Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons

  • Sarah Goodridge, Gilbert Stuart, Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons, ca. 1820, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Henry L. Milmore, 1950.4.39

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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.

Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons
Attributed to Sarah Goodridge
Copy after Gilbert Stuart
ca. 1820
Not on view
sight 2 3/4 x 2 1/8 in. (7.0 x 5.4 cm) rectangle
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Henry L. Milmore

Mediums Description
watercolor on ivory
  • Portrait male – Parsons, Theophilus – bust
  • Occupation – law – chief justice
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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