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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Parsons Family Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1885-1909
Creator: Parsons Family
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0888
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Account books of Albion and Louis A. Parsons of Burlington, Iowa. Credits and expenditures, Heirs of the Parsons, notes on a trip to the Washoe Smelter of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and the Boston and Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company in Montana, which include some drawings.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was purchased in 2009.

Preferred Citation: Parsons Family Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Louis Parsons grew up in Burlington, Iowa, during the 1870s and 1880s. He came from a middle-class family. His father, Albion, owned a general store. His mother, Mary, raised Louis and his older sister, Ella. When Louis was 13 (1885), his father passed away. As a boy, Louis enjoyed drawing and playing with his cousins. His also practiced technical skills, like photography and making electric batteries. Louis attended West Hill, a private middle and high school in Burlington. He had a number of health problems that caused him to miss one year of school. One of his favorite childhood memories was visiting California in 1889.

The collection consists of four ledger type diaries from late 19th and early 20th century from Burlington, Iowa. These were the property of Albion Parsons and his son, Louis Alexander Parsons. The account books are dated 1885, 1896-1905, and 1905-1908. All are leather bound and filled with accounts, business and law notes, and travel logs. The 1885 trifold has Love's book store sticker on front inside cover. All are in very readable condition with some damage and wear to covers.

Louis A. Parson's Metallurgy Trip Diary (1909) is an outstanding item. The diary details visits to the Washoe Smelter of the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. at Anaconda, Montana and to the Boston and Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company Smelter at Great Falls, Montana. The diary includes an index, several drawings, and detailed descriptions of the operations of the smelters.
Louis A. Parsons essays & compositions, 1887-1892 . Originals in Burlington Public Library. In digital form at Iowa Digital Library. (Search under title in the Digital Library)

A two weeks vacation trip from Iowa City, Iowa to Burlington, down the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers, July, 1899. Original in Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries Ms I64io; online at Iowa Digital Library.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Account Book I:  Louis A. Parsons, General Account Book, Burlington, Iowa. Heirs in Law of A. Parsons, &. Louis A. Parsons Accounts, Book No. 1. March - 1896-1905
    4 3/4 x 7 1/2. The page number in the ledger book is indicated by the figure in parentheses.
  • (1) Index
  • (4) Heirs in Law of A. Parsons in account with Louis A. Parsons Agt
  • (40) Louis A. Parsons in account with Louis A. Parsons Agt.F8
  • (58) Mary A. Parsons
  • (72) Ella Vaughn
  • (88) General Cash Account
  • (84) Martha Flanders
  • (56) Board of Education
  • (42, 128, 140) Carl Stutsman agent
  • (138) Mary H. Parsons in acct. with LAP not as agent
  • (128) Carl Stutsman
  • 137) Fire Fund
  • (142) Books loaned
  • Account Book II: Louis Parsons itemized cash account No. 5, August-December - 1905-1908
    A typical cashbook account, documenting the expenses of living for this three year period. These include his paychecks and from whom they came, as well as all his expenses such as gifts, wood, bills, charities, church, etc. 3 1/8 x 5 1/8
  • Account Book III: Louis A. Parsons - 932 Valley Street, Burlington la; Baltimore, MD 314 West Hoffman Street; Box 487 Johns Hopkins - 1899-1900
    Small memorandum volume with graph type paper, written in a close neat hand, includes cash expenses for living, regular expenses include: Street Car, tickets, dinner, maps, sleeping car, storage on baggage, etc.; scientific notations; record of fines; several small graphs (oscillation?); formula for developer solution - notations of Hydrogen, spectra. 5 1/4 x 2 1/4
  • Account Book IV: Albion Parsons Burlington Iowa - 1885-1899
    Various accounts such as Mary H. Parsons as Guardian of Louis A. Parsons minor.
  • Folder
  • Single sheet of paper with accounts, n.d.
  • Printout of the 1856 State Census, Burlington Township; Des Moines County, Iowa

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.