Albert Eide Parr papers
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
- Parr, Albert Eide, 1900-1991 (Person)
Access Conditions and Restrictions Note
Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.
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
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.
- American Museum of Natural History -- History-Sources
- City Planning
- Education -- Museums
- Ichthyologists -- United States -- Correspondence
- Manuscript Collection
- Museum directors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Correspondence
- Natural history museum curators
- Oceanographers -- United States -- 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.