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Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons

ca. 1820 Attributed to Sarah Goodridge Born: Templeton, Massachusetts 1788 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1853 Copy after Gilbert Stuart Born: Saunderstown, Rhode Island Colony, 1755 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1828 watercolor on ivory sight 2 3/4 x 2 1/8 in. (7.0 x 5.4 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Henry L. Milmore 1950.4.39 Not currently on view


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A leading lawyer in New England, Theophilus Parsons (1750-1813) wrote the Essex Report, which outlined many of the principles for a republican form of government. He helped to draft the Massachusetts state constitution, and also worked to have the federal Constitution ratified. Parsons served as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1806 to 1813. Considered somewhat eccentric, Parsons was often accompanied by his wife, who made sure her husband dressed well and looked presentable. His eccentricities did not compromise his judicial decisions, however, and his law clerks included John Quincy Adams, future sixth president of the United States, who practiced with Parsons after graduating from law school.

Keywords

Occupation - law - chief justice

Portrait male - Parsons, Theophilus - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor

ivory

About Attributed to Sarah Goodridge

Born: Templeton, Massachusetts 1788 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1853

About Copy after Gilbert Stuart

Born: Saunderstown, Rhode Island Colony, 1755 Died: Boston, Massachusetts 1828

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Attributed to Sarah Goodridge

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Copy after Gilbert Stuart