Francis Parkman (September 16, 1823 - November 8, 1893) was an American historian, best known as author of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life and his monumental seven-volume France and England in North America. These works are still valued as historical sources and as literature. He was also a leading horticulturist, briefly a professor of Horticulture at Harvard University and author of several books on the topic.
Parkman was a trustee of the Boston Athenæum from 1858 until his death in 1893. Parkman is one of the most notable nationalist historians. In recognition of his talent and accomplishments, the Society for American Historians annually awards the Francis Parkman Prize for the best book on American history.
His work has been praised by historians who have published essays in new editions of his work by such Pulitzer Prize winners as C. Vann Woodward, Allan Nevins, and Samuel Eliot Morison as well as by other notable historians including Wilbur R. Jacobs, John Keegan, William Taylor, Mark Van Doren, and David Levin.
Famous artists such as Thomas Hart Benton and Frederic Remington have illustrated Parkman's books. Numerous translations have been published worldwide. In 1865 Parkman built a house at 50 Chestnut Street on Beacon Hill in Boston, which has since become a National Historic Landmark. The Francis Parkman School in Forest Hills bears his name, as does Parkman Drive and the granite Francis Parkman Memorial at the site of his last home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts (now a neighborhood of Boston).