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Albert Eide Parr papers

Identifier: Mss .P371-.P375

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains a wide variety of documents pertaining to Albert E. Parr, particularly during his tenure as Museum Director (1942-1959). Additionally, the collection also hosts a large collection of his original publications, as well as an assortment of newspaper clippings, receipts, meeting minutes, drafts of speeches, and correspondence.


  • 1933-1935, 1942-1980


Access Conditions and Restrictions Note

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical Note

Albert Eide Parr, an oceanographer and ichthyologist, was director of the American Museum of Natural History from 1942 to 1959. Parr was born (1900) in Bergen, Norway, went to sea during school and college vacations, studied zoology, and was appointed assistant in the Norway Bureau of Fisheries while an undergraduate. In 1926, Parr came to the United States, worked at the New York Aquarium, and in 1927 was invited by Harry Payne Bingham to serve as naturalist on an expedition to the Caribbean. The fishes collected, including over 100 new species, were eventually housed at Yale University, and the Bingham Oceanographic Laboratory was established with Parr as curator. More expeditions followed, offering Parr the opportunity to study the Sargasso Sea and chart the origins of the Gulf Stream. In 1931, Parr began a career at Yale, eventually becoming professor of oceanography, research associate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and director of the Peabody Museum. During his term as director of the AMNH, Parr faced the need to retrench during wartime and contract the museum's research geographically. He focused on ecology and education, emphasizing the interrelationship of human beings and natural forces, and defining the museum's mission as attracting and maintaining the interest of the public. Parr was the first director of the AMNH to resign in order to pursue research, becoming senior scientist after fifteen years in administration. He founded and served as the managing editor of the journal published by the Sears Foundation for Marine Research, continued his work on classifying fishes and studying ocean currents, and lectured for the American Association of Museums and UNESCO. Parr died in 1991


3.25 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquistion Note

Box 2 (.P372) was transferred to the archives from the Office of Public Affairs in 1993. Box 4 (.P374) is made up of documents “found in a closet near the auditorium,” in 1998. Boxes 5-8 were “found in a found in a closet” at an unknown time

Condition Note

Good to Fragile

Physical Description Note

Organized into eight boxes, the contents of which include publications, newspaper clippings, receipts, handwritten notes, photographs and negatives, bound notebooks and typed correspondence.

Albert Eide Parr papers, 1933-1935, 1942-1980
Schuyler Volz
October 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Finding aid created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420