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Frances H. Parsons, Ph.D.

Biography

Frances H. Parsons, Ph.D.Frances Holsopple Parsons, Ph.D., was born in Sergeantsville, NJ, on 17 November 1893. She received her undergraduate degree from Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA (1912) and did graduate work at the Teachers College, Columbia University. From 1917 to 1919 Parsons was psychologist to the Philadelphia Committee on Protective Work for Girls. During this period she continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania, from which she received a doctoral degree in psychology (1919). Parsons remained in Philadelphia as psychologist to the White-Williams Foundation until 1921, when she became director of the child study department of the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In 1926, the year after the University of Rochester School of Medicine opened its doors, Samuel Clausen, M.D., first chairman of the Dept. of Pediatrics, appointed Parsons instructor in pediatrics. She was the first staff psychologist appointed to the medical school faculty. In 1932 Parsons was also made instructor in medicine (psychiatry) within the Dept. of Medicine, the department in which psychiatric services was a division. When psychiatry became an independent department in 1946, its first chairman, John Romano, M.D., appointed Parsons instructor in psychiatry. Parsons taught medical and nursing students, trained graduate students and residents, and worked in consultation with medical staff as supervising psychologist in the pediatric liaison division. In 1948 she was also appointed clinical associate in psychology in the University of Rochester’s College of Arts & Sciences. She became senior clinical associate in 1960. Parsons retired from the University in 1966.  

Parsons conducted numerous clinical studies during the course of her forty year career at the University of Rochester. She was particularly noted for her studies of mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and the effects of sectioning of the corpus callosum. Parsons served on the board of the Council of Social Agencies and was a director of the Rochester Guidance Center.

In 1919 Frances Holsopple married Judson Parsons, a lawyer who practiced in Rochester. They had two children. Frances H. Parsons died in Rochester, NY, on 3 April 1979.

The Parsons papers consist of two boxes occupying one linear foot. The collection hardly does justice to the range of Parson’s activities, but contains interesting material nonetheless. It is an important resource for the study of children’s mental health services in Rochester circa 1921-1960.  

Container List

Box 1

  • Folder 1: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Constitution & by-laws (undated); Manual (1902)
  • Folder 2: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. History by Muriel Brown (1928?)
  • Folder 3: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. History of the Child Study Dept. (Mar 1929)
  • Folder 4: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Child Study Dept. (1921-32)
  • Folder 5: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Child Study Dept. Budgets (1938-39)
  • Folder 6: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Child Study Dept. Proposals for establishment of the department as an independent clinic (1937-38)
  • Folder 7: Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Child Study Dept. Interim Committee (1937-38)
  • Folder 8: Rochester Guidance Center. Miscellanea (1939-55)
  • Folder 9: Rochester Guidance Center. Services evaluation committee (1940-42)
  • Folder 10: Rochester Guidance Center. Annual reports, 1st (1941), 3rd (1942)
  • Folder 11: Rochester Guidance Center. Budgets (1953-57)
  • Folder 12: Rochester Guidance Center. Board minutes (Dec 1955-Jul 1958)
  • Folder 13: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Annual reports, 25th (1963/64)-27th (1965/66)
  • Folder 14: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Budgets, 1958-60, 1962-/1963/64
  • Folder 15: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Board minutes (Oct 1958-Nov 1960)
  • Folder 16: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Board minutes (Jan 1963-Dec 1963)
  • Folder 17: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Board minutes (Jan 1964-May 1965)
  • Folder 18: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Officers and staff (1959-65)
  • Folder 19: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. Licensure review (1960)
  • Folder 20: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. 25th anniversary (1964)
  • Folder 21: Rochester Child Guidance Clinic. “A child guidance clinic prepares for change,” by W.I. Halpern (1964)

Box 2

  • Folder 1: Child Welfare League of America. Report of survey of child welfare in Monroe County (Jan 1929)
  • Folder 2: Strong Memorial Hospital. Child Guidance Clinic. Democrat & Chronicle articles (1929-31)
  • Folder 3: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. Division of Psychiatry. Report of Rockefeller Foundation Research Grant on child guidance (1935)
  • Folder 4: Edith Hartwell Clinic (1948-50)
  • Folder 5: Edith Hartwell Clinic (1951)
  • Folder 6: Edith Hartwell Clinic (1952-55)
  • Folder 7: Council of Social Agencies. Health Division. Mental Hygiene Section. Report of the service needs of seriously emotionally disturbed children (1953)
  • Folder 8: History of child guidance in Rochester by E.H. Parsons (1957)
  • Folder 9: Health Association of Rochester & Monroe County. Coordinating Group on Mental retardation. Minutes (1959-61)
  • Folder 10: Gassler Committee report. Expansion of child guidance services in Monroe County (1961)
  • Folder 11: Council of Social Agencies. Health Division. Proposed day treatment for appropriately emotionally disturbed school age children (1963)
  • Folder 12: Corprus callosum (1939)
  • Folder 13: Corprus callosum (1940)
  • Folder 14: Corprus callosum (1941)
  • Folder 15: Corprus callosum. Harvey Cushing Society paper (May 1941)

Dept. of Psychiatry 1947

Photograph taken in 1947 of the Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. Frances Parsons is seated in the front row at the far left. The department chair, John Romano, M.D., is in the front row, the third figure from the right.