Charles William Parsons (1823-1893), professor of physiology, was born in Providence on September 6, 1823, the son of Professor Usher Parsons. His mother, the sister of physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, died when Charles was two years old. He lived in Cambridge with the Holmes family and graduated from Harvard in 1840. He studied medicine with his father, at the medical schools in Boston and Philadelphia, and in Paris, and received his M.D. degree from Harvard in 1845. In 1848 he began to practice medicine with his father. That year he was awarded an honorary M.D. from Brown, and a few years later was serving on a “Committee for Examining Essays in Physical Science” at Brown. After the resignation of Nathaniel P. Hill in 1865, Parsons taught the physiology course at Brown on a temporary basis until 1867, when he was appointed lecturer in physiology. In October 1869 he wrote to Professor Caswell of his situation, “As the college does not propose to me a permanent appointment, I cannot rightly undertake such an engagement and sacrifice to it my professional business.” He proposed that he might continue teaching if an afternoon class which did not interfere with his medical practice could be arranged. He decided to resign in 1870, but taught the course for one more year. After he retired from his medical practice, he returned as professor of physiology in 1875 and taught until 1882, when he resigned because of his health. He was a respected physician, one of the original members of the Providence Medical Association and from 1860 to 1862 president of the Rhode Island Medical Association. He was a visiting physician at Rhode Island Hospital until 1874, and after that a consulting physician. He died in Providence on September 2, 1893.