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Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. Papers

Collection ID: RG 17-2B2

Scope and Contents

The Papers of E. Parker Lesley, Jr. contains personal documents, military records, correspondence, travel information, printed materials, photo slides, photographs, negatives, artifacts and miscellaneous material. The bulk of the collection documents his professional career pertaining to art history.


  • 1907-2010, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 07/23/1982



4.00 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Everett Parker Lesley, Jr., known as Parker Lesley, was born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 31, 1913. He graduated from Palo Alto Union High School, California, in 1930 and proceeded to attend Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Classical Literature (Greek), in 1934. From 1935 to 1938 he was a Scholar Fellow and an Advanced Fellow in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. In 1935 he earned a Certificat des tudes, Institut d'Art et d'Archologie from the University of Paris; in 1937 he earned a Master of Fine Arts, Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Also in 1937 as a Belgian- American Educational Foundation Fellow he earned a Certificat des tudes from the University of Brussels, Belgium. Lesley enlisted as Private in the United States Army, June 1942 and progressed through the grades to Sergeant. He was commissioned December 1942 at the Quartermaster Corps Officer Candidate School and progressed through the ranks to Major. He was discharged from the U. S. Army December 1946. During his military career he was awarded a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Army Commendation Medal, Chevalier of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland) and Honor Medal in Silver for Art and Science of the House-Order of Orange-Nassau (The Netherlands). In 1942 Lesley married Miriam Pfaff Lucker and the two were divorced in 1948. Lesley was Curator of European Art at Detroit Institute of Arts in 1938. From 1939 to 1942 he was Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture at University of Minnesota. He served in the U. S. Army from 1942 to 1946. The following year he was Chief of the Restitution Division with the Office of Military Government for Greater Hesse (Germany). From 1950 to 1954 as Assistant Keeper he progressed to Associate Keeper and then to Keeper of Department of Exhibitions at The Cooper Union (NYC). In 1955 he was contracted by Fortune Magazine, which resulted in two published articles. 1955 to 1958 he was self-employed in New York cataloguing private collections. He moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 1959 and became the Norfolk Museum's Acting Director. Also in 1959 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Art at the College of William and Mary in Norfolk and taught under that title up to 1967 (in 1963 the College became Old Dominion College). He began building up the Art Department during 1960 to 1964. From 1968 to 1969 he was titled Professor of Art and was co-chairman of the Art Department (in 1969 Old Dominion College became Old Dominion University). Throughout the remainder of his tenure Lesley did not hold the position of chairman, he continued to teach as Professor of Art until his retirement in 1979 as Eminent Professor; between 1970 through 1979 he went on leave two times: 1972-1973; and 1975-1976. Lesley was fairly fluent in the German language, fluent reading knowledge in French, working knowledge in Italian and Spanish, studied Hebrew and had a fluent knowledge of classical Greek and Latin. His teaching specialties were Classic and Byzantine Art, Medieval Art, European Painting from the 17th Century to the present (1982), American Painting, History of Architecture and Architectural Design and History of the Decorative Arts. Lesley authored articles in "The Art Bulletin", "Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts", "Art in America", and "The Art Journal"; in 1945, a Report of The General Board, European Theater of Operations, War Department, "Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Operations in the European Theater"; at The Cooper Union Museum, 1950-1954, "Leather", "Alter Ego", "Lacquer", "Conspicuous Waist", "Enamel" and "The Prince Regent's Style"; December 1955 and January 1956 (with Eric Hodgins), Fortune Magazine, "The Great International Art Market"; catalogue of the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection of Russian Imperial Jewels, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Art-historical handbook (2nd version), Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences; "The Iconography of the Spirit"; "Bibelots"; and a book "Renaissance Jewels and Jeweled Objects", The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1968. During Lesley's teaching years he ventured on many trips across the world; England, Israel, the Netherlands and Turkey. After his retirement from Old Dominion University he traveled to California and Washington state, U.S.A., India, Nepal, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand. Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. died Saturday, February 13, 1982 in his home.

Note written by Susan M. Catlett

Language of Materials



Collection consists of a large number of photo slides related to his expertise in Byzantine Art and Architecture, as well as printed material, documentation of travels abroad, correspondence and photographs.

Arrangement Note

This collection is organized into five series: Series I. Personal; Series II. Professional; Series III. Trips; Series IV. Photographic Slides; and Series V. Oversize.

Source of Acquisition

Mark Lesley

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A82-14

Processing Information

The collection was processed and finding aid created by Susan M. Catlett in November 2004.

A Guide to the Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. Papers
Susan M. Catlett, November 2004; revised by Sonia Yaco, April 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US