M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

ARCHIVES OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Finding Aid for the
Hinsdill Parsons Papers

(APAP-293)

Finding Aid Compiled by
Michelle Scott, March 2009



For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3935



 
 
 
 
 
 

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935


VOLUME: 2 cubic ft.

ACQUISITION: These documents were discovered in the Parsons' previous residence at 21 Front Street, Schenectady. Upon the death of Hinsdill Parsons' wife, Jessie Burchard Parsons, in 1951, this residence and its contents were bequeathed to Saint George's Episcopal Church, 28 North Ferry Street, Schenectady. Saint George's sold the house in 1989, and in 2000, a Mr. Kevin Decker wrote Dr. Gerald Zahavi, University at Albany Professor of History, to inform him of the existence of these documents. All items in this manuscript group were transferred to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, in 2006.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the head of Special Collections and Archives.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Series Description

Box and Folder List:


Hinsdill Parsons
Biographical Sketch

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Hinsdill Parsons, Esq. was born on February 10, 1864 in Hoosick Falls, New York, the son of J. Russell Parsons. One of five sons, he attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, graduating in 1884. While in college, Parsons joined Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Psi fraternities. He attended Albany Law School and graduated in 1885; he was admitted to the New York State Bar in the same year. In September 1889, he married Jessie Mary Burchard in Hoosick Falls, NY. In the same year, Parsons also became patent attorney for the Walter A. Wood Harvester Company in Hoosick Falls, of which his father was an incorporator. He worked there until he left for Schenectady to serve as General Counsel for the General Electric Company in 1894. In May, 1901, he was given control of General Electric’s legal affairs and was elected vice-president of the company. At this time, Parsons was also elected President of the Schenectady Railroad Company. During his tenure with General Electric, Parsons was involved with various company anti-trust legal issues.

Parsons served on the board of directors for the Electric Bond and Share, the Washington Water Power, and the Knickerbocker Trust Companies, as a trustee for the General Electric Investment Club, as co-president of the Bully Hill Copper Mining & Smelting Company, and was a member of the University Club and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

In a letter dated November 22nd, 1897, Parsons divulges to Mr. W. V. Baker of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company that his two life insurance policies held by Northwestern state differing birthdates because he is unsure of his age. No mention of his mother has been found in either Parsons’ records or in research materials. On April 28th, 1912, Parsons died in a car accident. He is buried in Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, NY.



Hinsdill Parsons Papers
Scope and Content Note

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The Hinsdill Parsons collection contains 2 cubic feet of paper records from Parson’s employment at General Electric, as well as personal and financial papers. The majority of the collection is comprised of correspondence between Parsons and various professional and personal contacts, but the collection also includes financial reports and spreadsheets from General Electric and other companies on which Parsons served as a board member or trustee. Other areas of particular interest include records of stock and bond transactions – both professional and personal – and several maps of areas affected by GE-affiliated railway or utilities companies.

This collection covers the years between 1890 and 1912, with the bulk of the documents dating from 1900-1912. The General Electric and other financial documents deal primarily with investments in the United States; the majority of the documents are related to upstate New York matters, although interests in other locations include Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Oregon. General Electric and Parsons were also involved in activities in Europe and Mexico. Parsons also kept records of the various clubs and organizations of which he was a member, including meeting minutes and dues records. Other personal documents include legal documents such as insurance papers and estate records, as well as general correspondence with and financial advice given to friends and family members.

The collection is divided into three series. All three series are arranged alphabetically by subject name and are generally in reverse chronological order within each folder. Series 1: General Electric, Oct. 1900-April 1911, contains correspondence, financial records, and company reports relating to GE business matters. Series 2: Financial Investments, April 1895-April 1912, contains documents regarding Parsons’ personal financial matters. Series 3: Personal, June 1890-April 1912, contains all other material of a personal nature not included in Series 2. Subjects in this series include family correspondence, property rights and deeds, Parsons’ involvement in committees and clubs, and personal investment advice. Two significant subjects in this series involve Parsons’ automotive interests and family estate communications.


Hinsdill Parsons Papers
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: General Electric, Oct. 1900-April 1911, .33 cubic ft.

This series contains correspondence, financial records, and company reports relating to GE business matters. This series includes administrative correspondence within the company, as well as correspondence with other GE affiliates and outside corporations.

Series 2: Financial Investments, April 1895-April 1912, 1.12 cubic ft.

This series contains documents regarding Parsons’ personal financial matters. In some cases, the demarcation between Parsons’ personal and professional financial involvement is blurred, and a number of the financial documents in this series involve colleagues at General Electric. The series contains correspondence relating to personal loans and debts, stock and bond transactions, cancelled checks and receipts, insurance and tax information, property rights information, and various companies’ financial statements and plans.

Series 3: Personal, June 1890-April 1912, .55 cubic ft.

This series contains all other material of a personal nature not included in Series 2. Subjects in this series range from family correspondence to property rights and deeds to Parsons’ involvement in committees and clubs, to personal investment advice. Two significant subjects in this series involved Parsons’ automotive interests and family estate communications.


Hinsdill Parsons Papers
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: General Electric (Oct. 1900-April 1911)

Box 1
Folder

1. Birmingham Gas Co., Consolidated Electric Light Co., & Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Co. May-June 1901. Consolidation of Colony Trust Co. letter & underwriting agreement.

2. Binghamton General Electric Bonds – sales & communications. Dec. 1901-Jan. 1902.

3. Culver, A. I. May 16, 1905. Phone conversation memorandum re: Railroad Rate Regulating Commission.

4. Chicago City Railway Company. Feb. 1907-May 1909. GE rebate contracts; correspondence re: contracts, Chicago mayoral bookkeeping investigation/audit, Chicago co. personnel issues; newspaper clippings re: audit, contract cancellations.

5. Chicago Edison Company. July 16th, 1904. Royalty contract memorandum/clarification.

6. Unnamed. Oct. 1901-July 1904. Magazine advertisement, paid confirmations, communications re: viaduct licensing/right-of-way issue.

7. Electric Properties Company. April 1906. Confidential advance copy of prospectus of new Westinghouse Company.

8. Electric Undertakings Company. Undated. Prospectus.

9. The Egyptian Petroleum Company, LTD. Dec. 30th, 1908. Annual general meeting report.

10. GE finances. Feb. 1905-Feb. 1910. Audit, collections/delinquent accounts, company expense statements, P&L reports, communications re: delinquent companies’ accounts & personnel issues, executive committee report.

11. GE Investment Club. April 1904-April 1911. Correspondence, financial reports/summaries, stock/bond purchases, minutes.

12. Greene Copper. Dec. 1901-Nov. 1904. Business transactions.

13. Hotel (unnamed). May 1904-June 1904. Property sale, correspondence.

14. Houston Municipal Plant. Oct. 16th, 1900. Letter re: proposed municipal plant.

15. Hudson River Telephone Company. Jan. 31st, 1902. Proposed ordinance.

16. Magee, Louis J. May 1906-April 1907. Business correspondence, foreign companies.

17. Manhattan Railway Company. June 15th, 1903. Bill cancellation.

18. National Electric Lamp Company. July 1901-July 1911. Bonds. New York State National Bank.

19. Niagara County Irrigation & Water Supply Company. March 1906. Legislative monitoring expense.

20. Nicholls, William S. July 1903-Dec. 1904. Personal contact, business communications.

21. Peabody, George Foster. May-June 1905. The Otis Inclined Railway.

22. Proposed Incandescent Lamp Company. Dec. 18th, 1909. Company proposal. 1 document.

23. Schenectady Railway Company. Aug. 1903-Jan. 1912. Financial statements, trolley line, bonds.

24. The Schenectady Star Printing Company. Jan. 1902-Aug. 1911. Consolidation with The Daily Union (Schenectady Union-Star). Stock purchases.

25. Standard Light & Power Company. Oct. 1901-Nov. 1901. Stock purchase & communications. United Electric Securities Company.

26. Special Collection Department. Aug. 1907-Oct. 1908. GE customer debt collection.

Series 2: Financial Investments (April 1895-April 1912)

Box 2
Folder

1. American Gas & Electric Co./Electric Bond & Share Co., Dec. 1906-Jan. 1912. Stock shares communication, purchase agreements, plan & reports. Railroad rights/eminent domain.

2. Brooklyn City Railroad. July 1910-July 1911. Stock purchases & communications.

3. Cohoes Gas Light Company. Feb. 1910-Jan. 1911. Stock purchase, communication with brother Willard P. Parsons, Anson Burchard.

4. Central Colorado Power Company. Oct. 1906-March 1912. Purchase agreements, financial plans, annual reports, collections letters. Financial insolvency, Knickerbocker Trust Company.

5. Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company. March 1905-April 1912. Blueprint map – Schenectady railroad route. Leases between Cincinnatti Co. & Union Gas & Electric Company.

6. Carnegie Trust Company. Jan. 1909-Dec. 1910. Account book, cancelled checks, personal investments.

7. United States Mortgage & Trust Company. March 1903-Nov. 1910. Charles Coffin – investments, IOUs, receipts.

8. Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad Company. April 1905-Nov. 1905. Stock shares.

9. Chesapeake & Ohio Company. July 1899-Nov. 1900. Stock shares.

10. Fisher, A.M. Aug. 1908-Feb. 1911. Debt correspondence, IOU.

11. F.J.&G. (Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad Company). April 1903-Jan. 1904. Stock & bonds.

12. Great Northern Power Development Company. Dec. 1904-May 1908. Underwriters’ agreements, subscription correspondence, invoice letters.

13. Grenfell Syndicate. May 1906-Aug. 1906. Subscription; Grenfell Mexican Exploration Co. (copper mine).

14. Guanajuato Power and Electric Company. Dec. 1899-Nov. 1910. Stockholder reports, banking & loan documentation, subscription/stock communication. Stone Canon Consolidated Coal Company of Maine stocks.

15. Golf Club Realty Company. Jan. 1907. Stock communications.

16. Harrington, F.A. March 1905-June 1905. Investment correspondence (New York Air Brake Co., Electric Bond & Share Co.), memorandum, news clipping.

17. Huston, Ernest. Nov. 1906-Sept. 1908. Loan correspondence.

Box 3
Folder

1. Home insurance policies, tax bills. May 1903-July 1914. Receipts & correspondence.

2. Home electrical inspection. March 1905-March 1910. Reports, correspondence.

3. Hyatt, Marshall. Nov. 1909-May 1911. Loan correspondence.

4. Lindsay, Charles. Undated. Handwritten paid note.

5. The Citizens’ Lighting Company of Louisville. July 1901-March 1903. Stock/bond communications.

6. Miller, Elmer A. June 3rd 1908. Bank note communication, Schenectady Trust Company.

7. Miller, John H. Dec. 1907-Jan. 1908. Loan communications.

8. National Commercial Bank. June 1911-Feb. 1912. Payments/deposits.

9. Nicholson, James. (Parson’s chauffeur). Oct. 1908-March 1912. Expense accounts. Mortgage & deed. Receipts & bills.

10. Pennsylvania Water & Power Company. Oct. 1911-April 1912. Stock communications.

11. Parsons, Hinsdill (A). April 1895-Oct. 1908. Assorted financial reports, communications, cancelled checks, receipts.

12. Parsons, Hinsdill (B). April 1895-Oct. 1908. Assorted financial reports, communications, cancelled checks, receipts.

13. Philadelphia Electric Company. March 1896-April 1912. Annual reports, trust & land title documents. Stock purchases, communications. Documented rumor of GE takeover.

Box 4
Folder

1. Portland Gas & Electric Company/City & Suburban Railway Company of Portland, Oregon/Portland Street Railway Company. March 1904-Dec. 1909. Company consolidation (Portland Consolidated Railway Company). Stock purchases & communications, stock pool.

2. Portland-Salem (Oregon) Electric Railway Company Syndicate. Dec. 1905-Feb 1910. Syndicate shares communications.

3. Schenectady Trust Company (A). April 1902-March 1912. Stock shares. Financial receipts, communications. Loans, IOUs, cancelled checks. Washington Water Power Company stocks.

4. Schenectady Trust Company (B). April 1902-March 1912. Stock shares. Financial receipts, communications. Loans, IOUs, cancelled checks. Washington Water Power Company stocks.

5. Security Savings & Trust Company. June 1911-April 1912. Stocks.

6. Southern California Edison Company. Jan. 1911-April 1912. Stock purchase & communication. Annual report.

7. Stanislaus Power Development / Stanislaus Electric Power Company (A). Sept. 1905-April 1912. Prospectus, underwriters’ agreements, financial plans. Electric Bond and Share Company. Knickerbocker Trust Company. Sierra & San Francisco Power Company.

8. Stanislaus Power Development / Stanislaus Electric Power Company (B). Sept. 1905-April 1912. Prospectus, underwriters’ agreements, financial plans. Electric Bond and Share Company. Knickerbocker Trust Company. Sierra & San Francisco Power Company.

Box 5
Folder

1. The Tehuantepec Rubber Culture Company. Aug. 1901-Nov. 1904. Mortgage bonds, life insurance. Rubber plantation investment.

2. The Tiffin Edison Electric Illuminating Company. Oct. 1909-Oct. 1911. Syndicate subscription.

3. Walter A. Wood Mowing & Reaping Machine Company. Oct. 1895-Jan. 1912. Reorganization, stock/bond transactions.

4. Washington Water Power Company. Jan. 1909-April 1912. Stock transactions & communications. By-laws, financial statements.

Series 3: Personal (June 1890-April 1912)

Box 5 (cont.)
Folder

5. Automobile interests. 1908-1912. Parts/purchases, accidents, arrest, miscellaneous.

6. Blodgett, Katherine Burr. June 1908-Nov. 1910. Investments.

7. Burchard, Anson. Feb. 1902-April 1912. Communications, personal financial dealings.

8. Coffin, Charles A. (President, GE). Jan. 1911-April 1912. Land purchase in Maine – title dispute, legal proceedings correspondence.

9. Cranston, William Jr. family correspondence. Nov. 1908-Dec. 1911. Personal loan repayment, Farmers Loan & Trust Co.

10. Copeland, William H. March 1897-June 1901. Correspondence.

11. Down Town Association. July 1904-May 1911. Annual dues, receipts.

12. Committees & Clubs. July 1904-Dec. 1911. Knickerbocker Trust Company committee. Resumption of business, staffing/appointments, committee meeting minutes. Clubs list. Hoosac Club – dues notices & payments. Cancelled checks. Miscellaneous.

13. Ives, J. M. Jan. 1905-July 1909. Estate dispute papers. Southern New England Telephone Company.

14. Legal documents. Jan. 1892–April 1912. Life insurance policies & correspondence, property deeds, titles, & bonds, loan payments, house & auto insurance

Box 6
Folder

1. Merritt, Charles H. Dec. 1900-July 1903. Personal correspondence.

2. The Noble & Wood Machine Company. May 1906. License contract.

3. Parsons, James Russell Jr. (brother). Jan. 1895-Dec. 1905. Property sale correspondence. Elevator repairs at the NY State Library. Schenectady Superintendant of Schools appointment. Death while serving as Consul General of the United States to Mexico.

4. Parsons, Willard P. (brother). Nov. 1897-March 1905. Correspondence.

5. Parsons, James Russell Sr. June 1890-June 1900. Life summary. Estate, legal proceedings.

6. Peck, S. March 1913. Estate.

7. Piping Rock Club. March 1912-April 1912. Membership, dues communications.

8. Potter, Nathaniel Bowditch M.D. July 1904-Jan. 1911. Financial, medical communications.

9. Starr, Howard W. Jan. 1905-May 1906. Personal correspondence.

10. Shearon, John & Bridget. June 1903-Oct. 1903. Property title legalities. Mortgages & deeds records. (Aug. 1871-June 1903)

11. Steele, Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. July 1910-Nov. 1911. Personal correspondence, medical issues.

12. Van Voast, James A. Feb. 1911-May 1911. Nicholson mortgage.

13. Loose Papers. March 1908-Sept. 1910.Knickerbocker Trust Company stocks communications, Board of Directors appointments & communications.

14. Loose Papers. Dec. 1910-Jan. 1912. Knickerbocker Trust Company. Deposit communications & receipts.


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Last updated March 9, 2009