Caleb Hillier Parry Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Parry to members of his family and biographical notes written shortly before his death in 1822.

Administrative / Biographical History

Caleb Hillier Parry was born on 21 October 1755 at Cirencester. He was the eldest son of Joshua Parry a non-conformist minister. Caleb was educated at Cirencester Grammar School (where he met and became lifelong friends with Edward Jenner), and at the Dissenter's Academy in Warrington. He went on to study medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1778, the year in which he married Sarah Rigby. In 1779, they settled in Bath where their son, William Edward Parry, the Arctic explorer, was born in 1790, the eighth of nine children.

Establishing a successful medical practice, Caleb Parry was appointed physician to the Bath General Hospital in 1782, later publishing important medical and scientific research, including a study of the causes of angina (1799) and the nature of the pulse (1816). Besides his interest in medicine, Parry managed a large farm, where he conducted experimental sheep breeding in an effort to improve the quality of wool. An enthusiastic collector of fossils and minerals, he became one of the original members of the Geological Society when it was founded in 1807 and was a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1816, he suffered a debilitating stroke and he died on 9 March 1822 at Bath.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Parry of the Arctic, the life story of Admiral Sir Edward Parry 1790-1855 by Ann Parry, Chatto & Windus, London (1963) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Parry, W.E.] and Dictionary of National Biography volume 43, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1895) and The spirit of enquiry, Caleb Hillier Parry, MD, FRS by Sholem Glaser, Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. Stroud, England (1995) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Parry, C.] and and

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.

Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections for the Parry family including extensive material for William Edward Parry.