Robert Brown Parker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 17, 1932, to Carroll Snow, a telephone company executive, and Mary Pauline (Murphy) Parker. During his youth, he read widely in pulp fiction, learning the conventions of the hard-boiled detective. He attended Colby College, where he met Joan Hall, whom he married on August 26, 1956, two years after he graduated with his bachelor’s degree. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 in Korea. After completing his military service, he returned to school and received his master of arts degree from Boston University in 1957. He then sought employment as a technical writer to support his wife and son David, born in 1959. His second son, Daniel, was born in 1963. In 1957 he was a management trainee with Curtiss-Wright Company, Woodridge, New Jersey. From 1957 to 1959 he worked as a technical writer with Raytheon in Andover, Massachusetts, then went into advertising with Prudential Insurance Company in Boston from 1959 to 1962. At the same time, from 1960 to 1962, he was a partner in his own advertising agency, Parker-Farman Company.
In 1962 Parker’s wife, Joan, persuaded him to return to Boston University and complete his doctoral degree, which he received in 1970. While completing his doctorate, he held positions as an instructor at Boston University (1962-1964), the University of Lowell (1964-1966), and Massachusetts State College at Bridgewater (1966-1968). From 1968 to 1974 he was...
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