Stephan Robert Parks

Stephen Robert Parks passed away peacefully on July 22, 2021 after a brief hospitalization.
Born in Columbus, Ohio on July 18, 1940, he was the son of Robert Edward and Hilda Charteris (née Easton) Parks. His sister Susan predeceased him in 1943.
He was a 1961 graduate of Yale College, majoring in art history. He later earned a PhD from King’s College, Cambridge, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. In 1967, he was appointed inaugural Curator of the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection of the Beinecke Library at Yale, where until 2004 he helped develop one of the most significant collections in the world of early modern British literary and historical manuscripts. A resident of New Haven, Connecticut for nearly of all his adult life, for many years he also enjoyed writing as wine critic for the New Haven Register.
Steve was an avid collector, beginning as a child with stamps, and later turning to books, ceramics, and medals. As a graduate student in Cambridge, he began a life-long bibliophilic and decorative arts love affair with the English Gothic Revival. The Stephen R. Parks Collection of Augustus Welby Pugin and the Gothic Revival is now held by the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University. Many objects from his decorative arts and furniture collection now reside in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.
He was also an active and energetic member of several societies and clubs, including the Athenaeum in London, the Century Association and the Grolier Club in New York, the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston, and the Johnsonians. In addition to being a lifelong member of Manuscript, a Yale senior society, and serving in leadership positions there, Steve was Librarian of the Elizabethan Club at Yale for 44 years, energetically developing its collection of rare books and manuscripts. He served for 35 years on the Club’s Board of Incorporators, as its chair from 2009-2016, and was elected President of the Club (1994-1996). He was made an Honorary Trustee of the Yale Library Associates for his contributions to Yale’s libraries and was awarded the inaugural Elizabethan Club Medal for Distinguished Service.
Steve had a special gift for friendship, one that he shared generously with generations of Yale students and colleagues for more than fifty years.
A requiem mass will be held Friday, July 30 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church, New Haven, 84 Broadway.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Steve’s memory to any of the institutions or charities dear to him, including the Stephen Parks Fund at the Elizabethan Club of Yale University; the Yale Center for British Art; the Wrexham Foundation; Cambridge in America; Christ Church, New Haven; the Club of Odd Volumes; the Friends of the Smithsonian; the Metropolitan Opera; and the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Published by The New Haven Register on Jul. 24, 2021.