Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. Papers, 1907-2010 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Susan M. Catlett, November 2004; revised by Sonia Yaco, April 2011

Collection Overview

Title: Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. Papers, 1907-2010

ID: 17/RG 17-2B2

Primary Creator: Lesley, Everett Parker, Jr. (1913-1982)

Extent: 4.0 Linear Feet. More info below.


This collection is organized into five series: I. Personal; II. Professional; III. Trips; IV. Photo Slides; V. Oversize.

Series I: Personal. This series is divided into seven sub-series. Subseries B is in alphabetic order. The remaining subseries are in chronological order.  Subseries A: Calendar Planner and Notes; Subseries B: Correspondence; Subseries C: Personal Records; Subseries D: Student Records; Subseries E: Military Records; Subseries F: Photographs; Subseries G: Printed Materials.

Subseries A: Calendar Planner and Notes. Includes calendar planners and notepads from various years dated from 1974 to 1981.

Subseries B: Correspondence. Correspondence with family and friends from 1942 to 1982. Of interest are Lesley's mother's recollections about him and letters between E. Parker, Jr. and E. Parker, Sr. Included are letters from Lesley's brother John (a.k.a. Jack) who refers to E. Parker as "Bill." In correspondence between John Roper, also known as Jack, Lesley is referred to as “Sambo.” Correspondence and related photographs with the Riemann Family (Lesley is the godfather of the eldest son Christopher Riemann) are also included.

Subseries C: Personal Records. Includes official records dated from 1914 to 1979 for his birth, baptism, divorce, retirement.  Also included are medical records and passports.

Subseries D: Student Records. Contains Lesley's student records dated from 1930 to 1938. Includes his high school, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Fine Arts diplomas and transcripts.

Subseries E: Military Records. Dated from 1942 to 1953, documents include an Award of the Bronze Star Medal Citation; certificates of commendation, completion, proficiency, promotion and service; and two Honorable Discharges: one from Quartermaster Corps Officer Candidate School (QMC OCS) and one from U.S. Army.

Subseries F: Photographs.  Includes photographs of family members and from a California trip (photos were collected out of context with California trip documents elsewhere in the collection). The photographs are dated from 1907 to ca. 1981.

Subseries G: Printed Materials. Includes items related to Lesley’s death in 1982 including several obituaries.

Series II: Professional. This series contains material dated 1955-2010 and is divided into two sub-series: Subseries A: Creative Works and Subseries B: Correspondence.

Subseries A: Creative Works. Includes manuscripts, painting, photographs, lecture notes, translations and correspondence dated 1958-2010. Of interest is an art history handbook he wrote for the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, written in 1958. David Corona, an Old Dominion University volunteer, transcribed the handbook in 2010. Also of note is a manuscript and related material for "Bibelots.” The series is arranged alphabetically, and then chronologically.

Subseries B: Correspondence. Includes correspondence related to Lesley’s publications and academic work. Also contains a catalog of works for an exhibit. Arranged alphabetically, 1955-1982.

Series III: Trips. Contains material dated 1962-1982 from Lesley's trips to California, Russia, Seattle, WA, Taiwan, Thailand, India & Nepal and Turkey.  Includes correspondence, a travel log, photographs, various travel documents, a class roster, a syllabus and miscellaneous documents. Includes correspondence with the Private Secretary to Her Majesty the Queen of Netherlands regarding the ODU class, Art 320D.

Series IV Photo Slides. This series is divided into seven sub-series: A. Belgium; B. England; C. Israel; D. Massachusetts; E. Turkey; F. Virginia; G. Miscellaneous (includes negatives). The slides are dated 1967 to 1970.

Series V: Oversize. Includes a painting and an article about Lesley, dated ca. 1959 to 1968.

Date Acquired: 07/23/1982

Subjects: Art historians--United States, Lesley, Parker, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (Va.), Old Dominion University--Dept. of Art, Old Dominion University--Faculty, World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

Languages: English


Served as Art Professor at Old Dominion University, 1959-1979, and served as co-chairman of the Art Department, 1968-1969. He authored one art-historical handbook for the Norfolk Museum of Art and Science (Chrysler Museum), one book, two magazine articles and other publications. Collection consists of a large number of photo-slides related to his expertise in Byzantine Art and Architecture, also consists of printed material, documentation of travels abroad, correspondence and photographs.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Papers of E. Parker Lesley, Jr., dating from 1907 to 2010, contains personal documents, student records, military records, correspondence, travel information, printed materials, photo-slides, photographs, negatives, artifacts and miscellaneous documents. The bulk of the collection documents his professional knowledge pertaining to art history.

Collection Historical Note

Everett Parker Lesley, Jr., known as Parker Lesley, was born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 31, 1913. He graduated from Palo Alto Union High School, California, in 1930 and proceeded to attend Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Classical Literature (Greek), in 1934. From 1935 to 1938 he was a Scholar Fellow and an Advanced Fellow in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. In 1935 he earned a Certificat des tudes, Institut d'Art et d'Archologie from the University of Paris; in 1937 he earned a Master of Fine Arts, Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Also in 1937 as a Belgian- American Educational Foundation Fellow he earned a Certificat des tudes from the University of Brussels, Belgium.

Lesley enlisted as Private in the United States Army, June 1942 and progressed through the grades to Sergeant. He was commissioned December 1942 at the Quartermaster Corps Officer Candidate School and progressed through the ranks to Major. He was discharged from the U. S. Army December 1946. During his military career he was awarded a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Army Commendation Medal, Chevalier of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland) and Honor Medal in Silver for Art and Science of the House-Order of Orange-Nassau (The Netherlands).

In 1942 Lesley married Miriam Pfaff Lucker and the two were divorced in 1948.

Lesley was Curator of European Art at Detroit Institute of Arts in 1938. From 1939 to 1942 he was Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture at University of Minnesota. He served in the U. S. Army from 1942 to 1946. The following year he was Chief of the Restitution Division with the Office of Military Government for Greater Hesse (Germany). From 1950 to 1954 as Assistant Keeper he progressed to Associate Keeper and then to Keeper of Department of Exhibitions at The Cooper Union (NYC). In 1955 he was contracted by Fortune Magazine, which resulted in two published articles. 1955 to 1958 he was self-employed in New York cataloguing private collections. He moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 1959 and became the Norfolk Museum's Acting Director. Also in 1959 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Art at the College of William and Mary in Norfolk and taught under that title up to 1967 (in 1963 the College became Old Dominion College). He began building up the Art Department during 1960 to 1964. From 1968 to 1969 he was titled Professor of Art and was co-chairman of the Art Department (in 1969 Old Dominion College became Old Dominion University). Throughout the remainder of his tenure Lesley did not hold the position of chairman, he continued to teach as Professor of Art until his retirement in 1979 as Eminent Professor; between 1970 through 1979 he went on leave two times: 1972-1973; and 1975-1976.

Lesley was fairly fluent in the German language, fluent reading knowledge in French, working knowledge in Italian and Spanish, studied Hebrew and had a fluent knowledge of classical Greek and Latin. His teaching specialties were Classic and Byzantine Art, Medieval Art, European Painting from the 17th Century to the present (1982), American Painting, History of Architecture and Architectural Design and History of the Decorative Arts.

Lesley authored articles in "The Art Bulletin", "Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts", "Art in America", and "The Art Journal"; in 1945, a Report of The General Board, European Theater of Operations, War Department, "Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Operations in the European Theater"; at The Cooper Union Museum, 1950-1954, "Leather", "Alter Ego", "Lacquer", "Conspicuous Waist", "Enamel" and "The Prince Regent's Style"; December 1955 and January 1956 (with Eric Hodgins), Fortune Magazine, "The Great International Art Market"; catalogue of the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection of Russian Imperial Jewels, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Art-historical handbook (2nd version), Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences; "The Iconography of the Spirit"; "Bibelots"; and a book "Renaissance Jewels and Jeweled Objects", The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1968.

During Lesley's teaching years he ventured on many trips across the world; England, Israel, the Netherlands and Turkey. After his retirement from Old Dominion University he traveled to California and Washington state, U.S.A., India, Nepal, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand.

Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. died Saturday, February 13, 1982 in his home.

Subject/Index Terms

Art historians--United States
Lesley, Parker
Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (Va.)
Old Dominion University--Dept. of Art
Old Dominion University--Faculty
World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 8 Hollinger Document Cases, 1 oversized box

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restriction.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Mark Lesley

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A82-14

Related Materials: Monuments Men Foundation: Captain Everett Parker Lesley, Jr.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal],
[Series II: Professional],
[Series III: Trips],
[Series IV: Photo Slides],
[Series V: Oversize],

Series I: Personal
Sub-Series A: Calendar Planner and Notes
Box 1
Folder 1: Calendar Planner, 1974
Folder 2: Calendar Planner, 1979
Folder 3: Calendar Planner, 1981
Folder 4: Pocket notepad, June 24 - August 15, 1977
Folder 5: Pocket notepad, August 22, 1977- April 29, 1978
Folder 6: Pocket notepad, May 5-June 25, 1978
Folder 7: Pocket notepad, July 9, 1978-May 15, 1979
Folder 8: Pocket notepad, March 4-12, 1979
Folder 9: Pocket notepad, October 4-20, 1979
Sub-Series B: Correspondence
Box 1
Folder 10: Contract of land sale, July 1948
Folder 11: John A. Davis, 1973
Folder 12: Grace and Wilson Engel, July 30, 1978-January 23, 1982
Folder 13: Hans and Ellie Jaffe, January 15, 1977-September 23, 1980
Folder 14: John V. Lesley, December 19, 1970-April 30, 1981
Folder 15: Card to E. Parker Lesley, Jr. and photograph, undated
Folder 16: E. Parker Lesley, Sr., August 9, 1942-February 23, 1943
Folder 17: Mrs. E. Parker Lesley, Sr., February 15, 1945-December 7, 1954
Folder 18: Mrs. E. P. Lesley, Sr.'s recollection of Parker Lesley, Jr., April 11, 1949 - ?
Folder 19: Mark Lesley, June 23, 1972
Box 2
Folder 1: Riemann Family correspondence and photographs, September 24, 1963-November 2, 1981
Folder 2: John Roper, October 16, 1976-August 23, 1978
Folder 3: Steven Rustari, October 26, 1972-June 8, 1980
Sub-Series C: Personal Records
Box 2
Folder 4: Certificate of Baptism, April 26, 1914
Folder 5: Birth certificate, 1929, 1939, 1955
Folder 6: Judgment for divorce, January 26, 1948
Folder 7: Passports, 1960-1980
Folder 8: Medical history, 1967-1970
Folder 9: Curriculum Vitae, October 7, 1970
Folder 10: Virginia Driver’s License, 1978
Folder 11: Retirement certificate, 1979
Sub-Series D: Student Records
Box 2
Folder 12: High School Diploma, June 13, 1930
Folder 13: Bachelor of Arts degree, June 18, 1934
Folder 14: Degree, April 9, 1935
Folder 15: Master of Fine Arts degree, June 22, 1937
Folder 16: Certificate from Cours Universitaires de Vacances, August 14, 1937
Folder 17: Transcripts, ca. 1938
Sub-Series E: Military Records
Box 2
Folder 18: Certificate of Proficiency, December 23, 1942
Folder 19: Honorable Discharge from QMC OCS, December 23, 1942
Folder 20: Promotion statement, December 23, 1942
Folder 21: Promotion statement, April 13, 1943
Folder 22: Certificate of completion, April 22, 1944
Folder 23: Award of the Bronze Star Medal Citation, 1945
Folder 24: Certificate of Commendation, 1946
Folder 25: Certificate of Service, November 26, 1946
Folder 26: Promotion certificate, March 27, 1947
Folder 27: Award by Queen of the Netherlands, December 1947
Folder 28: Honorable Discharge, April 1, 1953
Sub-Series F: Photographs
Box 2
Folder 29: Lesley family, 1907-1938
Folder 30: E. Parker Lesley, Jr., 1914-(1981?)
Folder 31: Lesley with others, 1914-1942
Folder 32: California, October-December 1979
Folder 33: Porcelain picture of Miriam Pfaff-Lesley, undated
Sub-Series G: Printed Materials
Box 2
Folder 34: Memorial, ODU Courier, February 26, 1982
Folder 35: Obituary, Virginian-Pilot, February 15, 1982
Folder 36: "In Memory of Parker Lesley", February 19, 1982
Series II: Professional
Sub-Series A: Creative Works
Box 3
Folder 1: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [original], June 23, 1958
Folder 2: Art-historical handbook-Notes from envelope, undated
Box 4
Folder 1: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 2: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 3: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 4: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 5: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 6: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 7: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Folder 8: Art-historical handbook 2nd version [transcription], April 2010
Box 5
Folder 1: Lecture notes, 1958-1962 (?)
Folder 2: “Bibelots” research notes and correspondence, 1978
Folder 3: "Bibelots" manuscript, February 26, 1979
Folder 4: Gertrude Stein lecture, April 2, 1980-February 25, 1981
Folder 5: Manuscript [possibly related to ‘Bibelots’?], undated
Folder 6: Painting, undated
Folder 7: Poetry: German to English translation and photographs, undated
Sub-Series B: Professional Correspondence
Box 6
Folder 1: Edward Percy Bottley, July 15, 1977
Folder 2: Bottley loaned material, catalog of Works by A. L. Pocock, undated
Folder 3: John Carter Brown, May 23, 1978-January 8, 1980
Folder 4: Fortune Magazine, Contract letter, June 28, 1955
Folder 5: Linda Downs, March 28-30, 1978
Folder 6: Mr. Farmer, undated
Folder 7: James and Minnie Fosburgh, June 10, 1955
Folder 8: Brenda Gilchrist, May 2, 1977-February 15, 1979
Folder 9: Hugh Honour to Ms. Little, April 14, 1978
Folder 10: Mrs. Horst W. Janson, March 17, 1978
Folder 11: Dr. Joachim Menzhausen, April 19, 1978
Folder 12: National Gallery of Art, Appointment from, July 22, 1974
Folder 13: Letter to New York Times Editor, October 20, 1972
Folder 14: Chloe Obolensky, September 25, 1977-February 2, 1978
Folder 15: Charles Parkhurst, March 1978-May 27, 1982
Folder 16: Dr. Jay Pawa, April 21, 1978
Folder 17: Letters to Queen of the Netherlands, February 21, 1980
Folder 18: Letters regarding "Renaissance Jewels and Jeweled Objects", September 24, 1968-February 20, 1970
Folder 19: Mr. Rohlfing, June 15, 1978
Folder 20: Dale Rothman, January 18-February 19, 1980
Folder 21: Letter of congratulations from Charles Sibley, May 16, 1967
Folder 22: Marilyn P. Swezey, May 20, 1978
Folder 23: Lisa Taylor to Philippe de Montebello, February 21, 1978
Folder 24: Unknown person, November 7, 1981
Folder 25: Letter to the Virginian-Pilot Editor, January 14, 1966
Folder 26: Herbie Weissburger, October 27, 1970-November 11, 1973
Series III: Trips
Box 6
Folder 27: Amsterdam trip and correspondence, 1974
Folder 28: California Pocket notepad, September 11-October 2, 1979
Folder 29: Norfolk to Iowa, Travel log, August-September 1962
Folder 30: Russia - Correspondence from Mayree Fourman, November 4, 1981-March 3, 1982
Folder 31: Russia - General Tours paperwork, October 15-25, 1981
Folder 32: Russia - Receipt for one admission ticket, Hermitage Museum, October 23, 1981
Folder 33: Russia - Receipt for one admission ticket, Russia Museum, October 24, 1981
Folder 34: Russia - Receipt for one admission ticket "Special Exhibit", Russia Museum, October 24, 1981
Folder 35: Seattle, Washington-Tour group photograph, 1981
Folder 36: Seattle, Washington-Tour program outline, July 28-August 4, 1981
Folder 37: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Certification of visit, Mt. Everest, October 27, 1980
Folder 38: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Correspondence with Doris Kurth, March 21-April 6, 1981
Folder 39: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Diary and notes, September 5-October 7, 1980
Folder 40: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Tour group photograph,Taj Mahal, 1980
Folder 41: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Photograph, Thailand, September 22, 1980
Folder 42: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Purchases, September 25-October 28, 1980
Folder 43: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal-Schedule and itinerary, September 5-November 5, 1980
Folder 44: Taiwan, Thailand, India and Nepal -Tour program outline and itinerary, October 10-November 5, 1980
Folder 45: Turkey-Class information, May 11, 1970
Folder 46: Turkey-Correspondence to Mark Lesley, July 27-August 7, 1970
Folder 47: Turkey-Itinerary and syllabus, July 1970
Folder 48: Turkey-List of participants, July 1970
Series IV: Photo Slides
Sub-Series A: Belgium
Box 7
Folder 1: Antwerp, June 1969
Sub-Series B: England
Box 7
Folder 2: Wooten Under Edge, Gloucestershire, (slides developed), November 1969
Sub-Series C: Israel
Box 7
Folder 3: A-B Slides 1, 1967 (?)
Folder 4: A-B Slides 2, 1967 (?)
Folder 5: A-B Slides 3, 1967 (?)
Folder 6: A-B Slides 4, 1967 (?)
Folder 7: A-B Slides 5, 1967 (?)
Folder 8: Beit She'arim Synagogue, August 1967
Folder 9: Bethlehem, 1967 (?)
Folder 10: Caesarea, 1967 (?)
Folder 11: Cana, 1967 (?)
Folder 12: Capernaum, August 1967
Folder 13: Jerusalem, August 1967
Folder 14: Kiryat-Ono, August 1967
Folder 15: Lod, August 1967
Folder 16: Maghar, August 1967
Folder 17: Massada, August 1967
Folder 18: Megiddo, August 1967
Folder 19: Meiron, August 1967
Folder 20: Miscellaneous set 1, August 1967
Folder 21: Miscellaneous set 2, August 1967
Folder 22: Miscellaneous set 3, August 1967
Folder 23: Miscellaneous set 4, August 1967
Folder 24: Miscellaneous set 5, August 1967
Folder 25: Miscellaneous set 6, August 1967
Folder 26: Miscellaneous set 7, August 1967
Folder 27: Miscellaneous set 8, August 1967
Folder 28: Miscellaneous set 9, August 1967
Folder 29: Miscellaneous set 10, August 1967
Folder 30: Miscellaneous set 11, August 1967
Folder 31: Miscellaneous set 12, August 1967
Folder 32: Montfort, August 1967
Folder 33: Mountain of Beatitudes, August 1967
Folder 34: Nazareth, August 1967
Folder 35: Ramla, August 1967
Folder 36: Safed, August 1967
Folder 37: Tabgha, August 1967
Folder 38: Tel-Aviv, August 1967
Folder 39: Tel-Qasile, August 1967
Folder 40: Wilderness of Zin, August 1967
Sub-Series D: Massachusetts
Box 7
Folder 41: Massachusetts (slides developed), May 1969
Sub-Series E: Turkey
Box 7
Folder 42: Ephesus, July 1970
Folder 43: Miletus, July 1970
Folder 44: Miscellaneous set 1, July 1970
Folder 45: Miscellaneous set 2, July 1970
Folder 46: Miscellaneous set 3, July 1970
Folder 47: Miscellaneous set 4, July 1970
Folder 48: Miscellaneous set 5, July 1970
Box 8
Folder 1: Miscellaneous set 6, July 1970
Folder 2: Miscellaneous set 7, July 1970
Folder 3: Miscellaneous set 8, July 1970
Folder 4: Miscellaneous set 9, July 1970
Folder 5: Miscellaneous set 10, July 1970
Folder 6: Miscellaneous set 11, July 1970
Folder 7: Miscellaneous set 12, July 1970
Folder 8: Miscellaneous set 13, July 1970
Folder 9: Priene, July 1970
Sub-Series F: Virginia
Box 8
Folder 10: Norfolk, undated
Sub-Series G: Miscellaneous
Box 8
Folder 11: Set 1, undated
Folder 12: Set 2, undated
Folder 13: Set 3, undated
Folder 14: Negatives, undated
Series V: Oversize
Box 9
Item 1: Painting, artist unknown, 1959–1962 (?)
Item 2: "The Teacher," The Virginian Pilot Action Magazine, October 19, 1968

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal],
[Series II: Professional],
[Series III: Trips],
[Series IV: Photo Slides],
[Series V: Oversize],

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