The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

What are the Parker archives?

Parker history is captured and available to anyone interested

Black and white photos. Short hair. Long dresses. Sideparts. Neutral dresses and suits. Exquisite tables. The craziest part? Hair revealing a boy’s entire forehead, instead of fluffed at the center. 

Attendees at the Francis W. Parker School prom, an off campus event. Original image labeled 1948. (Photo credit:
Parker’s most recent prom, juniors. (Photo credit: Emily Evans )










Colored photos. Too many hairstyles to count. Dresses and suits of all kinds. The Draft Gym. 

But how do we  know what Parker prom was even like seventy-six years ago? The answer is the website – 

Created by Middle and Upper School Library and Information Services Specialist Annette Lesak, Library Assistant Shelby Rainford, and Lower and Intermediate School Library and Information Services Specialist Mary Catherine Coleman, one can find images, The Parker Record, The Parker Weekly, and more dating back to the start of Parker – all in one convenient website. Before it was one click away, the Parker archives were only across the street and inconvenient for students who wanted to use them. Now we have full access at all times to fun tidbits about Parker.

According to Lesak, the funniest thing within the archives is the Senior Prank from the 1950s:


The archives also serve as a visual representation of landmark moments of change in Parker history. Below is the first time a Parker girls’ sport, specifically field hockey, was recorded in image. Prior to this, only boys’ football had been photographed.

These archives can also be helpful academic resources. “We just completed a project in my Sociology of Sports class,” Upper School history teacher Dan Greenstone said. “We’re examining how gender has been constructed over time in different eras, and how it’s changed. We thought the yearbooks were a really interesting source for that.”

Any Parker student could tell you what’s happening in the photograph below. The model home metaphor, County Fair – tradition is one of the building blocks of Parker. When viewing the archives, it’s pretty surreal to see generations of Parker students before us doing the same traditions we do today. 

Bagpipers and students on field. Black and white image of two bagpipers leading students in procession on the field. Undated.

A vast part of the Parker Archives consists of The Parker Record. Initially he cover of The Record was the same, only changing slightly once every two years, up until around 1941. Now, Parker students use creative themes every year. At Parker, it’s difficult to find Records from anything past twenty years ago – but in the archives, a full scan of The Record from 1916 is available. The Record 1916 is the earliest yearbook at Parker.

The 1916 Record is anything but brief, with paragraphs describing what each grade completed that year. The student profiles were described in phrases like “Seventeen Falls” or “Eighteen Summers” alongside a drawing of the student. When The Weekly asked Upper School math teacher and Parker alum Chris Riff (‘84) if it was weird to look at yearbooks from his years at Parker, he said, “Yes, it was a little weird.”

The archives have also offered a lens for history in a broader sense than just Parker. “I mean, I think it’s really cool to look at ‘the Weeklys’ in particular to see worldwide what was happening,” Lesak said. “Looking at issues during WWII or during the Vietnam War and understanding how world events impact our school community, and then also, cultural events. Like how the country has evolved in terms of gender inequality, or racial inequality.”

The Parker Archives are not only a form of documentation of our school but a representation of progress, with more to come. “We spent maybe six weeks in the summer of 2022 working on it, but I would say that it’s only 10% done,” Ms. Lesak says. 

And the most mind-blowing part? Parker students decades from now will see you in the archives.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Christina Merikas
Christina Merikas, Staff Writer
Christina Merikas is delighted to join the Weekly team as a Staff Writer. She is new to Parker and absolutely loves reading and writing. In between boba runs, she likes to bake, watch Gilmore Girls, play guitar, and run.