George A. Parker Photograph Album

A prominent member of the Massachusetts Agricultural College Class of 1876, George A. Parker (1853-1926) began a career in landscape gardening and park development shortly after graduation. As Superintendent of Parks in Hartford, Conn., at the turn of the twentieth century he helped to develop Colt Park and a number of smaller properties that turned the city into a model for New England. He resigned from his post in January 1926 and died later that year from heart disease.

The Parker Album is a more extensive version of the standard class album for 1876, featuring not only albumen portraits of faculty and students mounted on thick stock, but almost fifty views of campus. Among these are uncommon images of the major academic buildings, the chapel, and hash house, but also interior and exterior shots of buildings on campus, including the Botanical Museum and the Durfee greenhouses, and images of students in military drill. All photographs were taken by John L. Lovell of Amherst.

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Background on George A. Parker

The giant squash

The giant squash

A member of the sixth graduating class at Massachusetts Agricultural College, George Amos Parker enjoyed a distinguished career in landscape gardening and park management. Born in Fitzwilliam, N.H., on April 28, 1853, and graduating from Mass. Agricultural College in 1876, Parker rose through a succession of positions as gardener, including stints as head gardener at Vassar College (1876-1879), Superintendent of the Cliffdale estate in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (1879-1882), and Superintendent of Ophir Farm in White Plains, NY (1882), which was considered one of the premier model farms in the nation.

After working in private practice as a landscape gardener in Baltimore and Cleveland (1882-1884) and at the Old Colony Railroad, Parker landed in Hartford, Conn., where he spent decades as Director of Keney Park and later as Superintendent of Public Parks and City Forester. His efforts in developing Colt Park, in particular, and several smaller properties transformed the city into a model for New England.

A member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and many other professional organizations, Parker became a prominent figure in promoting public parks. He was a noted collector of literature on the subject, amassing what was cited by Who's Who in New England (1916) as the largest collection of its kind in the world. Parker married Jannie Waterman Richmond at Chesterfield, Mass., on Dec. 6, 1876, with whom he had two sons. He died in Halifax, Mass., in 1926.

Contents of Collection

Assembled for George A. Parker as he approached graduation from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1876, this photograph album is an exceptional example of the genre and superb visual documentation of the early campus at the college. Consisting of ninety albumen prints mounted on card stock, all by local Amherst photographer John L. Lovell, the album contains signed portraits of all members of the faculty and graduating class wedded to an almost equal number of views of the buildings and landscape at Mass Aggie at a time when the infrastructure was still rudimentary. Among the images are rare interior views of South College and the Chemistry Building (also known as College Hall), shots of the graduating class in military gear, and two images William Smith Clark's famed squash experiment, in which he attempted to measure the force exerted by a growing vegetable.

Collection inventory
President William Smith Clark
1876
1
Professor Henry Hill Goodell
1876
2
Professor Charles A. Goessmann
1876
3
Professor H. W. Parker
1876
4
Professor Peabody
1876
5
Professor W. B. Graves
1876
6
Lt. Merrill
1876
7
Lt. C. H. L. Totten
1876
8
Professor Noah Cressey
1876
9
Professor H. James Clark
1876
10
Professor S. T. Maynard
1876
11
Head Farmer,John C. Dillon
1876
12
David A. Bagley
1876
13
John Bellamy
1876
14
Darius O. Chickering
1876
15
C. Fred Deuel
1876
16
George W. Guild
1876
17
Joseph M. Hawley
1876
18
Hiram Kendall
1876
19
Thomas H. Ladd
1876
20
George H. Mann
1876
21
William E. Martin
1876
22
Charles W. McConnell
1876
23
MacLeod, William A.
1876
24
George A. Parker
1876
25
George L. Parker
1876
26
Charles H. Phelps
1876
27
William H. Porter
1876
28
William S. Potter
1876
29
Joseph E. Root
1876
30
John M. Sears
1876
31
Thomas E. Smith
1876
32
Cyrus A. Taft
1876
33
George P. Urner
1876
34
Howard G. Wetmore
1876
35
John E. Williams
1876
36
Class of 1876, sophomore year
1876
37
Amherst College
1876
38
Map of College Farm
1876
40
President William Smith Clark
1876
44
Durfee Plant House
1876
49
Durfee Plant House: Octagon room
1876
50
Durfee Plant House: View in Octagon Room
1876
51
Durfee Plant House: View in Octagon Room
1876
52
Durfee Plant House: View in Octagon Room
1876
53
Durfee Plant House: Lily house
1876
54
Durfee Plant House: Stove house
1876
55
Durfee Plant House: Cactus house
1876
56
Durfee Plant House: Camelia house
1876
57
Durfee Plant House: Propagating pit
1876
58
Chapel Building: Chemistry weighing room
1876
68
Plans of barns
1876
86

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Gift of Charles A. Parker, Sept. 1915.

Digitized content

Several images in the album have been digitized and are available online in Credo.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2017.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: George A. Parker Photograph Album (RG 130/P37). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Link to similar SCUA collections

Names

  • Lovell, J. L. (John Lyman), 1825-1903
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College--Photographs

Genre terms

  • Albumen prints
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs