Finding Aid to the Robert Allerton Parker Papers, 1927-1970

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The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
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© 1997
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


This finding aid has been filmed for the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (Chadwyck-Healey Inc.)


Arts and Humanities --Performing Arts --Theater Arts and Humanities --Literature --Criticism and Theory

Finding Aid to the Robert Allerton Parker Papers, 1927-1970

Collection number: BANC MSS 71/235 z

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1971
Encoded by:
Charlotte Gerstein
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Robert Allerton Parker Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1927-1970
Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/235 z
Creator: Parker, Robert Allerton
Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 4 cartons, 1 oversize folder
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: Correspondence, mainly about his writing; mss., with related materials, of his biographies; articles and book reviews by him relating to art and the theater; mss. of film scenarios and plays; unfinished ms. on the theater in America; unpublished novel based on the Donner Party; notes; and subject files.
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert Allerton Parker Papers, BANC MSS 71/235 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Materials Cataloged Separately

  • Books, written by Parker, which came with the collection, have been removed for separate cataloging.
  • Photographs have been transferred to the Portrait Collection of The Bancroft Library.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to The Bancroft Library by Parker's widow, Mrs. Robert Allerton Parker, on May 13, 1971.

Biographical Sketch

Robert Allerton Parker (1888-1970), American journalist, editor, biographer and critic, born and raised in Alameda, California, and a graduate of the University of California in 1909, was to reside most of his life in New York. From associate editor of Current Opinion (1914-1920), Parker turned to writing and editing for magazines of art - Arts & Decoration, The Arts, and The International Studio. He undertook several biographies -that of John Humphreys Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community of Perfectionists, A Yankee Saint (1935); Father Divine, The Incredible Messiah (1937); and a study of the Quaker family, the Logan Pearsall Smiths, in The Transatlantic Smiths (1959).
Parker was instrumental in the publication in 1944 of Dr. Gladys I. Wade's book, Thomas Traherne, for which he compiled an exhaustive bibliography. He also wrote an introduction to Ananda Coomaraswamy's essays, Am I My Brother's Keeper?, published in 1947, in an attempt to obtain the Nobel Prize for the Indian mystic.
His interest in the history of the American West led to a much reworked unpublished novel, Ox Train, based on the experiences of the Donner Party. At the time of his death, in 1970, Parker was working on a history of the theater in America, with special attention to vaudeville and to the theater in San Francisco.

Scope and Content

The papers include correspondence with authors of note, mainly commenting on or relating to his writings; manuscripts and related materials for his published biographies, and for his translation of Louis Ferdinand Céline's Mea Culpa (1937), as well as manuscripts of some of his unpublished work; book reviews by him; manuscripts of plays and film scenarios; tear sheets of many articles relating mainly to art; outlines and portions of unfinished works dealing with the theater in America; and extensive notes and subject files on the theater and other subjects. The Key to Arrangement which follows describes the collection in greater detail.