THE archaeological collections at the University of Michigan owe their origin and development to Francis W. Kelsey, Professor of the Latin Language and Literature at the University from 1889 to the time of his death in 1927. During his long and distinguished service to the cultural life of the University, Professor Kelsey was both zealous and discriminating in the acquisition of archaeological material to illustrate the life and times of the ancient Mediterranean World. No separate museum was organized to care for these collections, but they were administered by Professor Kelsey and his very competent assistant and colleague in the Latin Department, Dr. Orma Fitch Butler.
It was not until the autumn of 1928 that definite steps were taken to organize a museum for the care, exhibit, and study of the archaeological collections, which, by this time, had increased markedly, due mainly to the acquisition of objects from the field excavations in Egypt, organized by Professor Kelsey in 1924. Thus a Museum of Classical Archaeology was established as a unit in the group of the University Museums. John G. Winter, Professor in the Department of Latin and Greek, served as Director of the Museum from the time of its inception until his retirement in February, 1951. Dr. Orma Fitch Butler was Curator until the time of her death in 1938.
In the autumn of 1940 the Museum became a separate administrative research unit of the University under the name Museum of Art and Archaeology. In 1946 it became the Museum of Archaeology, on the establishment of a Museum of Art as a separate unit in the University. Early in 1953 the present name, Francis W. Kelsey Museum of Page 1456Archaeology, was adopted by the Board of Regents in honor of its distinguished founder.
Prior to 1924 collections now in the Museum were acquired by purchase and by gift. The first of the purchases by the University was of a collection of 109 objects, including lamps, vases, and building materials, from the Musée Lavigerie in Carthage in 1893. They were duplicate specimens of antiquities gathered from various excavations in and around Carthage, over a period of some forty years, by R. P. Delattre, of the Order of the White Fathers. At the time, Professor Kelsey was on leave of absence from the University, studying numerous archaeological sites in the Mediterranean world. A warm and lasting friendship sprang up between the American scholar and the priest of the Hill of Byrsa. As a lasting reminder of the kindness shown him, Professor Kelsey assigned accession number one in the Museum records at the University to a fragment of an ancient Roman lamp included in the purchased collection. It was the discovery of this lamp that had induced Father Delattre in the early years of his life in North Africa to undertake the careful excavations of Roman sites at ancient Carthage.
On this same trip Professor Kelsey obtained from dealers, mainly in Rome, Sicily, Capri, and Tunis, 1,096 other archaeological specimens, building materials, pottery, terracotta figurines, lamps, painted stucco, glass, tombstones from Pompeii, and one Latin inscription. Thus began the collections at the University of Michigan of original archaeological specimens from Mediterranean lands. Previously, only casts or photographic representations of ancient objects had been available for use as illustrative material in teaching in the departments of Latin and Greek.
The next acquisition of antiquities occurred in 1898 through the services of Professor C. L. Meader of the University, who was then a Fellow in Christian Archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. This was a miscellaneous collection of 387 objects, mainly lamps, lamp handles, pottery, and some glass.
In the following year Professor Duane Reed Stuart, who was a student in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, purchased for the University a collection of thirty-four lamps. They were specimens of types that originated in various parts of the Greek world and had been collected by Professor Rhoussopoulos of the University of Athens.
The end of the century marked the successful conclusion of negotiations that had been carried on for some time for the purchase of a part of the famed Canon de Criscio collection of antiquities. The remainder was acquired later. The history of this collection is described hereinafter by Dr. Orma Fitch Butler.
In 1900-1901 Professor Kelsey was on leave of absence from the University of Michigan to serve as annual professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. He availed himself of this opportunity to arrange for the purchase of various groups of antiquities. They were valuable additions to the collections in the fields of Roman archaeology, architecture, economics, religion, and history. Among them were 463 brick stamps and ninety specimens of makers' stamps on Arretine pottery. Also included were thirty-three ex-votos that had been found near an ancient temple of healing at Veii in Etruria.
With wise foresight Professor Kelsey procured for the University at this time also an outstanding collection of ancient building materials that had been gathered together from ancient Roman and Greek sites. Numerous small, but important, antiquities were obtained, among them a bronze Lar from an Page 1457ancient house shrine, a mason's plumb bob, lead water pipes, most of them bearing stamped inscriptions, lamps, and decorative terracottas.
In the years before World War I, some additions were made to the Museum collections. As the War brought an end to study and research abroad as well as to the importation of antiquities from Mediterranean countries, Kelsey gave increased consideration to the possibilities of actual field work of excavation after the war at some ancient site in the Near East. The factor that caused special attention to be focused on such a project at this time was the study of papyri documents of Greco-Roman Egypt, which had come to the University some years earlier from the Egypt Exploration Society of London and Oxford.
Thus the two aims that Professor Kelsey had in view when he was granted leave of absence from the University from 1919 to 1921 were to purchase objects for the collections and to investigate the possibilities of excavations at Greco-Roman sites. He visited the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean from Italy to Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine, and then went south and west throughout North Africa, with special attention to Greco-Roman sites in Egypt.
During this period the Museum collections were enriched by several purchases and gifts. Fragments of Arretine ware and Rhine Valley pottery and some Roman glass were purchased from the Cologne Museum. Among the acquisitions were ancient lamps from Palestine and alabaster bowls, head rests, toilet articles, beads, and fine linen from the Egypt Exploration Society Excavations. Through the kind services of Mr. G. F. Allmendinger of Ann Arbor, funds were procured from the Michigan Millers' Association for the purchase of a fine Roman mill, a large storage jar, and several small objects of bronze which had been found in the excavations of a villa a short distance to the north of Pompeii. The Paul Gottschalk collection of 130 vases, mainly from ancient Greek sites in Italy, was also purchased at this time.
The year 1924 marked the establishment at the University of the Near East Research Fund, which was the culmination of years of planning and preparation on the part of Kelsey (see hereinafter the Institute of Archaeological Research). The fund, created by private gifts, made it possible to acquire antiquities both by purchase and by excavations in the field at Roman and Greco-Roman sites.
In 1919 Professor Kelsey had noted on his visit to the Province of Fayoum, Upper Egypt, that the ancient city sites, from which so much valuable papyrological evidence had come to the world of scholarship, were being rapidly and ruthlessly destroyed, with little or no care taken to recover the antiquities or to record archaeological data. These ancient hills had become the source of excellent fertilizer (sebbakh), so necessary for the expanding acreage of cotton in Egypt. This situation caused Kelsey upon his return to Ann Arbor in 1921 to redouble his efforts to obtain funds for the systematic excavation of a Roman site in Egypt. The account of the excavations in the Near East is appended.
During this visit to Egypt Kelsey arranged for the purchase of a large collection of antiquities, mainly of the Greco-Roman period, that had been gathered together by Dr. David L. Askren, a long-time resident of Medinet el Fayoum. Especially noteworthy in this group were the ancient glass and ostraca. The collection included also wood, bronze, pottery, lamps, and terracotta figurines, in all 549 pieces.
Since the establishment of the Museum in 1928, acquisitions have continued to be made by purchase and by Page 1458gift, as well as by excavations. Several groups of ostraca were purchased during the years when field work was being carried on in Egypt. In addition an important collection of seventeen ostraca from Egypt was presented to the University by F. C. Skeat of the British Museum, London.
During the 1920's the Museum received several valuable gifts from H.C. Hoskier, of New York, Honorary Curator of the Museum. In the group were small bronzes and amulets from Egypt, a collection of 119 ancient Roman and Ptolemaic Egyptian coins, all in excellent condition, and several pieces of Greek, Etruscan, and Cypriote pottery.
The antiquities from the sites excavated in Egypt, Karanis, Dimé, and Terenouthis constitute the major part of the collections in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The Egyptian government has been extremely generous with the University in the division of antiquities. The ancient written documents recovered from the excavations, the papyri and the ostraca, were granted export to the University for study and publication. The ostraca have been studied and published and returned to the Department of Antiquities in Cairo. As the studies on the papyri are completed they too will be returned to Egypt.
The antiquities from the excavations represent and illustrate every phase of life and living in a Roman town in Egypt. They range from the tiniest bead and amulet, used for personal adornment or as charms, to the large earthenware jars used for the storage of grain and fodder and the heavy stone milling pots and olive presses. Each group of objects is a study in itself, the glass, pottery, wood used in building and in making household articles of furniture or tools and implements, terracotta figurines and lamps, sculpture and household objects of stone, such as mortars and pestles, basketry, objects of bronze, bone, and faïence, textiles, harness and rope, jewelry, grains and seeds, toys, gaming pieces, coins that were lost or stored away for safekeeping, and scores of miscellaneous objects that were common in every household in those days. From Terenouthis the Museum has an unusual collection of grave stelae of the pre-Christian period, which are particularly important since they can be dated by the coins found with them.
The architecture and the topography of the sites have been recorded in the survey maps. From these and the photographs it is possible to reconstruct accurately the physical appearances of the cities throughout their various levels of occupation.
The coins in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology number into the many thousands. By far the greater proportion has come from the University's excavations in Egypt and Iraq, but previous to the opening of the field work in the Near East, the numismatic collections at the University were already large and important. The acquisitions in this field date back to 1880. They have been classified by the names of their donors or of those who established the collections.
The earliest collection was that of Abraham S. Richards, to be followed in the succeeding years up to 1919 by the Dorr, Fritchie, Dattari, Harsha, and Eastman collections. One of the largest, the Dattari Collection of Roman imperial coins of Egypt, Late Roman imperial coins, and coins of Alexander of Macedon, was acquired through the kind offices of Mr. Charles L. Freer. It was presented to the University by Mr. Giannino Dattari, a friend of Mr. Freer, in 1914.
The numismatics section of the Museum contains not only valuable Greek Page 1459and Roman coins from various parts of the ancient world, but also medieval and modern coins of Europe and coins and currency of the United States. By the purchase of the Lockwood Collection a large group of United States coins and many specimens from various European countries and the Orient were acquired. The gift of the Hoskier Collection, referred to earlier, was an especially important acquisition. The Kelsey Collection, acquired by purchase and by gift, consists mainly of Greek, Roman, and Late Roman types. A gold nugget, used as an early coin of the Philippines, was presented by Santiago Artiaga, an alumnus of the University.
In the spring of 1952 Dr. Robert W. Gillman of Detroit presented a collection of Palestinian antiquities that had been gathered together by his father, when he was American consul in Jerusalem (1886-91). Besides Egyptian scarabs and beads, the group contains Palestinian, Greek, Roman, and Crusader coins. It is a notable addition to the Museum, since it includes many early and rare Jewish and Crusader coins.
Mrs. Edward Dwight Pomeroy of Jacksonville, Florida, presented a large collection of European and American coins and currency. Recent gifts by Mr. and Mrs. Abd el Lateef Ahmed Aly, Dr. Bessie B. Kanouse, Mr. Harvey L. Sherwood, and the Reverend Mr. Kilford, have served to fill in gaps in the Museum collections.
In addition to the coins the Museum has in its care a number of medals. They were struck as commemorative of special occasions and presented to the University.
In the autumn of 1943 the University received a remarkable historical collection of European and American arms, together with a few Oriental pieces. The gift, known as the Arthur G. Cummer Memorial Collection of Arms, was presented by Mrs. Cummer. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cummer had been students at the University of Michigan. The collection is especially rich in short arms, such as dueling pistols in pairs. Since that time several individual gifts of arms have been made by Clayton G. Bredt, Jr., Lou R. Crandall, Miss Helen H. Hanley, Mrs. Fred Harris, Howard Ideson, J. G. Roberts, Alexander G. Ruthven, and Miss Eunice Wead. At the close of World War II, in 1949, several hundred captive enemy guns were received from U. S. government arsenals. Special exhibits of the arms have been made from time to time, and the entire collection is available to interested groups, especially for study connected with the military contingent at the University.
Of special interest in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology are the textiles, chiefly Roman, Coptic, and Islamic from Egypt. The specimens of weaving, linen and woolen cloth and carpets from the excavations at Karanis, are of particular importance, in the matter of dating and design. Throughout the years purchases have been made to supplement the collections of Coptic and Islamic textiles. Noteworthy among these was the purchase in 1939 from the estate of H. A. Elsberg of a number of Coptic and Egypto-Arab textiles. A few examples of European textiles were presented to the Museum at that time by the Elsberg estate. Other gifts to the Museum were two embroidered caps of the Coptic period by A. E. R. Boak, several Peruvian textiles by Miss Helen Ladd, an excellent example of Swedish linen by Miss Ruby Holmstrom, and a specimen of oriental embroidery by Miss Isabelle Stearns. In 1953 a purchase of 1,166 textiles from Egypt of the late Roman, Coptic, and early Islamic periods greatly enlarged the collections.
In the field of classical antiquities Page 1460few additions have been made since the time of the early acquisitions by Professor Kelsey, but in the late 1930's the University received a gift of particular importance, the Esther Boise Van Deman bequest. This gift consisted of 216 objects, collected by Miss Van Deman ('91) during the many years when she was associated with the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. The objects are not large in size, but they were chosen by Miss Van Deman with discriminating care and thought as to their archaeological value.
Among the other contributions that have come to the Museum are pottery and photographs from the estate of Mrs. M. L. D'Ooge, Greek pottery on exchange from the National Museum in Athens, pottery, bronzes, lamps, and building materials from Mrs. Grace G. Beagle, Oliver P. H. Kaut, Robert Y. Larned, Mrs. Charles W. Lobdell, Eugene S. McCartney, Miss Carrie Patengill, Jean Paul Slusser, and Mrs. Stuart Baits. Recently, the Museum received a group of potsherds of Roman and Tudor Britain from A. F. Norman, Sir Edward Whitley, and University College, Hull, England.
The large and valuable group of prints and negatives, made by George R. Swain for the Near East expedition, has been incorporated into the Museum records and files. Photographs and slides of classical and archaeological interest have been presented by William W. Bishop, the estate of Mrs. M. L. D'Ooge, James E. Dunlap, E. C. Overbeck, and W. H. Worrell.
The Coptic collections were enlarged in 1953 by twelve wooden seals presented by Dr. Aziz S. Atiya. In that year Dr. O. O. Fisher presented the twenty-three volumes of the first edition of the publication resulting from the work of the scholars who accompanied Napoleon on his expedition to Egypt.
Miscellaneous gifts to the Museum include a group of a hundred terracotta figurines from Egypt by Peter Ruthven, Roman glass, a dice box, a hand mill of granite from Egypt, and an excellently preserved spearhead of bronze from China, by A. E. R. Boak, a number of Greek and Coptic papyri by Dr. Moldenke of Detroit, a papyrus fragment from Mrs. Standish Backus, and Palestinian pottery and lamps by W. H. Worrell.
Purchases have been made of gnostic gems and amulets, chiefly from Egypt, pottery, sculpture in stone and wood of pre-Dynastic and Dynastic Egypt, stelae and textiles of the late Roman and Coptic periods, and textiles of Islamic Egypt. A small bronze statuette, said to have come from a tomb near the Kermanshah Pass in northwestern Persia, was also acquired by purchase.
In 1945 the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature at the University turned over to the Museum a collection of Babylonian clay tablets and seals. A recent gift to the Museum was an ikon of St. Demetrius, presented by Mrs. James Inglis. It is signed by the artist, Joannes Charalampos, and dated March 27, 1757. It is an excellent example of late Byzantine style.
Apart from antiquities the Museum has been the recipient of other gifts and transfers of property. Two bookcases, originally the property of the first President of the University, Dr. Henry Tappan, are now part of the Museum equipment. They had been presented to the University by Regent Junius E. Beal in 1927. They were part of the furnishings in the Regents' Room in Angell Hall until the time of the transfer of offices to the Administration Building in 1949. Two exhibit cases, formerly in the President's House on the campus, along with candelabra and wall brackets that had once been the property of Dr. Page 1461Tappan, were transferred to the Museum in 1951.
The Museum is continuing to build up a small reference library for the studies and research that are carried on within the Museum. Many books and periodicals from the library of Professor Kelsey were presented to the Museum by his heirs. The bequest of Orma Fitch Butler, the first Curator of the Museum, added some nine hundred volumes of particular value. Other donors who have made presentations of books and periodicals include Randolph G. Adams, Abd el Lateef Ahmed Aly, Zaky Aly, Floyd Ames, Santiago Artiaga, A. E. R. Boak, Campbell Bonner, Clayton R. Bredt, Jr., Mrs. R. Bishop Canfield, W. W. Gower, Miss Dorothy Markham, Miss Kathleen O'Doughlin, Frank E. Robbins, Alexander G. Ruthven, Peter Ruthven, Mrs. W. R. Taylor, John G. Winter, the General Library, the Michigan Historical Collections, the Museum of Anthropology, the Egyptian Embassy, the French Embassy, and the Commissioner for Archaeology in the Sudan.
The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology presents exhibits of the collections, conducts research, and prepares the results for publication. The antiquities from the excavations in the Near East form the main basis for the exhibits. They are arranged and documented with labels to present a logical account and sequence of various phases of life and living in the ancient past. Special consideration is given in the exhibits to the general needs of students. The storerooms and workrooms of the Museum are available for research by advanced students and scholars. Special exhibits are arranged from time to time for groups studying certain limited phases of ancient life.
The vast amount of original material in the Museum precludes the necessity of arranging loan exhibits, unless they happen to be intimately associated with research work. Such a loan exhibit was arranged during 1952-53 of the Fisher papyrus of the Book of the Dead, a document of fundamental importance in the study of ancient Egyptian life. At times the Museum has arranged and sent loan exhibits to other museums and schools.
The Museum building, Newberry Hall, is one of the oldest on the campus. The interior has undergone extensive changes and rehabilitation in order to adapt it to the needs of a museum. It is crowded and not fireproof, but care and caution have been taken, as far as possible, to safeguard the collections.
Although the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is designated as a research unit, members of the staff have given both undergraduate and graduate instruction. The collections in the Museum are at all times available to graduate students, several of whom have availed themselves of the opportunity to use this original source material as bases for doctoral dissertations.
The main publications of the Museum have been in the Humanistic Series of the University. This series is described elsewhere in this Part (see University Press). Volumes XXXIV, XLII-XLIV, and XLVII in this series, by various authors, are devoted to papyri and ostraca from Karanis and Dimé. Volumes XXV, XXX, and XXXIX contain the reports of the excavations at Karanis and Dimé. Volume XXXI deals with Ancient Textiles from Egypt in the University of Michigan Collections, by Lillian M. Wilson. Roman Glass from Karanis Found by the University of Michigan Archaeological Expedition in Egypt, 1924-29 by D. B. Harden is Volume XLI, Parthian Pottery from Seleucia on the Tigris by Neilson C. Debevoise is Volume XXXII. StampedPage 1462and Inscribed Objects from Seleucia on the Tigris and Coins from Seleucia on the Tigris by Robert H. McDowell were published as Volumes XXXVI and XXXVII. Figurines from Seleucia on the Tigris by Wilhelmina van Ingen is Volume XLV. The gnostic gems in the Museum collections have been described by Campbell Bonner and have been published in articles in various journals and in Volume XLIX of the Humanistic Series, titled Studies in Magical Amulets, Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian.
Special archaeological reports on Tel Umar, Iraq, the site of Seleucia, and on Sepphoris in Palestine by Leroy Waterman have been published in the University of Michigan Studies. From time to time articles dealing with parts of the collections have been published by scholars in archaeological and philological journals.
The staff of the Museum consists of a director, two curators, a technician, and a secretary. Student assistants are engaged on a part-time basis. The staff of the Museum in 1954 consisted of E. E. Peterson, Director; Louise A. Shier, Curator; and Elinor M. Husselman, Curator.