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DeWitt Webster Parker




k-Parker, deWitt Webster. (Eric), b. September 4, 1910, Boston, Massachusetts; Statistician and Textile worker; CP 1933 and Spanish CP; received passport# 145596 on September 6, 1934 which listed his address as 99 Commonwealth Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts; Sailed March 12, 1937 aboard the Ile de France; Arrived in Spain on July 15, 1937; Served as a Political Commissar of OTS, Base Political Commissar, XV BDE, Lincoln-Washington BN Commissar; Killed in action on March 10, 1938 when a shell exploded inside the cave that was being used as a command post, Belchite, during the Retreats.

Source: SACB, BN 58 Retreats; RA, ALBA 088 DeWitt Webster Parker Papers.

Photograph: Crawford Morgan, Mirko Markowitz, deWitt Parker and Langston Hughes, October 1937. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection ; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0838. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.




DeWitt Webster Parker, who went by the name of Eric in Spain, was born in 1910 in Boston. The son of a Harvard graduate, Parker traveled to Europe in 1934, taking up temporary residence in Paris with his wife, Esther, before returning to the United States.

In March of 1937, Parker sailed from New York on the Ile de France to join the International Brigades. Because of his fluency in French and familiarity with the country, Parker was first assigned to help American volunteers move from Paris to the Spanish border, to arrange care for injured soldiers at the American Hospital in Paris and to negotiate the release of jailed Brigaders.

In July 1937, Parker finally got his wish and was transferred to Spain. He attended Officer Training School in Albacete, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. Well-educated as well as a committed Communist, Parker was soon appointed political commissar of the school, and later of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, where, among other responsibilities, he conducted trials of soldiers accused of indiscipline. In March 1938, Parker was killed along with battalion commander David Reiss and others by a direct hit of artillery fire on the battalion command post in Belchite.

-Biography courtesy or Tamiment Library, NYU. 


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Last Name Parker
First/Middle Name DeWitt Webster
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Education HS
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