Ely Samuel Parker papers mssPA

Gayle Richardson
The Huntington Library
July 2020
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Ely Samuel Parker papers
Creator: Parker, Ely Samuel, 1828-1895
Identifier/Call Number: mssPA
Physical Description: 2.3 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 2 volumes)
Date (inclusive): 1802-1894
Date (bulk): 1832-1894
Abstract: A collection of material related to the life and work of Ely Samuel Parker, Native American representative and lawyer.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Ely Samuel Parker papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from W. C. Wyman, May 1920.

Custodial History

The material was formerly part of the manuscript collection of Arthur C. Parker, grandson of Nicholson Henry Parker; the material became part of the collection of W. C. Wyman, before being purchased by the Huntington Library.

Biographical / Historical

Ely Samuel Parker (1828-1895) was a Seneca Indian born on the Tonawanda Reservation in western New York; he was known as Do-Ne-Ho-Ga-Wa and was Seneca sachem of the Six Nations. At the age of 19 he served as a representative of his people to Washington, D.C., championing their cause against removal to the west. He studied law and became a lawyer; during the Civil War he became Ulysses S. Grant's military secretary and for meritorious service won the brevet appointment of Brigadier-General. From 1869 to 1871 Parker was Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In later years Parker ventured into business and held positions on the New York Police Department. He died on August 30, 1895 in Fairfield, Connecticut. Nicholson Henry Parker (1824-1892) was Ely S. Parker's brother, and as a young man was well known as a lecturer on Native American tribal history and customs. He was greatly interested in the Native American's fight against expulsion from their reservations; for many years he worked as an United States interpreter.

Scope and Contents

A collection of 135 items from 1802 to 1894, it consists of correspondence, documents, and manuscripts of Ely Samuel Parker relating to Native American affairs and personal matters; also included are papers of Parker's brother, Nicholson Henry Parker. The material covers many subjects including Seneca Indians of Western New York; Native American political and cultural affairs; the removal of Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi; protests against emigration; Schermerhorn's exploring party; The Treaty of 1838 and the Amending Treaty; and the opposition and repudiation by the Senecas. The collection also includes material on the Seneca Mission Station on Buffalo Creek and studies in the Seneca language; a list of Native Americans of the Six Nations who took part in the War of 1812; a dictionary of the Seneca language; and a census of Seneca Indians, 1855 to 1857. In addition, there are Ely Samuel Parker's school compositions, chiefly about Native American life and culture, and confidential correspondence with Mrs. Harriet Maxwell Converse, American folklorist and historian of the Iroquois.

Processing Information

Processed by Huntington Library Staff, circa 1930. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


Arranged chronologically.


Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssPA 1-126.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Indians of North America -- Relocation
Indians of North America -- History -- 19th century
Seneca language -- Dictionaries -- 19th century
Seneca Nation of Indians -- History -- 19th century
Seneca Nation of Indians -- Government relations -- 19th century
United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Participation, Indian
New York (State) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Census records -- United States -- 19th century
Documents -- United States -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
Personal papers -- United States -- 19th century
Converse, Harriet Maxwell, 1836-1903
Parker, Nicholson Henry, 1824-1892

Box 1, Folder 1-46


Box 2, Folder 1-79


Volume 1

Asher Wright? List of the names of Indians of the 6 Nations of New York... PA 1 approximately 1835

Volume 2

Nicholson Henry Parker. Census of Seneca Indians upon the Allegany... PA 126 1855-1857