The Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782) served as the first minister of Westborough, Massachusetts, from 1724 until his death. Throughout his ministry, he kept records for the church, made regular entries in his diary, wrote sermons, kept up an extensive correspondence, and served as clerk of the Marlborough Association of Ministers. Parkman’s extensive extant manuscripts, only some of which have been published, and the records of the town of Westborough provide one of the most complete pictures of life in a rural New England town during the colonial period.
This website attempts to centralize access to all of Parkman’s extant writings and provide resources for researching and understanding both his work and place in America’s colonial history.
Works by Rev. Ebenezer Parkman
- Parkman Diary – Parkman kept a detailed diary of his life from 1719 until his death in 1782. This blog brings together all of his extant diary entries and makes them completely searchable for the first time using diary transcriptions by Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr. (Professor Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross).
- Sermons – Parkman delivered sermons in Westborough and surrounding towns throughout his career. An index created by Prof. Ross W. Beales to the sermons is currently available. This section of the website will grow as sermons are digitized and become available.
- Westborough Church Records – Parkman kept meticulous church records while serving as Westborough’s minister; the remarkable ledger he kept is one of the most valuable documents of its kind to survive from the eighteenth century.
- Marlborough Association of Ministers Records – Transcription by Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr.
- Miscellaneous Writings – Miscellaneous writings both by Parkman and relating to Parkman.
- Parkman Manuscript Holdings – Information about where Parkman manuscript holdings are located.
Contexts and Resources
- Resources for Researching Parkman and Westborough – Links to resources for exploring more about Parkman and Westborough.
- The People of Westborough during Parkman’s Time – Biographical information, transcribed relations and confessions, and other documents that provide context for understanding the interactions between Parkman and Westborough inhabitants.
- Scholarship on Parkman – Articles written by Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr., as well as information about other prominent scholarship about Parkman.
- Works By and Relating to the Parkman Family – Information about Parkman’s family, including diary transcriptions of his daughter and son.
About this Project
Managed by the Westborough Center for History and Culture at the Westborough Public Library, The Ebenezer Parkman Project is a unique collaborative effort on the part of the Westborough Public Library, the Congregational Library’s New England’s Hidden Histories, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts to digitize, transcribe, and make accessible the remarkable writings of the most eminent clergyman in central Massachusetts.
The work of Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr., who has dedicated much of his academic career to studying Parkman, sits at the core of this project. His transcription of Parkman’s 4000-page diary is the heart of the project, and his transcriptions of other works by Parkman and his research on the people who lived in Westborough during Parkman’s time help to fill out the body of this website, which is rich in content about Westborough and colonial life in rural New England.
Parkman’s church records, sermons, and miscellaneous papers–both digitized and transcribed–are presented online at our partner institution, New England’s Hidden Histories.
Dr. Ross W. Beales, Jr. (Professor Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross), Dr. James F. Cooper (Director, New England’s Hidden Histories), and Dr. Anthony T. Vaver (Local History Librarian, Westborough Public Library) together direct The Ebenezer Parkman Project.