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Parsons S. Pratt Papers

Identifier: mss-788

Scope and Contents

The Parsons S. Pratt Papers contain several of Pratt's handwritten sermons. Pratt appears to have used the sermons over the course of several years as multiple dates and locations can appear as notes on a single sermon document. Occasionally, the sermons are marked with different titles. An often repeated topic is the Thanksgiving holiday. They are arranged chronologically.

The collection also contains his notebook, documenting his position as a delegate of the U.S. Christian Commission in 1865. It lists funeral services Pratt performed for Civil War soldiers including their biographical details of name, location of death, rank, and family members. The following people are named: Nathan G. Robinson, Marquis Jones, George Stannard, Walter Richards, Horace Richards, Edgar C. Bryant, William J. Fuller, Charles P. Gray, Elisha C. Harrington, Charles Wade, Rileigh C. May [possibly Rileigh C. Gray], Edgar J. Fenuel, Charles H. Gray, Merrit Haskins, and Allen W. Saw.


  • 1830-1890


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Parsons S. Pratt (often styled P. S. Pratt) was born on July 25, 1822 in Sanquoit, New York to Rufus Pratt and Bethia W. Loring. Rufus worked as a farmer and in 1840 became an ordained preacher. P. S. Pratt studied at Hamilton College from 1838-1842, where he became a member of the Sigma Phi fraternity. After graduating with an A.B. degree, he went on to study for an A.M. degree, which he earned in 1845. He next studied at the Auburn Seminary, finishing in 1846.

He married Martha Ann Pollard on the day of his graduation, July 22, 1846. She was born in Clinton, New York about 1823, the daughter of Harvey Pollard and Betsy Brigham. Martha and Parsons had four daughters: Anna Serena Pratt (1848-1863), Caroline "Carrie" Guyon Pratt Gilbert (1849-1932), Ada Martha Pratt Sherman (1852-1933), and Bertha Mary Pratt (1858-1904). Martha died in 1897.

Rev. Pratt served as superintendent of schools in both Winfield, New York and Dorset, Vermont. He was duly licensed and ordained in 1846 and 1850, respectively. He was the minister of a church community in Niles, Michigan for about 2 years after which he returned to New York. In 1856 he was called to the Congregational Church in Dorset, Vermont. He was a delegate for the U.S. Christian Commission in 1865 which included visiting to union army camps in the south as a minister. In 1895, Pratt earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Middlebury College. He served as pastor until retiring in 1896, after which he served as pastor emeritus until his death in 1906.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 document box)

Language of Materials



Collection contains sermons, speeches, and notebooks of Congregational minister Parsons S. Pratt who was based in Dorset, Vermont and also traveled to army camps during the Civil War.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Related Materials

The Dorset [Vermont] Historical Society holds related records: genealogies Pratt wrote of several area families and records of marriages he performed (1848-1885) while pastor of the United Congregational Church of Dorset and East Rupert, Vermont.

UVM Special Collections owns a print history of the United Congregational Church, Inc. of Dorset and East Rupert, Vermont which was published in 1959. It was written by two of Pratt's grandchildren: Alfred Gilbert and Anna Gilbert (children of his daughter Caroline "Carrie" Pratt Gilbert).


  • Gilbert, Alfred Holley. Parsons Stuart Pratt: Life and Ministry 1834-1896. Dorset, Vermont, 1975.
  • Chapman, Frederick William. The Pratt family or, The descendants of Lieut. William Pratt, one of the first settlers of Hartford and Say-Brook, with genealogical notes of John Pratt, of Hartford; Peter Pratt, of Lyme; John Pratt (Taylor) of Say-Brook. Hartford, Connecticut, 1864.
  • National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States. The Year Book of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States of America. Boston, Massachusetts, 1907.
Guide to the Parsons S. Pratt Papers
2017 November 14
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)