Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Edward Louden Parris
Scope and Content
This collection contains material from Edward Louden Parris, who played a significant role during the Disputed Election of 1876 as counsel in Florida on behalf of the Tilden electors during the State court proceedings.
Edward Louden Parris was the oldest son of the Honorable Virgil D. and Columbia (Rawson) Parris. He was born on Loring’s Hills in the village of Buckfield, Maine, on September 3, 1837. Mr. Parris graduated from Harvard Law School. In 1866, he worked in the office of Judge Alvah Black at Parris Hill, and was admitted to the Oxford County Bar in that town the same year. He immediately moved to New York City where he established his own law office. From 1867 to 1870 he served as Assistant United States District Attorney in New York. He was a founder of the Young Men’s Democratic Club of New York City, an organization which was later to be prominent in overthrowing the rule of the Tweed Ring. Mr. Parris served as one of the counsel who prosecuted and convicted William M. Tweed. In 1875, he was a delegate to the Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill, representing the New England Society of New York.
Following the disputed presidential election of 1876, Parris was retained as one of the counsels for Samuel J. Tilden in the bitter contest which followed. He was sent to Florida to advise in the matter of the contested election in a number of counties. Parris sent most of the dispatches in cipher, and he kept until his death a collection of rare contemporary broadsides, official forms completed by Florida officials, and important minutes and proceedings of the hearings connected with the disputed election. Parris was also a counsel before the United States Electoral Commission which decided the contest in 1877 by an 8 to 7 decision on all vital questions.
From 1884 to 1893, he was Assistant District Attorney for the City of New York. From 1889 to 1893, he was one of three Commissioners of Taxes and Assessments of the City of New York, appointed by Mayor Abram S. Hewett. In 1890, he was appointed a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, by President William McKinley. Parris died in 1921.
Scope and Content
The entire Parris collection relates to Parris’ position as counsel to Tilden in advising and overseeing the disputed presidential election in a number of counties in the state of Florida. It contains documents, pamphlets, and correspondence relative to the Board of Florida State Canvassers, including the board’s proceedings from November 29 to December 22, 1876. The printed pamphlets found in folders 23 and 24 are mainly speeches, opinions, investigations, and reports. Other manuscript materials consist of reports of Florida counties, poll lists and claims, complaints of fraud, summons for Congressional Committee, Committee Reports of Florida’s Board of State Canvassers, statements, briefs on Demurrer and Quo Warranto, and testimony. There are four bound volumes of telegrams (lithographic facsimiles), dating from Nov. 1 to Nov. 23, 1876. The dictionary used by Parris to translate the cipher dispatches is also included.
1 ½ linear ft.
1. Poll lists and claims
2. Clerk Minutes - Florida Returning Board, December 12, 1876 - January 4, 1877
3. Fraud Complaints
4. Affidavits, Statements, etc., regarding Election of 1876 in Florida, November - December 1876
5. Miscellaneous Material
6. Proceedings before the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Florida, November 29 -
December 22, 1876
7. Proceedings before the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Florida, November 29 -
December 22, 1876 [copy]
8. Proceedings before the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Florida, November 29 -
December 22, 1876 (Transcription)
9. Statements, Brief, and Quo Warranto
10. Correspondence, n.d.-1878
Adams, George M., Clerk, dtd December 4, 1876
Call, Wilkinson, et al, dtd December 6, 1876
Court Order, January 1, 1877
Drew, George F., dtd November 7, 1876; dtd January 26, 1877
Driggers, E. W., dtd November 10, 1876
National Democratic Committee, 1876
Parris, E. L. [signed McNabe], dtd April 22, 1878
Perry, E. A. et al, dtd January 25, 1877
Randall, S. J., dtd January 30, 1877
Raney, George P., dtd December 28, 1876
T[hompson], C. P., nd.; dtd December 12, 1876; dtd December 15, 1876; dtd December 22,
1876; dtd January 1, 1877
Wallace, Lew, dtd January 25, 1877
11. Summons to appear before Congressional Committee
12. Certificate of State Canvass, January 19, 1877
13. Newspaper clippings
14. Result of Canvass
15. General Election Material, November 1876:
Notice of Election, November 7, 1876 (broadside)
Conservative Democratic Party of Florida. Supplementary Instruction Under Election Laws.
Jacksonville, FL 1876. 8pp
Tilden & Hendricks Reform, Economy and Better Times 1876 Canvass Book
16. Dictionary used by Parris in translating the Cipher Dispatches. 278pp.
17. Acts, Bills, etc., establishing Canvass
18. Article in "The World" on the 100th anniversary celebration of the birth of S. J. Tilden, February
19. Subject, [lists of members of Senate (2 copies); lists of members of House (2 copies)]
20. 4 photographs of 2 pamphlets covers, 1 book, and Gov. George F. Drew’s certificate of
election/appointment of the Democratic Electors, January 26, 1877.
Telegrams, lithographic facsimiles (bound volumes):
November 1 - December 6, 1876
November 2 - December 7, 1876
November 9 - 23, 1876
November 14 - December 6, 1876
Florida Election, 1876. Senate Report [pamphlets combined] Washington, 1877.
Count of Electoral Votes Proceedings of Congress and Electoral Commission 1877. Washington,
Testimony. Excerpt from 45th Cong. 3d Sess. House Miscellaneous Doc. No. 31. Testimony covering
Presidential Election fraud, [Note attached: "This is not consecutive, lacks five pages, See JK526 A2
1876 Volume 1 for complete paging; incomplete testimony, only goes to July 1, 1878"].
Quo Warranto, 120pp.
Transferred to Library:
-In The House of Representatives - House investigation of 1876 election frauds
-The Cipher Dispatches. Extra No. 44 New York: The New York Tribune, 1879. 44pp. (2 copies)
-Reform the Great Need of the State. Speech of Charles E. Dyke Before the Leon County
-Reform Club at Tallahassee, September 16, 1876. 16pp.
-Speech of Gov. D. S. Walker in the Quincy Convention. 8pp.
-Investigation of Electoral Frauds. A letter from Clarkston N. Potter...May, 1878. New York: Russell
Bros., 1878. 23pp.
-The Election of President. A letter to the New York Herald by Clarkston N. Potter of New York.
-Notes as to the Evidence of the Appointment of Electors [Nos. 1-5]
-Record and Opinion of the Supreme Court of Florida, in the Case of the State of Florida Ex Rel. Geo.
F. Drew Against Samuel B. McLin, Secretary of State, Clayton A. Cowgill,Comptroller, Wm.
Archer Cocke, Attorney Gen’l., of the State of Florida Tallahassee, FL, 1876. 22pp.
-In the Matter of the Electoral Vote of the State of Florida. Points. Washington, DC, 1877. 27pp.
-Before the Electoral Commission. Brief...Presented February 3, 1877 by Ashbel Green of Counsel.
-Leon County, Florida. Quo Warranto Action. 30pp.
-The Cipher Dispatches. New York: The New York Tribune, 1879. 44pp.
-Florida Election, 1876. House Report [pamphlets combined] Washington, 1877.
-The Campaign Text Book Tilden & Hendricks 1876. 754pp.
Transferred to Portrait File: Photographs of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Louden Parris