December 4, 1889, and was the father of six children. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 22, 1943.


2.5 Linear feet (2 records storage boxes, 1 flat box)

Language of Materials



Clergyman and English professor. Correspondence and news clippings, mainly regarding Parsons' dismissal from Colorado College; diaries; scholarly notes and papers on John Milton; and miscellaneous booklets.


This collection is organized into five series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1903-1943
  2. Series 2: Diaries, 1883-1943
  3. Series 3: Scholarly Research on John Milton, 1877-1933, undated
  4. Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1915-1917, undated
  5. Series 5: News Clippings, 1903-1921

Related Materials

Alumni Biographical Files - Class of 1883 - Parsons, Edward S.

Alumni Biographical Files - Class of 1874 - Slocum, William F.

Sarang Gopalakrishan, Peter Nelson
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299