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Richard B. Parker Papers

Identifier: GTM-150513

Scope and Contents Note

The Richard B. Parker papers comprise the personal papers of a long-time American diplomat who was U.S. Ambassador to Algeria (1974-1977), Lebanon (1977-1978), and Morocco (1978-1979). This collection contains research materials generated by Parker concerning diplomatic activities of the United States with the Barbary states around 1800 and concerning American diplomacy in the modern Middle East and North Africa. The materials also document Parker's career as an American diplomat in the Middle East. The Richard B. Parker papers are organized into the following 9 series:

1. Correspondence. Contains correspondence from Richard B. Parker to his wife Jeanne Jaccard (Parker) (1941-1972), correspondence from Richard B. Parker to his Mother (1945-1971), and State Department Correspondence (Algiers, Rabat, and Beirut: limited amount of State Department correspondence) (1951-1978). 1 Box (0.5 c.f.)

2. Biographical Materials. Typed biographical sketch of Richard B. Parker. Parker's CV. Personnel file on Parker in Rabat, Morocco. Typed manuscript memoir (2 copies) by Richard B. Parker describing his experiences during World War II. Also, 5 photographs (dated 1967) of the city of Szubin, Poland, where Richard B. Parker had been a prisoner in World War II. 2 Folders (1945-2003).

3. Research Files. Contains research materials on (1) the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Barbary states around 1800 and (2) U.S. diplomacy in the modern Middle East and North Africa.

Barbary States. Contains research materials generated by Richard B. Parker in preparation for his book "Uncle Sam in Barbary," which was published in 2004. Includes materials relating to U.S. diplomatic relations with the Barbary states along the coast of North Africa in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Includes correspondence with scholars, xerox copies of primary source documents, xerox copies of secondary source documents, typed reports, typed manuscripts, correspondence with publishers, research notes, photographs, and a full-length manuscript draft of "Uncle Sam in Barbary." 10 Boxes (4 c.f.) [Primary source documents (xerox copies): circa 1780-1808. All other documents: 1905-2008, bulk 1990-2004].

Modern Middle East and North Africa. Contains research materials generated by Richard B. Parker relating to the modern Middle East and North Africa documenting his scholarly and diplomatic interest in that region. Includes typed manuscripts, xeroxes of secondary sources, correspondence with scholars, notes, oral history interviews (including those regarding the 1967 June War, those separately at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and others regarding Lebanon), typed manuscripts by Parker, photographs, limited xerox copies of primary source documents, and briefing books. 12 Boxes (4.7 c.f.) (1957-2009, bulk 1967-2009).

4. Published writings. Contains articles written by Richard B. Parker mostly about the modern Middle East and North Africa. Includes published articles, off-prints, and xerox copies of articles. 2 Boxes (0.6 c.f.) (1942-2004).

5. Unpublished writings. Contains unpublished writings of Richard B. Parker and other authors. Includes correspondence with scholars, typed manuscripts by Parker and others, and trip reports by Parker. 5 Boxes (2 c.f.) (1948-2009).

6. Clippings and Printed Matter. Contains periodical clippings (mostly newspapers) in English, periodical clippings in Arabic, and periodical clippings in French. One book: "Zarnowiec: Szkice z Dziejow" ["Zarnowiec: Sketch of the Past"] (Krakow: Historia Lagellonica, 1998). Also: information reports (1978) by Richard B. Parker, maps, cartoons, certificates, awards and Presidential commissions for Richard B. Parker. 6 Boxes (5 c.f.) (1950-2011).

7. Notebooks and Notecards. Notes by Richard B. Parker. Contains notes from books, research notes on both Barbary states and modern Middle East, and bibliographical information about various books. Consists of 1 box: Box 37. 1 Box (0.2 c.f.) (1983-2003).

8. Media. Contains DVD's, microfilm, video tapes, computer disks, and film reels. 3 Boxes (1.6 c.f.) (1975-2003); microfilm circa 1786-1805).

9. Photographs. Contains photographs from several photo albums kept by Richard B. Parker. Consists of 1 box: Box 41. 1 Box (0.4 c.f.) (1974-1980).


  • 1780 - 2011
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 2009

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscript collections at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in the Georgetown University Library are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off-site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Sketch

Richard B. Parker (1923-2011), an American diplomat and scholar of the Middle East, was born on July 3, 1923 in the Philippines. His father was an officer in the U.S. Army. Richard B. Parker joined the Army, too, and he served in World War II. He was captured by the German army during the Battle of the Bulge, and he was interned at a prison camp in Poland. He eventually was set free by Soviet soldiers after 34 days of captivity.

After World War II, Parker received a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in 1947. He subsequently earned a master's degree from that institution in 1948.

In 1949, Parker joined the U.S. foreign service and started what would become an impressive diplomatic career. He earned a reputation as a gifted Arabist. He was often consulted on political and diplomatic issues in the Middle East. He became U.S. ambassador to Algeria in 1974. In 1977, he began a posting as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. In 1978, he became U.S. ambassador to Morocco. During his career, he was also stationed in Australia, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.

In 1980, Parker retired from the U.S. foreign service. He taught for a time at the University of Virginia. He also worked as the editor of the "Middle East Journal." Parker published a number of books, including "A Practical Guide to Islamic Monuments in Morocco" (1981), "North Africa: Regional Tensions and Strategic Concerns" (1987), "The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East" (1993), "Islamic Monuments in Cairo" (1993), "The Six-Day War: A Retrospective" (1996), "The October War: A Retrospective" (2001), and "Uncle Sam in Barbary: A Diplomatic History" (2004).

[Source: "Washington Post" 4 February 2011].


19.5 Linear Feet (42 boxes)

Language of Materials


Richard B. Parker Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Booth Family Center for Special Collections Georgetown University Library
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository