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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2634

Joel Parker business records and estate papers


Business records and estate papers of American jurist and Harvard Law School professor, Joel Parker.


  • 1840-1925

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
Primarily consists of business records of land and stock holdings of Joel Parker, and those of other members of the Parker family. Extensive land holdings and land transactions are recorded in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Kansas. Businesses include the Chesterfield Land and Improvement Company, the Sullivan Railroad Company, the Dover Company, the Colorado Mining Exchange Building Company, and others. Records include receipts, deeds, stock certificates, financial records, and correspondence. There are extensive copies of letters and documents concerning the settling of Joel Parkers' estate, by his executors, Horatio G. Parker and Francis J. Parker.

Also included are a small group of papers documenting the Harvard College years of Benjamin Pierce Cheney, Jr. (A.B. 1890). B. P. Cheney Jr. was the son of Benjamin Pierce Cheney (1815-1895), the founder of the firm that eventually became American Express. A few letters concern Cheney's college years, but most of this group consists of printed forms with manuscript additions. Includes grade reports and comments about his poor academic performance each year. It is not known why these papers are among Joel Parker's papers.

Biographical / Historical

Joel Parker (1795-1875) was a jurist and the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard Law School from 1848-1868. His brothers were Edmund, Asa, and Isaac Parker. He married Mary Morse (Parker) Parker (1817-1884) in 1848 and they had three children.


Arranged into the following series:
  1. I. Joel Parker and Parker family business records
  2. II. Joel Parker estate papers
  3. III. Other papers

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Bequest of Parker Potter; received 1938 July 29.

Formerly Widener Treasure Room collection 559*.

Related Materials

Papers of Joel Parker can also be found at the Harvard University Archives, the Special Collections of the Harvard Law School Library, Dartmouth College Library, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Part of the MS Storage project, 2008-2009.
Link to catalog
Parker, Joel, 1795-1875. Joel Parker business records and estate papers, 1840-1925: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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