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Guide to the Parsons family papers, [ca. 1880-1953]
BANC MSS C-B 478  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biographical Sketch
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Parsons Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): [ca. 1880-1953]
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 478
    Creator: Parsons family
    Extent: Number of containers: 9 boxes, 5 cartons, 1 vol. and 1 oversize folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: 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], Parsons family papers, BANC MSS C-B 478, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • 1 album of photographs has been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Biographical Sketch

    Marion Randall Parsons--writer, mountaineer, and artist--was born in San Francisco in 1878 and made her home in Piedmont and Berkeley until her death in 1953. She was privately educated and became interested in writing. An active Sierra Club member, she wrote many articles on her mountaineering experiences which were published in Sunset, Out West and The Sierra Club Bulletin. She also wrote short stories and novels, and worked with John Muir on his Travels in Alaska, preparing it for publication after his death.
    In 1907 she married Edward Taylor Parsons. He was born in 1861, received a degree from the University of Rochester in 1886, and became one of the first salesmen for the Sherwin-Williams Company. He travelled throughout the west and settled in San Francisco about 1900. Parsons was an active mountaineer and conservationist, also, and wrote about his experiences, illustrating many of his articles with his photographs. At the time of his death in 1914 he was on the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club. His wife was elected to take his place and served until 1936.
    Although interested in sketching from 1930, Mrs. Parsons did not begin to work at it seriously until 1936 when illness forced her to curtail activities. She worked in oils and watercolors and was essentially self-taught. From 1941 to 1952 she exhibited in Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley. Old California Houses, which was published in 1952, is illustrated with photographs of her oil paintings.

    Scope and Content

    This collection of papers was given to the Bancroft Library by Mrs. Parsons in 1952, with additional gifts from her estate, 1953-1961. They reflect her main interests--mountaineering, writing and painting--and include letters, unpublished manuscripts, and photographs. They include also papers of her husband. Portraits were removed and cataloged separately, with call numbers Portrait 6026-6034.
    A Key to Arrangement follows.