Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 290
Charles Christopher Parry (1823-1890)
Papers, 1841-1943


Descriptive summary

creator:

Parry, Charles Christopher (1823-1890)

title:

Papers

dates:

1841-1943

extent:

4.42 linear feet

collection number:

MS 290

repository:

Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.

 

Administrative information

access:

Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

Charles Christopher Parry Papers, MS 290, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.

 

Biographical note

Charles Christopher Parry, botanist and physician, was born in Admington, Gloucestershire, England, on August 28, 1823. When he was nine years old, his family moved from England to Washington County, New York. Parry earned an A.B. degree from Union College in 1842, then attended Columbia College as a graduate student, falling under the influence there of the botanist John Torrey. Earning an M.D. degree from Columbia in 1846, Parry settled in Davenport, Iowa, the same year and established a medical practice. Botanical studies rather than medicine proved to be his main interest, however. In 1847 Parry participated in a survey of central Iowa under Lieutenant John Morehead. Parry also served under Dr. David Dale Owen in 1848 in the geological survey of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Parry’s findings in Iowa from the previous season were included in the report of the Owen survey, published in 1852. In 1849 he was appointed botanist to the United States-Mexican boundary survey and worked in this capacity for three years. For the rest of his life, Parry spent his summers in botanical expeditions in western states like Colorado, Utah, and California, on his own or as botanist to an organized survey. He was the first person to hold the position of botanist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spending the years 1869-1871 at the Smithsonian Institution. Parry published his botanical papers in a wide variety of scientific journals and newspapers. In 1853 he married Sarah M. Dalzell, who died in 1858. The next year he married Emily R. Preston, who survived him. Parry died in his home in Davenport on February 20, 1890. Parry's herbarium and many of his personal papers and books were purchased by Iowa State University in 1894.

 

Collection description

The Parry collection (1841-1943) includes correspondence, notebooks, clippings, and papers. Many of the manuscripts and notebooks contain field notes from botanical expeditions, including notes on San Domingo, the Rocky Mountains, Mexico, and the Wasatch Mountains in the Utah Territory. There are two scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings--one dealing with the Mexican boundary surveys and the Santo Domingo Commission, the other containing clippings from the Chicago Evening Journal in 1863-64 dealing with the exploration of the Far West. The collection also includes photocopies from the accession records of the ISU library listing books from Parry's personal collection in the ISU library, Iowa State professor L. H. Pammel's notes on Parry, and papers dealing with the cataloging of the Iowa State collection in 1942-43. Correspondents include Rosa Smith Eigenmann, W. H. Emory, George Engelmann, Asa Gray, Edwin James, Albert Kellogg, D. D. Owen, S. B. Parish, Emily R. Parry, A. Randall, John Torrey, and Sereno Watson. The manuscript volumes in the Parry collection were formerly classified, with Library of Congress call numbers placed on the bound volumes. Call numbers and volume sizes have been included in the description of individual series to aid in their identification on the shelf.

Related materials may be found by searching the library catalog for author "Parry, Charles Christopher."

 

Organization

The collection is organized into six series:

  • Series 1, Correspondence, 1846-1931
  • Series 2, Manuscripts, 1848-1878, ca. 1910
  • Series 3, Notebooks, 1841-1880
  • Series 4, Clippings, 1853-ca. 1880
  • Series 5, Miscellaneous, 1859-1894, undated
  • Series 6, Card File, 1943
  • Series 7, Articles, 2012

 

Description of series

Series 1

Correspondence

1846-1931

extent:

4 volumes

description:

Letters and documents by and to Parry (1846-1889) and correspondence (1902-1931) relating to the assembling of the Parry collection by Professor L. H. Pammel. Four bound volumes in slipcases (10 1/2" x 13"). See also Series 5, Miscellaneous for additional correspondence. Formerly classified as QK31 P248c

 

Container list

Volume

Title

Dates

1

Correspondence

1846-1853

2

Correspondence

1854-1871

3

Correspondence

1872-1879

4

Correspondence

1880-1889 (Parry); 1902-1931 (Pammel)

 

Description of series

Series 2 Manuscripts

1848-1878, ca. 1910

extent:

1 volume

description:

Reports, memoranda, manuscripts of articles, and maps (1848-1878) assembled by L. H. Pammel; "Charles Christopher Parry" by L. H. Pammel, 191?. 48 pieces in 1 volume (12" x 16 3/4"). Formerly classified as QK31 P248m

 

Container list

Item

Title

1-8

Reports, etc. Geological survey of the Northwest (1848)

9

Account of Chagres River, by Captain Meade (1849)

10-33

Report, maps, etc., United States and Mexican boundary survey (1849-1854)

34

The Evil Effects Resulting from an Improper Association of Educational Interests with Party Politics (1860)

35

Chicago Evening Journal (December 8, 1863-1864)

36

On the Character of the Persistent Snow Accumulations in the Rocky Mountains (1866)

37

San Domingo (1871)

38

Notes on Agave, etc. (1871)

39-41

Cereus no. 2 (1871)

42

Summer Botanizing in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah Territory (1876)

43-47

Memoranda, etc., Mexican Trip (1878)

48

Charles Christopher Parry, by L.H. Pammel (191?)

 

Description of series

Series 3 Notebooks

1841-1880

extent:

21 volumes (ranging in size from 4 1/4" x 6 1/4" to 7" x 8 1/2"). In slip cases.

description:

These volumes include diaries, traveling notebooks, and field notebooks.

 

Container list

Volume

Title

1

Memorabilia (1841)

2

Diary and field notes (May-November 1848)

3

Pocket note book (September-October 1848)

4

Diary of a trip on Ohio (March-April 1849)

5

Traveling notes (April-July 1849)

6

Traveling expenses (March-July 1849)

7

Expedition to the Gila--Sick report (September-November 1849)

8

Botanical and ethnographical notes, Yuma country (December 1849)

9

Field notebook (June 1849-March 1850)

10

Field notebook (March-August 1850)

11

Field notebook, botany (June-July 1850)

12

Field notebook no. 3 (September 1850-March 1851)

13

Field notebook (October 1851-February 1852)

14

Field notebook (February-August 1852)

15

Miscellaneous notes (January-August 1852)

16

Cacti--descriptions (July 1852)

17

Field notebook and journal (August 1852-January 1853)

18

Barometric observations (May-September 1867)

19

Geological notes U.P.R. W-E.D. (1867)

20

Botanical notes, etc. (April-July 1878)

21

Diary (January-December 1880)

 

Description of series

Series 4 Clippings

1853- ca. 1880

extent:

2 volumes

description:

These two volumes include clippings related to the Mexican boundary survey, the Santo Domingo Commission, materials from the Chicago Evening Journal, and other contents of a scrapbook kept by Parry.

 

Container list

Title

Dates

Clippings dealing with the Mexican boundary surveys and the Santo Domingo Commission. 7 pieces in 1 folder, (8 3/4" x 12 1/2"). Each piece accompanied by a typewritten title with a bibliographical reference. Formerly classified as QK31 P248cm.

1853-ca. 1880

Clippings, Chicago Evening Journal, etc. 1 volume (12 1/2" x 17"). Includes other contents of a scrapbook kept by Parry (1863-1880). Typewritten copies of the newspaper contributions by Parry in this scrapbook have been included as number 35 in the Parry manuscripts in Section II. Formerly classified as QK31 P248c1.

1863-1864

 

Description of series

Series 5 Miscellaneous 1859-1894, undated
extent: 0.42 linear feet (1 document box)
description: This series contains a collection of letters and other material dealing with cataloging the Parry manuscripts in 1942-1943. Includes duplicate carbon copies of some of the Parry letters, a rough draft of a Parry chronology, lists of titles collected for a Parry bibliography, and carbon copies of the tables of contents from the bound volumes of Parry correspondence and manuscripts. The items in folders 1-5 were formerly classified as QK31 P248i.

 

Container list

Box

Folder

Title

1

1

Carbon copies of tables of contents of Parry Papers bound as correspondence and manuscripts

1

2

Correspondence on the Parry Papers. Typewritten excerpts from the Parry notebooks and correspondence

1

3

Titles collected for a bibliography of C. C. Parry

1

4

Typescript copies of clippings from the Chicago Evening Journal containing articles on the Far West, 1863-1864

1

5

Typescripts of letters from Samuel Bonsall Parish to C. C. Parry, 1879-1889

1

6

Letter from Edwin James (1797-1861) to Parry, written at Burlington, Iowa, February 11, 1859, telling of a "range of mountains containing the sources of the Platte and Arkansas." Formerly classified as F626 J232L.

1

7

Photocopies of ISU Library accession records showing Parry books, a list of books in the Parry collection, and copies of Board of Trustees Report (1894) concerning the purchase of the Parry collection.

1

8

Photocopies of Parry correspondence from the University of Notre Dame

1

9

Letter from George Engelmann to Parry, written at St. Louis, Missouri, April 15, 1879, asking Parry to identify several fruits and seeds.

1

10

Computer printout of image of Parry (1865) held by Wisconsin Historical Society

1

11

Correspondence: California Academy of Natural Sciences secretary (William Ayres), 1860-1883

Map case C406 D15 Photograph of C.C. Parry, no date

 

Description of series

Series 6 Card file 1943
description: Card file indexing the correspondence, notebooks, and manuscripts. Circa 900 cards.

 

Container list

Box

Title

Dates

Card file box

Index of the correspondence, notebooks, and manuscripts. Circa 900 cards

1943

 

Description of series

Series 7

Articles

2012

description:

Articles written about Parry and assembled by Special Collections staff.  These articles have not been included in the collection's dates.

 

Container list

Box

Folder

Title

Dates

1

12

Article: Echinocactus parryi Engelmann (French)

2012