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Guide to the Edward James Parrish papers, 1888-1926 and undated

Summary

Tobacco manufacturer, resident of Durham, North Carolina, and Tokyo, Japan. The papers of Edward James Parrish primarily consist of business and personal papers and correspondence (chiefly 1900-1921) of Parrish and of his wife, Rosa Bryan Parrish. Items include a notebook on tobacco trade in China and Japan (1894-1900), letter books (1900-1904), and a scrapbook created by their only daughter Lily Parrish. Turn-of-the-century photograph albums relate to the Parrishes time in Japan (circa 1899-1905) and form a large series of their own. Two were assembled by Kichibei Murai of the Murai Brothers, a Tokyo cigarette manufacturing company of which Parrish was the first vice-president; they contain photographs of his residences and of banks, mines, oil fields, farms and tobacco factories in which he had an interest. Also included are seven fine souvenir albums with large hand-tinted albumen prints from noted Japanese studios. Also included are photographs and postcards of the Parrish's travels in Japan, Korea, and China, and Mrs. Parrish's reminiscences and impressions of her life in Japan. Family photograph albums and portraits dating from about 1890 to 1920 round out the collection.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00998
Title
Edward James Parrish papers
Date
1888-1926 and undated
Extent
9.2 Linear Feet, Approx. 535 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English and Japanese.

Collection Overview

The Edward James Parrish Papers include business and personal correspondence (chiefly 1900-1921) of Parrish and of his wife, Rosa Bryan Parrish. There are also various bills, a notebook on tobacco trade in China and Japan (1894-1900), letter books (1900-1904), photograph albums, and a scrapbook created by Lily Parrish. The collection also includes materials relating to Kichibei Murai's family and to Murai Brothers Company in Japan. Two of the photographs albums date from the late 19th century and were owned by Kichibei Murai; they contain photographs of his residences and of banks, mines, oil fields, farms and tobacco factories in which he had an interest. Also included are snapshot photographs and albums of the Parrish family's travels in Japan, China, Durham (N.C.), and Niagara Falls, as well as souvenir photographs of Japanese scenery, landscapes, cultural sites and temples, clothing and entertainment, and transportation. Many of the souvenir photographs are handtinted and include captions. The papers also include Rosa Parrish's reminiscences and impressions of her life in Japan, as well as her writings on the status of women.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Edward James Parrish Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1888-1927

The correspondence contains primarily the business correspondence of Edward James Parrish regarding the controlling interest of the American Tobacco Company and its role in the Japanese tobacco firm, Murai Brothers Company. It details the day-to-day business as well as the settling of affairs upon the sale of the Murai Brothers Company to the Japanese government during its creation of a tobacco monopoly. There is a small amount of personal correspondence, mainly celebrating the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Parrish, as well as condolences sent upon Edward Parrish's death.

Related materials can be found in the Volumes series, which contains E.J. Parrish's letterbooks with copies of his outgoing correspondence.

1888-1902
Box 1
1903 Jan-Feb
Box 1
1903 Mar
Box 1
1903 Apr-May
Box 1
1903 June-Dec
Box 1
1904 Jan-June
Box 1
1904 July-Aug
Box 1
1904 Sept-Dec
Box 1
1905
Box 1
1915-1919
Box 1
1899-1904

Oversize.

Box 4
1909-1927
Box 1
1900-1923

Correspondence of Mrs. Parrish.

Box 2

Letter Books, 1900-1909

Parrish's letter books with carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence, largely based in Durham, N.C., or Tokyo, Japan. These books contain many details about the state of the tobacco trade in Japan, lawsuits and patents regarding recipes and manufacturing procedures, the everyday business affairs of the Murai Brothers Company and the American Tobacco Company, as well as the steps taken to dissolve the Murai Brothers Company and American Tobacco Company's interest in it after Murai Brothers was purchased by the Japanese government.

Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1900 Jan. 17-Sept. 25
Volume L:5686
Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1900 Oct. 4-1901 Aug. 27
Volume L:5687
Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1901, Aug. 28-1902 Aug. 4
Volume F:5688
Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1902 June 24-1904 Oct. 18
Volume L:5689
Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1902 Aug. 11-1903 Dec. 16
Volume F:5690
Letter book, 1903-1904

Volume measuring 10 x 13.75, re: Murai Bros. and American Tobacco.

Box 10
Letter book, Durham, N.C. and Tokyo, Japan, 1904 Sept. 26-Dec. 2
Volume L:5691
Letter book, "Private," for Capt. E.J. Parrish, 1905-1907
Box 29
Letter book, 1909
Box 30
Letter book, "Private," for E.J. Parrish, 1907 Mar. 11-1909 Mar. 26
Box 30

2. Legal Papers, Financial Documents, and Business Documents, 1899-1947

The bulk of this series comprises documents related to the Murai Brothers Company in Japan, and includes information on tobacco manufacture and purchase, details on the Japanese tobacco factories, and general business practices. There are also a few personal financial documents.

1899 Mar 25-1909 Jan
Box 2
1911 Mar 20-1928
Box 2
Murai Brothers, 1900-1904
(3 folders)
Box 2
Personal Financial Documents, 1908-1947 and undated
Box 2
Bryan and Walker pocket ledger, undated

Includes entries on Moore and Schlery accounts.

Box 30
E.J. Parrish bank account book with Fidelity Bank, Durham, 1912-1915
Box 30
Notebook on Tobacco Trade with China and Japan, 1894-1900

Leather-bound volume, 6 x 9 inches, author unknown. Largely empty, but includes notes on sales, brands, and types of tobacco sold in Asia in the late nineteenth century.

Box 9
Cigarette and Tobacco Manufacturing Procedures and Formulas, undated
Box 3
Brief History of the Tobacco Tax in Japan, undated

Manuscript.

Box 3
Statements of Manufacturers, Murai Bros Co. Limited, Kyoto Factory, 1902
Box 3
The Informations Required, Tokyo Factory, undated

Questionnaire with answers.

Box 3
Tobacco Manufacture and Purchase, 1902 and undated
Box 3
Osaka Gas Company, 1903
Box 3
Murai Brothers, undated
Box 3
E.J. Parrish Lots with Prices, 1911 Aug. 4

Volume, measuring 8.5 x 13, with handwritten details about Parrish's lots and account settlements. Includes typescript index in the front of the volume.

Box 3
Realty sale poster
Oversize-folder 1
E.J. Parrish "Ledger No. 1" account book, 1900s

Account book with real estate, farm, and lumber accounts. Includes Trinity College, Parrish Place, West Durham Land Co., as well as other Durham companies. Loose inserts, receipts, and account slips laid in. Also includes pedigree applications for different horses tipped into the front.

Box 29
North East Land Company account book for E.J. Parrish real estate projects, 1917
Box 29

3. Personal Documents, 1899-1921 and undated

Series contains certificates, travel documents, clippings, and various personal writings. Of particular interest is a piece by Rosa Parrish in which she details her impressions of Japan and Japanese culture, as well as fragments, presumably by Mrs. Parrish as well, that discuss the role of women and the advancement of their rights in government and society.

Ancient Free Masons Master Mason Certificate, 1899 February 27
Box 3
Certificates and travel documents, 1899 and undated
Box 3
Clippings, 1900s and undated
Box 3
Impressions of Japanese by Rosa Parrish, circa 1905-1920
Box 3
Personal receipts, 1920-1921
Box 3
Printed materials, 1905-1920 and undated
Box 3
Miscellaneous writings, undated
Box 3
Parrish family coat of arms, undated

Oversize.

Box 4
Parrish family genealogy, undated
Box 3
Popular cook book, 1899

Incomplete copy. Missing several pages.

Box 3
Recipe: "War Cake," undated
Box 3
Writings (Japanese), undated
Box 3
Writings on women's rights, 1900s

Presumably those of Rosa Parrish.

Box 3
Medal, undated
Box 12
In Memoriam: Nannie Graham Carr, 1915

Bound volume printed in memory of Nannie Graham Carr (1838-1915), wife of industrialist Julian Carr of Durham.

Box 8
Miscellaneous papers and notes relating to Sunday School (some on Lyon Company Tobacco letterhead), undated
Box 31

4. Photographs, 1883-early 1900s and undated

The photographs include Parrish family photographs, photographs from their time in Japan, and photographs of two of their Durham estates (both of which are no longer standing). A number of the photographs are housed with the oversize material.

Original glass plate negatives are closed to use. Contact Research Services with questions about these items.

Japanese portraits, undated
Box 3
Family photographs, early 1900s and undated
(2 folders)
Box 3
Portraits of E.J. Parrish, undated
Box 3
Lochmoor estate, early 1900s
Box 3
Old Wright home, 1883 and undated

Includes clippings about history of the estate.

Box 3
Parrish family portraits, undated

Oversize.

Box 4
Photographs, undated

Oversize photographs.

Box 4
Glass plate negatives, circa 1899-1905

Glass plate negatives, measuring 4 x 5 inches. Images depict the Parrish family in Japan. Caption list (incomplete) included, created by Mrs. Parrish.

Original glass plate negatives are closed to use. Contact Research Services with questions about these items.

Box 27
Glass plate negatives, circa 1899-1905

Glass plate negatives measuring 4 x 5 inches. Images depict the Parrish family in Japan.

Original glass plate negatives are closed to use. Contact Research Services with questions about these items.

Box 28
Original box for the glass plate negatives

Sample of original box used to house the glass plate negatives. Includes signature of Mrs. E.J. Parrish.

Box 28
Albums of pictures of Japanese houses, photos
Oversize-folder 2

5. Photograph Albums and Scrapbooks, 1890s-1910s

Series comprises bound and disbound albums created and collected by the Parrish family largely during their time in Japan from about 1899 to 1905.

Three of the photograph albums contain black-and-white photographs depicting the Japanese estates and staff of Kichibei Murai, of the Murai Brothers Company, and may have been given as a gift to the Parrishes as a souvenir of their stay, or assembled by the Parrish family from photographs they took or had taken.

Seven of the albums are of the kind commercially produced and sold to tourists, and contain large hand-colored albumen photographs taken by well-known Japanese photographers of the time. The traditional tourist scenes feature city views, mountain and coastal landscapes, parks with lotus ponds and cherry blossoms, cultural and historic sites, agricultural and business enterprises, and portraits of Japanese men and women in native dress, including rickshaw owners, geishas, artisans, farmers, children, and wrestlers. Many of these albums were probably assembled from photographic prints chosen by the Parrishes, but some may have been pre-assembled by the studio.

The Parrish family's personal photograph albums include black-and-white snapshots and formal portraits taken by family members and friends during the family's travels to Japan, North Carolina, Niagara Falls, and other unidentified places. There are also a few large-format colorized photographs.

A scrapbook rounds out the collection of albums, and was contains calling cards and other memorabilia related to Lilly Parrish (d. 1948), the wife of President Flowers of Duke and only daughter of Edward James and Rosa Parrish.

Lily Parrish scrapbook, circa 1890-1910

This scrapbook measuring 8 x 11 inches was originally titled "Scrapbook of Mrs. E. J. Parrish," but may have been assembled by her daughter Lilly as it contains Miss Parrish's calling cards, notes, clippings, memorabilia, and collected souvenirs. Handwritten notes and captions are occasionally included.

Box 5
Kichibei Murai postcard album, 1898-1900

Souvenir volume labeled Postkarten Album 1915, 8 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches holds captioned postcards of Japan and Korea, including office buildings, street scenes, coal mines, and other scenery.

Box 7
Photograph album with scenes of Kichibei Murai's house and grounds, circa 1899-1905

Cloth-covered volume bound accordion-style, measures 6 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, and includes albumen photographs of Kichibei Murai's home and grounds in Tokyo, Oiso, and Kyoto. Some loose prints are inserted in the back of the volume. May have been given by Murai as a gift to the Parrish family in remembrance of their stay in Japan. It is also possible the Parrish family took the pictures and assembled the album.

Box 6
Photograph album featuring Kichibei Murai's residences in Japan, circa 1899-1905

Cloth covers and accordion-style binding, measuring 6 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches and housing photographs of Murai's estate and interiors. There is some duplication between prints in this album and the other Murai albums.

Box 26
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, circa 1899-1905

Bound album with dark lacquer covers measuring approximately 11 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches and containing large hand-tinted albumen photographs. Locales include Nikko and Hakone. The style and known negative numbers indicate that this album likely was created by the Kajima Sebei studio. A few images have been attributed by an expert to Kazuma Ogawa.

Box 13
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, circa 1899-1905

Bound album with fine cloth covers, measuring approximately 11 x 14 inches and containing large hand-tinted albumen photographs. Includes images from Kyoto, Nikko, Tokyo, Nara, Nagasaki, and Saikio, often with English captions. From all indications this album likely was created by the Kajima Sebei studio, but there are also a few photographs attributed to other photographers such as Kazuma Ogawa, Kusakabei Kimbei, and Y. Isawa. There are also a number of untitled, unnumbered images.

Box 14
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, 1899

Bound album with inlayed dark lacquer covers, measuring approximately 11.5 x 15.5 inches and larger than the other albums in this collection, containing about 60 large hand-colored albumen photographs mounted one to a page. The album spine is stamped, "Photographs, 1899." The larger inlay pieces are missing.

As with other albums, there are traditional scenes of cherry blossoms, gardens, cultural sites, and landscapes. There are many portraits of Japanese men and women in traditional poses. Locales include Yokohama, Tokyo, Hakone, Fujiyama, Yamoto, and Kyoto. Includes many handwritten captions in English. Almost all the prints appear on commercial lists from Kusakabe Kimbei's studio.

Box 15
Souvenir photograph album with images of Japanese culture, circa 1899-1905

Bound album with inlayed red lacquer covers measuring approximately 11 x 14 1/2 inches and containing large hand-tinted albumen photographs. The first photo is a large mounted black-and-white print of a party of men and women, with the Parrish family among them, taken at a well-known tourist location in front of a giant Buddha sculpture.

As with other albums, scenes feature traditional Japanese souvenir images such as cherry blossoms, geishas, mountains, street scenes, and farmers. There are indications that this album may have been produced by the Farsari studio.

Box 16
Volume in Japanese, including hand-colored illustrations, undated

Cloth-covered accordian-style binding, measuring 7.5 x 10 inches. Appears to be an illustrated narrative.

Box 17
Volume in Japanese, including hand-colored illustrations, undated

Cloth-covered accordian-style binding, measuring 10 x 14.5 inches. Appears to be an illustrated narrative.

Box 18
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, circa 1899-1905

Bound album with red lacquer covers that feature a framed, embedded photographic image of a sailboat on a mountain lake. The album measures approximately 11.5 x 15.5 inches and contains large hand-colored albumen photographs. In addition, the first photograph is a black-and-white personal souvenir print of a large party of foreigners, among them the Parrish family.

Traditional scenes include gardens, cultural sites, landscapes, and portraits of Japanese in traditional poses, with English captions. There are indications that the photographs may be from the Farsari studio.

Box 19
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, circa 1899-1905

Embroidered cloth-covered album bound accordion-style, measuring 11 x 14 inches and containing large albumen photographs, hand-colored and one black-and-white. Many of the photographs are of the same traditional tourist scenes as in other albums. It opens up with a long series of city scenes from Osaka; other locales include Kyoto and Sanjusagendo. Most of the photographs bear English captions.

The style of the images seems to indicate the work of one photographer, with a few prints by others mixed in. One print, number 266, is attributed by an expert to Kusakabe Kimbei and several others closely resemble his style; however, the attribution of this album to his studio is currently uncertain.

Box 20
Souvenir photograph album with images from Japan, circa 1899-1905

Embroidered cloth-bound volume - with same fabric pattern as another album in the collection - measures approximately 11 1/2 x 14 1/4 inches, and contains large hand-tinted albumen photographs with traditional tourist trade subjects such as tea houses, geishas, flowers and gardens, and farmers.

Many of the prints appear on Kajima Sebei's studio print lists. The source of the other images is uncertain, but there are a large number whose style resembles Kusakabe Kimbei's work. One print has been attributed to the amateur photographer Isawa.

Box 23
Scrapbook album of family photographs taken in Japan and China, 1901-1903

Cloth-bound album (original embroidered cover removed; plain woven cover remains) measuring approximately 11.25 x 14.5 inches. The pages are mounted with small-format black-and-white snapshots and other family photographs; there are also two large prints of street scenes that may have been taken by the Parrish family and then enlarged and colorized by a Japanese studio. Many pages bear handwritten captions.

Box 21
Rosa Parrish's postcard album (postcards have been removed and housed separately)
Box 30
Rosa Parrish's postcards, 1890s-1900s

Assorted postcards removed for preservation puruposed from their original album and loosely arranged according to depicted location. A large portion originate from Japan, and feature Japanese scenery, artistic greetings, and images from the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Other countries represented include Switzerland, New Zealand, Korea, Czechoslovakia, China, Wales, England, Canada, and Australia. U.S. locations include North Carolina, New York, California, Hawaii, Utah, and others.

Box 31
Untitled album of Parrish family photographs, circa 1899-1905

Album with cloth binding, measuring 10 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches. Almost all photographs of the Parrish family in Japan, with some loose photographs laid in. Some prints are duplicate images from other albums in the collection. There are no captions preswent.

Box 11
Untitled album of Parrish family photographs taken in Japan, circa 1899-1905

The cloth-covered bound volume measures approximately 11 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches and contains small-format black-and-white family snapshots and some larger souvenir photographs, including some that duplicate those in other albums. Images are not captioned, but appear to be from Japan, China, Niagara Falls, and Durham.

Box 22
Untitled album of Parrish family photographs, circa 1899-1910

Album with cloth binding and broken spine, measuring 6 1/2 x 8 inches. Contains personal photographs of the Parrish family, including E. J., Rosa, and Lilly Parrish, largely taken in Japan.

Box 24
Untitled album of Parrish family photographs, circa 1899-1910

Embroidered cloth-covered, disbound album, measuring 6 1/2 x 8 inches. Contains hand-tinted souvenir photographs as well as Parrish family photographs. Most of the photographs were taken while the family was in Japan.

Box 25
Blueprints of Japan, land surveys, undated

Includes hand-painted blueprints of Tokyo and land surveys from the West Durham Land Company.

Oversize-folder 3
 

Historical Note

Edward J. Parrish (1846-1920) and Rosa Bryan Parrish (1852-1927) were residents of Durham, N.C., and traveled to Japan and China in connection with Parrish's work as a representative for American Tobacco and the British-American Tobacco Company. During his successful operations in Japan establishing a tobacco market, Parrish had conferred upon him by the Emperor of Japan the "Third Order of Honor," and was decorated with the "Medal of Sacred Treasure." Parrish was born in Pound Hill, in what was then Orange County, N.C., in 1846. He attended Trinity College, and served for a short time in Company "K," 4th N.C. Cavalry, in the last year of the Civil War. He married Rosa Bryan in 1870 and moved to Durham around 1871 to establish a grocery and confectionery store. He then became a tobacco auctioneer, and built the first brick tobacco warehouse in Durham in 1879 (later destroyed by fire). The Parrish family's primary home in Durham before moving to Japan in 1898 was a large Second Empire structure on Main and Dillard; upon his early retirement around 1904, he remodeled "Lochmoor," on North Roxboro Road (both residences were later demolished).

Source: USGenWeb Archives, online biography by Leonard Wilson, first published in 1916.

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Provenance

The Edward James Parrish Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as gifts, purchases, and transfers from 1941 to 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, 2015.

Encoded by Paula Jeannet and Elizabeth Shesko, May 2014; updated by Janice Hansen and Meghan Lyon, 2015.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1941, 56-606, 9-19-1973, 1-15-1982, 4-4-1987