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Thomas William Parsons Correspondence

 Collection — Container: MS C.1.8
Call Number: MS C.1.8

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 50 letters that were written between 1848-1882, mostly to Mrs. And Mr. George Lundt, Thomas William Parsons’s sister and brother-in-law, and cover various subjects including personal matters, the Greek Anthology, his own poetry, and his translation of Dante.


  • 1848-1882
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1938


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas William Parsons was born in Boston in 1819. He attended Boston Latin School for six years, but did not graduate.  In 1836, Parsons and his father sailed to Italy where he first began translating Dante. Parsons returned to Boston in 1837 and studied medicine at Harvard, but again he did not graduate. In 1853, Harvard awarded him an honorary M.A. While Parsons does not allude to having any profession or livelihood, it is known that he practiced dentistry in Boston. Parsons lived in Europe twice: the first time in Italy for a year in 1847 and then in England from 1871-1872. He married Hannah Allen (1921-1888) in 1857. The First Ten Cantos of the Inferno of Dante Alighieri: Newly Translated into English Verse, which Parsons issued privately in 1843, was the earliest published American translation of Dante of any considerable length. In later years he published the Inferno (1867) and a large portion of the Purgatorio. After 1872, Parsons focused only on his literary career and his best-known poem is “On a Bust of Dante.” He died in Scituate, Massachusetts in 1892.


50.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Method of Acquisition

Donated to the Boston Public Library in 1930 by Countess Francesca D’Aulby.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Kimberly Reynolds, September 2014.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

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Thomas William Parsons Correspondence
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