Alexander Parris Papers Collection (1823-1851) at the State Library

Manuscript Collection 2


The State Library of Massachusetts’s Alexander Parris Papers, spanning the years from 1823 to 1851, document the final period of the architect's career. The bulk of the papers relate to his active involvement with engineering projects for the U.S. Navy; projects such as Boon Island, Execution Rock, Matinicus Rock, Minot's Ledge, Monhegan, Mt. Desert Rock, Saddleback Ledge, Thacher's Island, York Ledge, Black Rock Beacon, and the seawall construction at Rainsford Island are all represented in this collection in either correspondence, specifications, reports, or accounts.

Alexander Parris (1780-1852) was an architect and engineer from Massachusetts who designed several of Boston’s most prominent early 19th-century buildings. Parris, and the architects who trained under him, are also responsible for significant structures from Maine to Virginia, including many at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Alexander Parris Calling Card Image






The collection includes correspondence, financial documents, and professional and legal documents, arranged in three series:

Series I: Correspondence, 1823-1851
    Subseries A: Outgoing, 1829-1851
    Subseries B: Incoming, 1823-1851
    Subseries C: Third-Party, 1831-1843

Series II: Financial Records, 1834-1851

Series III: Professional and Legal Documents, 1827-1849
    Subseries A: Specifications and Descriptions, 1927-1947
    Subseries B: Contracts, Certificates, and Bonds, 1936-1945
    Subseries C: Other Documents, 1939-1945

Alexander Parris Image


Additional Resources

Contact   for Alexander Parris Papers Collection (1823-1851) at the State Library


Open M-F 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Open M-F 9 a.m.–5 p.m. *Advance appointments are strongly recommended


(617) 727-9730


Main Library
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Room 341, Boston, MA 02133
Special Collections Department
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Room 55, Boston, MA 02133

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