Parnell was born in 1888 in Boston, Massachusetts to George A. Parnell of Bristol, England. She was a relative of the Irish nationalist political leader Charles Stewart Parnell. She studied singing with Madame Meysenheim of New York City and during her late teenage years became known as a talented church singer in Boston.
In 1908, at the age of 20, Parnell joined the newly formed Boston Opera Company and performed with them during their very first season. She then went abroad and performed in operas in Milan, Pavia, and Venice. She later toured Australia, Ireland and performed extensively in the United States and Canada.
- On July 15, 1910 she used August 21, 1885 for her passport application. On February 15, 1919 she used August 21, 1883 for her passport application, she originally wrote 1888 and crossed it out and wrote 1883 above it. On October 1, 1928 and October 28, 1930 she used August 21, 1888 on the ship manifests.
- Charles A. Hooey (October 2001). "The Night The Camels Came". Hillandale News.
Evelyn Parnell, an American soprano who had been singing at the Boston Opera, was especially engaged to sing in Winnipeg. She was related to the famous Irish leader and had sung once previously with Quinlan in Dublin as Violetta in La Traviata. Her local debut as Marguerite may be summed up as being replete with a natural grace and marked by an artistic intelligence that made itself felt in every scene. ...
- The grand opera singers of to-day: an account of the leading operatic stars ... By Henry Charles Lahee
- "Evelyn Parnell". United Press in the Los Angeles Times. October 11, 1939.
Evelyn Parnell 50 whose soprano voice was heard in the opera houses of America and Italy years ago died yesterday ...
- Herbert Macgolfin Shelton (1940). "Killing Them To Cure Them". Dr. Shelton's Hygienic Review: 1939-1940. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
Evelyn Parnell, who but for a twist of fate might have become a great American singer, died in Polyclinic Hospital following an appendectomy. ...