VIDEO: Framingham History Center Works To Preserve Dr. Peter Parker’s Diplomatic Uniform

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FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham History Center unveiled the diplomatic uniform of Dr. Peter Parker at its annual meeting on Tuesday, June 18.

Dr. Parker served as a missionary and diplomat in China throughout the late 19th century. He began his work in Canton, performing missionary duties as well as medical ones, particularly in form of eye surgeries.

Later in his life, after moving to Washington D.C. and marrying Harriet Webster, who was able to connect him well politically, he served as a diplomat in the Chinese court.

Henry Cooke, a historical costumer from Randolph, took on the task of repairing Dr. Parker’s thoroughly damaged and moth eaten uniform, for the Framingham History Center.

Over months, he researched almost every aspect of the uniform. (Watch the video for more of his presentation).

He found the origin of the buttons, the embroidery, and is currently researching the choice to include pocket covers as shoulder pads, giving the uniform a “dragon wing” effect.

The presentation given by Cooke, at the History Center’s annual meeting, was extremely detailed, highlighting the process he took to repair the beautiful cloth and embroidery patterns, which were made with silver and gold thread. He began the process about a year ago.

Ironically, the day of the Center’s annual meeting was Dr. Peter Parker’s birthday. Cooke had those in attendance at the meeting in Historic Village Hall sing him a welcome rendition of Happy Birthday.

Work will continue to preserve the uniform, and eventually it will be put on display at the Framingham History Center


Multi-media report by SOURCE intern Jack Emberley, an Ashland High student.

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