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Parker Family collection

Identifier: C-49

Scope and Contents

This collection provides a series of 43 letters written by Calvin Joseph Parker to his mother, Caroline Parker, during his time as a Union soldier in the Civil War. The letters date from 1862-1865 and cover his time in the 123rd Regiment of New York State Volunteers. He spent much of the first year and a half in Virginia and subsequently moved with his regiment to Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. The correspondence contains some description of camp life and soldiering duties, but also reflects his concern for his mother and her financial situation.

Other series of letters in this collection include letters written to Carrie and Marietta Parker, sisters to Calvin J. Parker. Both sisters attended Saratoga Female Seminary and became close with the headmaster, Luther Beecher and his family. Luther Beecher was a nephew of preacher Lyman Beecher, who fathered several prominent ministers and writer Harriet Beecher Stowe. Neither sister married, and much of their correspondence reflects their concern with finding and maintaining suitable employment.

Several items relate to Calvin Luther Parker (father of CJP) in his capacity of postmaster of Hartford, NY and county treasurer. These include the letter appointing him postmaster, a letter to his wife from 1808, and papers relating to his duties as treasurer.

Other items in the collection include 4 portraits (2 drawn, 2 photographs), cards and newspaper clippings relevant to the events and families represented, and scrapbooks by John Earle Parker, Caroline Mason Burditt [Parker], and Elizabeth Burditt Parker. Of particular interest is the front page of the New York Herald from April 15, 1865 reporting President Lincoln’s assassination.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1862 - 1890


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

Caroline Andrews’ (donor’s) father, John Thayer Andrews, was Middlebury College Professor of Philosophy, 1936-1971. Caroline Andrew’s mother, Elizabeth Burditt Parker [Andrews], attended Middlebury College from 1926-1929, and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1930. Caroline Andrews’ maternal grandmother, Caroline Mason Burditt [Parker], was in the Middlebury College class of 1903, and she married John Earle Parker, Middlebury College Class of 1901, in 1904. John Earle Parker’s father, Calvin Joseph Parker, served in the Civil War.

The importance of this collection is highlighted by the inclusion of several letters in “Unless a College,” a 2008-2009 exhibit demonstrating the depth and richness of Middlebury College’s Special Collections.


7 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Parker Family Collection includes manuscript letters, photograph albums, papers and ephemera, scrapbooks and realia. Notably, the collections provides 43 Civil War letters written by Calvin Joseph Parker to his mother and sisters. C.J. Parker served in the 123rd Regiment of New York Volunteers in the Union Army and the letters range in date from January 1862 to April 1865. The bulk of the letters are written from Virginia, but he also moved with his regiment through Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Remaining letters in the collection are from family and friends to Caroline Parker (mother), 1838-1869, to Carrie Parker (sister), 1867-1908 and Marietta Parker (sister), 1879-1890. The papers and ephemera relate to the Parker family and their friends. The three photograph albums have little identification but two are likely Parker relatives, the third entitled “Bermuda, 1925”. The four scrapbooks include: one of the Parker family and relatives, 1910s-1970s; one compiled by John Earle Parker (son of C.J. Parker) highlighting his foreign service in Venezuela in 1903; and two compiled by Middlebury College alumnae: Alice Warren Brooks, C.1901, and Elizabeth Burditt Parker [Andrews], C.1930. The realia includes a mandolin from Caroline Burditt Parker, C.1903 and a porcelain hors d'oeuvre tray with Delta Upsilon insignia, owned by John Earle Parker, C.1901.

Other Finding Aids

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Caroline Andrews, November 8, 2007. In addition to the letters, the original gift included several scrapbooks created by Parker family members and friends and a mandolin belonging to the donor’s maternal grandmother, Caroline Mason Burditt [Parker].

Related Materials

Related materials include C-76 John T. Andrews and Elizabeth B. Parker letters, Elizabeth Burditt Parker's scrapbooks (European Tour, 1926, and Middlebury College scrapbook, 1930), John Earle Parker's scrapbook, items in realia (mandolin, hors d'oeuvre tray, cane, letter sweater, sorority pins and bracelet), and a 1926 European travel journal kept by Caroline Mason Burditt [Parker]. All items donated by sisters Caroline and Kit Andrews.

Separated Materials

The items in series IV and V, scrapbooks and realia, are stored separately from the rest of the collection in the third bank. For more information refer to the Parker Family index linked above.

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Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States