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From the Historian: The Gertrude Parker Window

June 6, 2023


Dear Trinity Church and friends,

When Charles Henry Parker died in 1908, at the age of 92, the student newspaper Harvard Crimson noted that he was the last member of the Class of 1835. A devoted member of Trinity Church, Parker’s family ties to the church stretched back to its beginnings. His grandfather was Bishop Samuel Parker (1744-1804), the fourth rector of Trinity Church, who led the congregation during the Revolutionary War and served the parish until his death in 1804. Parker’s father Samuel Dunn Parker (1781-1873), a lawyer, was a graduate of the Harvard Class of 1799, and an active member of parish.

Like his father, Charles Henry Parker earned a law degree and was a very successful businessman. And like his forefathers he was active at Trinity serving as a vestryman and Warden for fifty years. He was twice married and had eight children. His second wife was Mrs. Laura Wolcott Jackson. Among their children was Gertrude born July 22, 1865. She had barely begun to follow in her family’s tradition of faith when she died at the age of 18 of typhoid fever.

Parker and his wife commissioned famed painter and stained-glass designer John La Farge to produce a window in their daughter’s memory.

The Gertrude Parker Window, located in the Parish House (formerly the Trinity chapel), depicts a young girl holding a lamp and by her side a pot of lilies. Surrounding the scene is a bold display of ornamental glass in hues of gold, red, blue and green. An inscription reads, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The story set in glass visualizes one of the wise virgins from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Today the window is most often referred to as Purity.

A 300-piece puzzle of the Gertrude Parker window is now available in Trinity's Shop!

I look forward to sharing more "From the Historian" pieces with you over the summer.

Until then,


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