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Susan Parry volumes


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Dr. Susan Parry was born December 10, 1826, to Charles Parry (1785-1842) and Phebe Fell (1807-1872) in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She had a younger sister Helena Parry (1829-1854) and a younger brother George Parry (1838-1880). Susan had another sister Rachel Parry who died before her first birthday. Susan Parry was raised as a Quaker member of the Society of Friends and she taught in Lumberville, Pennsylvania at the Lumberville School in the late 1840s.

In 1858, she graduated from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (renamed the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania around 1867), the first medical school in the world established to train women and offer them the M.D., which was founded in 1850. While finishing up medical school she wrote a thesis “A Disquisition on Hygiene.” After graduating she lived in with her family and then in boarding houses in Philadelphia before moving to Doylestown around 1880. She never married. She practiced medicine in Bucks County until she died in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on February 12, 1890 at the age of 63. She left her estate to her niece Helena Parry and her nephew William A. Parry. Susan is buried in the Buckingham Friends Cemetery in Lahaska, Bucks County.

There are two volumes and one box in this collection. The first volume is a notebook, entitled “S. Parry’s Book of Recipes," started in 1873, in which she described diseases, prescription recipes, treatment procedures, and a few homeopathic remedies. This recipe book was used during Parry’s work as a doctor in Pennsylvania. There are sections on obstetrics and diseases of women, skin diseases, instructions on how to give hypodermic injections, poisons, diseases in children, yellow fever, snake bites, cholera, and others. The volume also has small annotations of addresses of patients and acquaintances. There are also some short observations on patients and their treatments. The recipe book has numbered pages with some blank sections and a handwritten index in the back that Susan created. Tucked into the volume was an 1849 letter removed to Box 1, Folder 1, from the Lumberville School where Parry taught as a young woman.

The second volume is a scrapbook of clippings, mostly poetry and printed illustrations, which also includes several loose sheets, all of which have been arranged in Box 1, notably manuscript essays by Parry on Robert Burns, Shakespeare, and other authors. On the inside cover is written “Susan Parry, Phila-1856”, which is during the time when Susan attended the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. In addition to the clippings of different stories, poems, and essays that are pasted into the scrapbook, there is one handwritten poem dedicated to Susan’s parents, Charles and Phebe Parry. The clippings appear to date from the late 1800s. In Box 1, Folder 2, there is a handwritten index for the entire scrapbook that Susan created and dated March 25, 1888, two years before she died.

The two volumes are currently in conservation. If you would like to access them please reach out to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania regarding their status.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Annie Halliday.
Finding Aid Date
; 2018.
Processing made possible by a generous donation from the Young Friends of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Susan Parry scrapbook, 1856-1911.
Volume 2
Susan Parry recipe book, 1877-1881.
Volume 1
Letter from Lumberville School to Susan Parry, April 17, 1849.
Box 1 Folder 1
Handwritten index for scrapbook, March 25, 1888.
Box 1 Folder 2

Loose items removed from page 17 of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 3
Loose items removed from page 23 of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 5
Loose item removed from pages 33-34 of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 6
Loose items removed from back of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 7
Loose manuscript essays by Susan Parry, removed from back of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 8
Loose writings removed from back of scrapbook.
Box 1 Folder 9

Print, Suggest