Ely Samuel Parker Papers

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Ely Samuel Parker papers
Creator: Parker, Ely Samuel, 1828-1895
Call Number: A.P24
Dates: 1846-1924
Physical Description: 0.23 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Revision Information
Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Legal and financial business
Series III: Items removed from The Life of General Ely S. Parker
Series IV: Printed material
Series V: Leather-bound notebooks
Series VI: Photographs
Collection Overview
Title: Ely Samuel Parker papers
Creator: Parker, Ely Samuel, 1828-1895
Call Number: A.P24
Dates: 1846-1924
Physical Description: 0.23 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Ely Samuel Parker was born a member of the Seneca Indian tribe in 1828; his first tribal name was Hasanowanda ('The Reader'). His family had originally adopted the Parker name for use when dealing with the white settlers in the area. His father was a Tonawanda Seneca chief and a veteran of the War of 1812; his mother was descended from an Iroquois prophet.

Parker received his early education from Baptist missionaries on the Seneca reservation; he later enrolled for a time at Rochester High School. He quit school at age 18 and devoted his time to furthering Indian affairs in Washington, D.C. During this period, he came to know Lewis Henry Morgan, and helped aid Morgan in his work League of the Iroquois, one of the first studies of an Indian tribe. In 1852, Parker became the sachem of his tribe and adopted the tribal name Donehogawa, or 'Keeper of the Western Door of the Long House of the Iroquois'. In the late 1850s, Parker studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and began to work for the federal government, supervising public works projects. During one such project he befriended a local clerk, Ulysses S. Grant.

Parker attempted to join the Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, but could not be released from his construction duties until 1862; even then, he could not get an Army commission due to his Indian heritage. He was finally commissioned as a captain of engineers in 1863, and later that year he became a staff officer under Grant; Grant appointed Parker his military secretary the next year. Parker was present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 where he took down Grant's dictation concerning the surrender orders, as he was the only person in the room calm enough to write. Parker remained as Grant's military secretary through 1869, eventually ascending to the brevet rank of brigadier-general. He married Minnie Sackett on December 25, 1867.

Parker was one of Grant's first political appointments when he became President. Parker was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs on April 13, 1869. During his tenure in officer, Parker sought to work both for the United States government and the Indians he represented; however, his attempts to bring justice to various tribes over land deals and treaties earned him many enemies in the process. He was accused of defrauding the government and was tried by the House of Representatives in February 1871. Although he was exonerated of all charges, Parker resigned from office and went into business in New York City. He did well in business; later in life, he held various positions within the New York City Police Department. He died on August 31, 1895. Two years later, his remains were reinterred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, N.Y. on land that had once belonged to the Seneca tribe.

Scope and Content
The Ely Samuel Parker Papers are comprised of one box containing mostly manuscript material, including approximately 30 letters to or from Ely Parker; legal and business material; two leather notebooks from the 1850s and 1860s; and some items that were removed in January 1972 from the extra-illustrated volume The Life of General Ely S. Parker by Arthur C. Parker.

Subject(s):
Iroquois Indians
Seneca Indians
Indians of North America
American Civil War (1861-1865)
Correspondence
Parker, Ely Samuel, 1828-1895
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was purchased February 1936; other material received from Mrs. Robert Vail. Added material (last 2 items in folder 5) purchased in August, 2010.Access
The Ely Samuel Parker papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Ely Samuel Parker papers, A.P24, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Revision Information
2018-02: EAD Revision

Content List
Series I: Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 11846-1854
Box 1, Folder 21855-1880
Box 1, Folder 3Undated, 1881-1924
Series II: Legal and financial business
Box 1, Folder 41852-1861, undated
Series III: Items removed from The Life of General Ely S. Parker
Box 1, Folder 5 Items removed from The Life of General Ely S. Parker
Card of General & Mrs. Grant addressed to Col. E.S. Parker
Photograph of Ely S. Parker's Master Mason certificate
Article of agreement, October 7, 1856
Lease for sawmill

Notes on scratch paper headed "September - Bills Payable"
Envelope addressed to Mr. A.J. Curtis
buffalo_express_undated'>Newspaper clipping:"Mrs. Huyler's Gift" from the Buffalo Express, undated
Newspaper clipping: "A Fading Remnant", dated May 9, year unknown
Manuscript note on Giles B. Cooke
Envelope addressed to William I. Wilgus
Clipped signature of Reverend Asher Wright
Photographs of Laura Parker Doctor, 1915
Photograph of Spirit Lake
Tintype of Nicholson H. Parker and children, 1866
Document signed by E.S. Parker, giving Brevet Brig. General H.L. Abbott a leave of absence, January 26, 1865.
Albumen photograph of Parker sitting.
Series IV: Printed material
Box 1, Folder 61865-1939
Series V: Leather-bound notebooks
Box 1, Folder 7Ely S. Parker, Alabama, Genesee County, New York, Record and Memoranda
Box 1, Folder 7Ely S. Parker, Custom House, Galena, Illinois, Marine Hospital, Galena, Illinois
Series VI: Photographs
Box 1, Folder 8Ely S. Parker


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