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Edward Alexander Parsons collection

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00015

Scope and Contents

The material in the Edward Alexander Parsons Collection, 1678-1928, 1951, comprises a wide variety of manuscript documents concerning the American South, primarily Louisiana and surrounding areas. Records provide a wealth of information about government of the area by the French and Spanish in the 18th Century; negotiations between the United States and these countries for free navigation of the Mississippi River and for the Louisiana Purchase; activities of the Louisiana Militia in the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans; and the Aaron Burr/James Wilkinson conspiracy. Individual documents of note include correspondence and legal records relating to privateer and smuggler Jean Lafitte, 1813-1815; correspondence of General James Wilkinson regarding the War of 1812 and other matters; two late 18th-century letters from Thomas Jefferson regarding settlement, navigation, and Native Americans; and many documents from Louis XIV through Louis XVI.

Archivist's note: Oversized items within series I. Miscellaneous through IX. T-U are also identified with current box, folder, and item number in series XVII. Oversized items from boxes 3E477 through 3E489.


  • Creation: 1678 - 1928
  • Creation: 1951


Conditions Governing Access

For preservation concerns, original materials are restricted. A photocopy or microfilm copy is provided for patron use.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Biographical Note

A lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana, Edward Alexander Parsons (1878-1962) married and had at least one daughter. A bibliophile, he briefly worked for the New Orleans Public Library in the 1930s and over a period of sixty years built a private collection, known as the Bibliotheca Parsoniana, with over 8,000 manuscripts and 40,000 publications on the American South, which was acquired by the University of Texas at Austin in 1958. An avid researcher and amateur historian, Parsons published numerous articles, pamphlets, and books, such as The Noble Art of Printing: An Exposition, with Some Account of Johann Gutenberg, the Father of Printing (1940), The Letters of Robert R. Livingston: The Diplomatic Story of the Louisiana Purchase (1943), The Alexandrian Library, Glory of the Hellenic World: Its Rise, Antiquities, and Destructions (1952), and The Wonder and the Glory: Confessions of a Southern Bibliophile (1962).


Lentz, Lamar. The Parsons Collection Revisited. The Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin, No. 30, 1985: pp. 70-81.


6.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian



The material in the Edward Alexander Parsons Collection, 1678-1928, 1951, comprises a wide variety of manuscript documents relating the American South, primarily around Louisiana.


The papers are primarily arranged alphabetically by creator into eighteen series, which are then organized chronologically:

  • I. Miscellaneous
  • II. A-Bo
  • III. Bu-D
  • IV. E-I
  • V. J-L
  • VI. Ma-Mi
  • VII. Mo-O
  • VIII. P-S
  • IX. T-U
  • X. V-Z
  • XI. Livingston, Robert R.
  • XII. Louisiana
  • XIII. Louis XIV-Louis XVI
  • XIV. Books
  • XV. Parsons, Edward Alexander
  • XVI. Appointments
  • XVII. Oversized items from boxes 3E477 through 3E489
  • XVIII. Additions

Accession Number(s)

1993-492; 2009-324; 2012-099

Alternate Format Available

A microfilm copy of the majority of this collection is available for use in the SRH Winkler Microfilm Room. It coordinates with the box, folder, and item organization and consists of series I. Miscellaneous through XVII. Oversized items from boxes 3E477 through 3E489. The only series not on microfilm is XVIII. Additions.

Separated Materials

Some material has been separated to the Money Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristine L. Toma, 1995. Subsequent revisions were made by Abigail Schultz and Courtney Chartier, 2003-2004; Megan Mummey, January 2010; Laurel Rozema, March 2011; and Bethany Anderson, June 2012.

Edward Alexander Parsons Collection, 1678-1928, 1951
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Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712