Professor L. W. Parish was born July 4, 1850, at Springfield, Massachusetts. Here he passed his early life. He attended the local grammar schools and also spent two years in the Springfield High School. Moving to New Haven, Connecticut, he attended the high school at New Haven for a year and a half. He finished his preparation for college at the Hopkins Latin Grammar School.
He entered Yale University immediately after completing the course in the Latin Grammar School and graduated from the University in 1872, at the age of twenty-two, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. On leaving college, Mr. Parish began his splendid career as a teacher. He taught first in the high school at Bradford, Connecticut, remaining in that position two years. During 1874-1875, he taught in the Glastonbury Academy at Glastonbury, Connecticut. During the following year he served as clerk of the American Sunday School Union with headquarters at Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1876, Professor Parish came to Iowa and served during his first year in the state as principal of the Traer Public Schools. During the next two years he was principal of the high school at Rock Island, Illinois. He left this position to accept the superintendency of the West Des Moines schools, where he remained six years. During the next five years he filled a lucrative position as superintendent of the Independence schools.
In 1890, Mr. Parish was called to the Iowa State Normal School as professor of Psychology and Didactics. Being a thorough master of Economics, he accepted the chair in that line of work in 1895, and has served in that capacity and as head of the History and Political Science Department up to the time of his recent death. In 1892, Prof. Parish received his master's degree at Yale University for special graduate work.
On April 4, 1877, Professor Parish married Miss Elizabeth Stuart. To this union there came four children: Leonard (deceased); John, associate editor of the State Historical Society, Iowa City, Iowa; Ariel, principal of the high school at Montezuma; and Mabel, also a teacher in the Montezuma High School.
Professor Parish was a prominent educator in Iowa, serving in many capacities at the State Teachers Association meetings. He was chairman of the Executive Committee of the Association in 1884-1885. In 1900, he was appointed curator of the Iowa Historical Society and has served in that capacity ever since. Mr. Parish has made a number of valuable contributions along his special line of work, being the author of: Outline Analysis of Compayre's Pedagogy, published in 1892; Institute Economics, 1895; and Elementary Economics, two volumes, published in 1906 and 1910. He was also a joint author of Seerley and Parish's History and Civil Government of Iowa, published in 1897.
Leonard W. Parish was killed in a train wreck about four miles northwest of Gladbrook on March 23, 1910.
From an account in the Normal Eyte, March 23, 1910, page 413.