photography – The Kelsey Blog


Happy Birthday, Oleg Grabar

On this day, in 1929, Oleg Grabar was born in Strasbourg, France. Today would have been his 92nd birthday.

The son of eminent Byzantinist André Grabar, he attended the University of Paris and Harvard, earning diplomas in medieval and modern history. In 1955, he earned his doctorate from Princeton in Oriental languages and literatures. Although his interests later widened to include the Islamic world beyond the Middle East, Grabar first specialized in the art and architecture of the Umayyad dynasty (7th–8th-centuries). 

Grabar began his professional career at the University of Michigan, where he taught from 1954 to 1969. U-M was the first American institution to create a position for an Islamic art historian, and was unique in the United States at that time in its commitment to the study of the Muslim world.

in 1956, Grabar accompanied then-chairman of U-M’s History of Art Department George Forsyth (later director of the Kelsey Museum) on a trip through Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, and the Sinai Peninsula. Their goal was to identify an Islamic site to excavate. They settled on Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi, also known as Qasr al-Hayr East, an Umayyad-period urban settlement located in the semiarid Syrian steppe. Between 1964 and 1971, with the support of the Kelsey Museum, Grabar directed a large-scale archaeological excavation at the site. Drawn to the remote 8th-century complex in the hopes of uncovering a princely Umayyad palace, Grabar and his team instead stumbled upon a new type of urban settlement. A rich lifeworld emerged in the midst of their discoveries, and over the course of the excavation’s six seasons, close relationships formed between the American and Syrian archaeologists, historians, and workers who labored and lived at the site.

Aerial view of Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi.

A new Kelsey Museum publication examines the six seasons of excavation at Qasr al-Hayr. Co-authored by U-M professor of art history Christiane Gruber and graduate student Michelle Al-Ferzly, City in the Desert, Revisited features previously unpublished documents and over 80 black and white and color photographs from the Qasr al-Hayr dig and recounts the personal experiences and professional endeavors that shaped the fields of Islamic archaeology, art, and architectural history during their rise in the U.S. academy. Grabar remembered his time at Qasr al-Hayr fondly, writing: 

When I visited Damascus, Palmyra, and Qasr al-Hayr in April 1964 in order to organize the expedition planned for the Fall, I did not imagine that so many individuals would become involved in the work over the course of the next fourteen years. Nor did I realize in the crowded bus taking me back, on the eve of Easter, from Homs to Damascus, that, from the black tents of the Syrian steppes to the austere rooms of Damascus officials or to the institutions as far west as San Francisco, there would be men and women whose lives, affections, and memories share a few weeks or months of unbelievably concentrated energy devoted to Qasr al-Hayr. My gratitude to them extends much beyond the ideas they had or the work they did, both work and ideas being by now processed into a frozen book. For all of them taught me something of the joys and pleasure to be had from collective work and I hope all of them feel richer for it, as I do.

— Oleg Grabar, in the official excavation monograph, City in the Desert, p. ix.

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Available for purchase through ISD.


An interactive PDF of the book is available for free download through the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology website.

From the Archives #69

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

This summer we celebrated the birthdays of three figures who played a crucial role in the early days of what would become the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. In May we celebrated Francis W. Kelsey, namesake of the museum. June gave us the birthday of his son, Easton T. Kelsey, who accompanied Francis on his expeditions and has a collection of photographs in the archives. And in July we observed the birthday of George R. Swain, primary photographer for the University of Michigan in the early 1900s. These three provided a great deal of materials and inspiration for the Kelsey Museum, and their work is often cited to this day.

We want to continue the summer birthday theme, and turn our attention to another important individual in the history of the Kelsey Museum. On 6 August 1862, the world was introduced to Mary Isabelle Badger. Twenty-four years later, on 22 December 1886 in Niles, Michigan, Isabelle married Francis Willey Kelsey. They went on to have a long marriage that saw the birth of three children—Ruth, Charlotte, and Easton. 

Much of what we know about Isabelle Kelsey comes to us from John Pedley’s 2012 book, The Life and Work of Francis Willey Kelsey: Archaeology, Antiquity, and the Arts. We know she was born to a family in Niles, Michigan, and that her father was a businessman in the area. She enrolled in Lake Forest University, where she met young Francis Kelsey, who had just joined the faculty. Isabelle was interested in antiquities, writing about Livy and Roman art. She contributed to the Lake Forest Review on her studies, but also on topics such as Chinese immigration.

We know that throughout his career, busy as he was, Francis Kelsey remained a devoted family man. The archives are littered with his daily letters to Isabelle while he was traveling. And he made time for his children as well. Isabelle and Francis encouraged the children to read (Pedley lists examples such as the Bible, Iliad, Odyssey, and popular current books such as Little Women and Black Beauty), enjoy music, and take part in theater productions. 

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we present a selection of photographs from the Kelsey archives showing Isabelle Kelsey on her voyages with Francis and team. Francis did not travel alone, as we have seen him travel with family and friends, particularly on the voyage to Europe, Asia, and Africa following the conclusion of the Great War in 1919. In this collection of photographs, we see Isabelle in a variety of locations. She is seen taking in the Great Pyramids in Egypt, traveling by mule and donkey, and taking in the sights of the sites they visited. We have already seen many stops along this journey, from England to France to Belgium to Turkey to Palestine to Egypt. And then they returned back to England after a long year of travel.

It is not hard to imagine that on these trips Francis relied on Isabelle and had a great many conversations about what they saw, what they were planning, and future work. Though the Kelsey Museum does not currently contain any of Isabelle’s work, we do know that she was a curious, intelligent, and engaged person. 

Mary Isabelle Kelsey died on 3 July 1944, 17 years after the passing of her husband. She left behind her three children and several grandchildren. The Kelsey Museum owes much to her and her presence, as she was a champion of Francis and his work. Happy birthday, Mary Isabelle.

Studio portrait of Mary Isabelle Kelsey. Detroit, Michigan, 1919. Photo by Frank Scott Clark. KAP00472.
“A bit of the old city wall, cathedral towers in the distance. Professor and Mrs. Kelsey on the wall, but not very clear.” York, England. September 18, 1919. Photo by George Swain. KS010.02.
“In the square in front of the cathedral. Mrs. Kelsey and Rediger, our chauffeur and the army Cadillac.” Rheims, France, October 17, 1919. Photo by George Swain. KS.019.10.
“Another view, seniors of the school, at the left. Mrs. Christie, Mrs. Kelsey and Dr. Christie. Professor Kelsey at
the right.” St. Paul’s School at Tarsus, Turkey, Tarsus. January 2 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS066.07.
“General entrance to Propylaea and present entrance to ruins. Mrs. Kelsey and Mrs. Norton near top of steps. Ancient steps to Propylaea missing.” Baalbek, Lebanon. January 13, 1920. Photo by George Swain. 7.0212.
“Our party starting for the Mount of Olives. Beginning at the left; Easton Kelsey, Mrs. E.M. Norton, G.R. Swain, Mrs. Kelsey, the guide and Professor Kelsey.” Jerusalem. January 21, 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS111.01.
“Mrs. Kelsey on donkey, with guide, under olive tree, Mt. of Olives.” Jerusalem, January 21, 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS111.06.
“Lunch by the Inn. At the left, Dr. Worrel, Professor Kelsey, Mrs. Norton, Mrs. Kelsey, Easton Kelsey. Crusaders’ castle in the distance.” Inn of the Good Samaritan, near Jericho, January 22, 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS113.04.
“Mrs. Kelsey and Mrs. Norton by the flooded Jordan, near Al Kantara.” January 23, 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS114.06.
“Pyramids. Mrs. Kelsey on donkey with guide in foreground, Kephren and Cheops in the distance.” Cairo, Egypt, March 25, 1920. Photo by George Swain. KS155.08.
“Pyramids. Mrs. F.W. Kelsey in the desert. Cheops and Kephren in the distance.” Cairo, Egypt. March 26, 1920. Photo by Easton Kelsey. KK089.
“Sakkara trip. Guide with Mrs. Kelsey on a donkey, ruined pyramid in the background.” Saqqara, Egypt, March 30, 1920. Photo by Easton Kelsey. KK118.
“Sakkara trip. Mrs. Kelsey, Easton Kelsey, and G.R. Swain on mules, Sakkara trip; guides by road, palms back.” March 30, 1920. Photo by Easton Kelsey. KK119.

From the Archives #68

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

We have had many reasons to celebrate this summer in this blog. In May, we celebrated the birthday of Francis Kelsey, born in 1858. Kelsey was an important person in the history of classical studies and archaeology at the University of Michigan, and an instrumental member of the community. His influence can be seen throughout campus.

In June, we celebrated the birthday of Kelsey’s son, Easton. Easton played a part in Kelsey Museum history, though his influence was not as strong as his father’s. Still, Easton was present on numerous U-M projects and excavations. He worked closely with George Swain, and his photographs give us glimpses into the life of this party in the 1920s, along with additional photography of sites, people, and archaeological artifacts.

We are grateful to Easton for what he did for the Kelsey Museum, but it is George Swain who provided the bulk of the photographs in the Kelsey Archives. He was the primary photographer on these voyages, and it was his responsibility to document the trips, photograph artifacts, and show life as it was during this time. For this month’s “From the Archives,” we celebrate George Robert Swain, born 15 July 1866. Over the course of years, we have presented much of Swain’s work on this blog.

George Swain as a young man.

Swain was born in Meredith, New Hampshire. In 1888 he moved to California, where he passed the teacher’s examination. This began a career in teaching, one he continued throughout his life. In 1897 and 1900, Swain earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, at the University of Michigan. Over the years, Swain lived in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, working as an educator and principal.

In 1899, Swain embarked on a bicycle trip across Europe. During this 2,000-mile trip, he photographed Caesar’s battlefields as he visited France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. Swain sold these photographs to educators via a catalogue he produced (the Kelsey Museum has copies of this catalogue). The catalogue caught the eye of Francis Kelsey, who in 1913 hired Swain to be the University of Michigan’s principal photographer.

As U-M photographer, Swain accompanied Kelsey on his various trips, spent time in Karanis documenting the excavation, and photographed artifacts and papyri held in various collections across Europe. Following Kelsey’s death in 1927, Swain focused his efforts on the creation of photographs for use in U-M classes. He had an office in the U-M Library, though he developed many of his photographs in the darkroom in his own home on Packard Avenue. Swain held this position until his death on 8 April 1947.

We owe much to George Swain and what he accomplished as a U-M photographer. This month we highlight Swain as he traveled across Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. In this selection of photographs, we see him in Cairo, having tea atop a pyramid, in Palestine, France, England, Turkey, and Sicily. And we end with image KS153.06, showing a photograph taken at the site of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, which Swain titled, “Footprints in the sands of time.”


“Pyramids. ‘Footprints in the sands of Time’ — of G.R. Swain in the edge of the desert, Kephren in the distance.” Cairo, Egypt, March 25, 1920. KS153.06. Photo by George Swain.

From the Archives #67

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

For our last “From the Archives,” we celebrated the birthday of Francis W. Kelsey, professor of Latin at the University of Michigan from 1893 to 1927, and namesake of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. We know a lot about Professor Kelsey through his letters, his writings, and his work (beautifully distilled in John Griffiths Pedley’s biography, The Life and Work of Francis Willey Kelsey: Archaeology, Antiquity, and the Arts). Kelsey’s body of work is quite impressive, and it is no wonder why he was regarded as an expert during his time.

One other fact about Kelsey we learn through his letters is how devoted a father he was. In this blog and in Pedley’s book we learn more about Kelsey’s personal life, his background, and his family. He wrote to his wife, Mary Isabelle, on a seemingly daily basis when traveling, and often corresponded with his three children, Ruth, Charlotte, and Easton. In a previous blog post, we dedicated Father’s Day to Francis Kelsey, and highlighted his relationship with his offspring.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we take time to shine the spotlight on the youngest Kelsey, Easton. Easton Trowbridge Kelsey (named after his great-grandmother on his father’s side) was born 22 June 1904 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a full decade after eldest sibling Ruth (born 1894), and seven years after Charlotte (born 1897). He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and received his AB from the University of Michigan.

From the Kelsey archives:

“During the 1920s Easton Kelsey traveled extensively with his father in Europe and the Near East, as photographer’s assistant and chauffeur. Mr. Kelsey entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1930 and was initially posted to the Foreign Service School of the Dept. of State, followed by assignment to Cairo. Subsequent assignments included Beirut, Oslo, Fort William, Port Arthur, Toronto, Lisbon, and Sao Paulo.

After his retirement from the U.S. Consular Service, Easton Kelsey settled in the Toronto area, where he served as secretary of the Quetico Foundation. He and his wife, the former Vida Kennedy McClure, made a number of gifts to the Kelsey Museum, for the most part, ancient coins which they had collected in Europe and the Near East. Mr. Kelsey passed away on December 18, 1975 in Toronto Canada.”

We have had a chance to see Easton often through these blog posts, as he traveled with his father and his colleagues in Europe, southwest Asia, and northern Africa. 

This month, we highlight not only photographs of Easton during his travels (George Swain often placed him next to the monuments he was photographing, for scale), but also his own contributions to the archives. Easton had his own Kodak which he used to capture the sights and sites he visited on his travels. His 500+ photographs are indicated in the archives by the prefix “KK” (Kodak Kelsey). In the sample below, we see photographs of Easton standing next to the pyramids in Giza, with his family in Jerusalem, in Istanbul (then Constantinople), in a wrecked vehicle in France at the end of WWI, standing in a wheat field in England, in Greece. And we also get a glimpse of what he was seeing: views of Dimé (ancient Soknopaiou Nesos) and Cairo, the Parthenon, his mother taking in the pyramids at Giza and Sakkara, his bunk on a ship crossing the Mediterranean. He even captured Swain at work in Patmos, Greece. 

This June, we wish the youngest Kelsey child a very happy birthday. He was much loved by his father and was able to enjoy some amazing adventures with him. The archives are a testament to that relationship, and his photographs attest to the excitement they shared together. Happy birthday.

“Wrecked armored car, camouflaged, probably French, on the Miette side of the slope of the ridge. Easton Kelsey inside for scale.” Berry-au-Bac and vicinity, France. October 18, 1919. KS021.05.
“Part of train and Easton Kelsey at Agram.” Zagreb. November 16, 1919. KS024.01.
“Nearer view of Easton Kelsey and the side of the sleeping car, at Agram.” Zagreb. November 16, 1919. KS024.02.
“Easton Kelsey by the parapet of one of the Seven Towers.” Constantinople, Turkey. December 24, 1919. KS053.12.
“Easton Kelsey by the flag in the stern of the launch.” Constantinople, Turkey. December 24, 1919. KS054.08.
“Our party starting for the Mount of Olives. Beginning at the left; Easton Kelsey, Mrs. E. M. Norton, G. R. Swain, Mrs. Kelsey, the guide and Professor Kelsey.” Jerusalem. January 21, 1920. KS111.01.
“Easton Kelsey by the base of one of colossi.” Karnak. February 13 or 14, 1920. KS140.24.
“Statues in the second court.” Karnak. February 13, 1920. KK010.
“Ruined colossus of Rameses II, Easton Kelsey on top.” Karnak. February 13 or 14, 1920. KK012.
“Two of the statues in the Temple of Ammon. Easton Kelsey for scale.” Karnak. February 13 or 14, 1920. KK025.
“Guide, with Mrs. Ellen M. Norton (veiled) on a donkey.” February 13 or 14, 1920. KK033.
“Statues of Thotmes III, 7th pylon, temple of Ammon.” Karnak. February 13 or 14, 1920. KK034.
“Easton Kelsey standing in front of painted reliefs.” Deir el-Bahri, February 13 or 14, 1920.
“Sakkara trip. Easton Kelsey on a donkey near the site of Memphis.” Near Memphis, Egypt, February 17, 1920. KK041
“Shepheard’s. Easton Kelsey on an upper balcony of the hotel.” Cairo. March 1, 1920. KK071.
“Pyramids. The Sphinx and Cheops, with sundry tourists and other animals.” Cairo. March 3, 1920. KK073.
“Pyramids. Mrs. F. W. Kelsey in the desert. Cheops and Kephren in the distance.” Cairo. March 26, 1920. KK089.
“Pyramids. Easton Kelsey by the base of the first pyramid, Cheops. Shows size of stones.” Cairo. March 26, 1920. KS156.10.
“Sakkara trip. Mrs. Kelsey, Easton Kelsey, and G. R. Swain on mules, Sakkara trip; guides by road, palms back.” March 30, 1920. KK119.
“Sakkara trip. Guide with Mrs. Kelsey on a donkey, ruined pyramid in the background.” Cairo. March 30, 1920. KK118.
“Mosque of Ibn Tuloun, looking from the minaret toward the Citadel and Mosque of Ali.” Cairo. April 19, 1920. KK137.
“Mosque of Ibn Tuloun, view from the minaret; somewhat similar to KK 135.” Cairo. April 19, 1920. KK138.
“Dimay. Ruins of the temple enclosure, Dimay.” Dimé, Egypt. April 27, 1920. KK156.
“Smith-Thompson No. 212 (U.S. Destroyer). Easton Kelsey’s bunk.” Mediterranean, Alexandria to Patmos. May 3, 1920. KK176.
“Monastery. G.R. Swain photographing manuscripts on the roof of the monastery.” Patmos, Greece. May 7, 1920. KK195.
“Views. Easton Kelsey on a rock in the foreground. Looking toward the harbor and monastery, from north of La Scala.” Patmos, Greece. May 8, 1920. KK204.
“General views. Splendid wall of squared stone at the Acropolis, bevelled down the exposed corner. Easton Kelsey for scale. This is the finest masonry on the Acropolis.” On verso of photo: “Patmos. Some of the masonry on the summit of the acropolis. No one knows when or by whom the stone work (of excellent technique) was constructed.” May 15, 1920. 7.0386
“Bosporus. Roumeli Hissar. Detail of the stairway inside with Easton Kelsey carrying a camera case.” Constantinople, Turkey. June 14, 1920. KS203.06.
“Acropolis. Parthenon, first view as you come up through the Propylaea.” Athens, Greece. June 22, 1920. KK271.
“Cookham. An English wheat field, with Easton Kelsey standing in the grain.” Cookham, England. July 18, 1920. KK311.
“Easton Kelsey, Swain, guard and the truck.” Ak Shehir Chaussée, Turkey. September 2, 1924. KR098.06.

From the Archives #66

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

A lot of wonderful events take place in the month of May. The University of Michigan often holds its commencement ceremony toward the beginning of the month. The peony gardens at Nichols Arboretum are ready to bloom. The weather warms up, and Ann Arborites are going outside to enjoy the sun and warmth. Families gather at parks, people start floating down the cascades of the Huron River.

May is also the month we get to celebrate the birthday of our museum’s namesake, Francis Willey Kelsey. Francis Kelsey was born in Ogden, New York, on 23 May 1858. Francis studied at the University of Rochester, where he received his BA in 1880. Rochester also awarded him a PhD in 1886, and an honorary LLD in 1910. Professor Kelsey taught at Lake Forest University from 1880 to 1889, when he was hired at the University of Michigan. Kelsey would remain here until his death in 1927, coincidentally also in May (14 May 1927)

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we celebrate Francis Kelsey with a selection of photographs during his time at Michigan. The photographs are primarily from Europe and Southwest Asia and North Africa. For more on Francis Kelsey, we encourage our readers to read John Pedley’s fantastic book, The Life and Work of Francis Willey Kelsey: Archaeology, Antiquity, and the Arts (2011). Professor Pedley scoured the Archives to find details about Kelsey’s life that informed his choices as a scholar and professor.

Professor Kelsey was a pioneer in his field and a highly respected scholar. His presence at the University of Michigan is still felt 163 years after his birth. How he changed campus is felt outside of the Kelsey Museum and Classics Department, as he had served as president of the University Musical Society as well. During his tenure, he collaborated with Albert Kahn to build Hill Auditorium. His frequent communication with University presidents showed the level of influence he had on campus.

Many readers know him best through his involvement in archaeological projects. As a young scholar, he worked with German archaeologist August Mau to publish on Pompeii. He visited Carthage, where in 1893 he purchased the first artifact that would become the collection of the Kelsey Museum. Through his efforts, funds were raised for the excavations at Karanis, Carthage, and Pisidian Antioch. Karanis, as many know, went on to be the most important of these projects, and a significant portion of the Kelsey’s collection is derived from this site.

To celebrate the life of Kelsey, we share here several photographs from the archives. Image 5.7963 is an official portrait of Kelsey, taken in Ann Arbor. We also see him throughout the Old World, as he rides a donkey in Palestine (KS111.01), in the company of his wife and son. In KS094.04 and KS071.06 Kelsey is speaking with locals at Baalbek and in Turkey, respectively. We see him throughout Turkey in KS066.07, KS056.08, and KR098.08, where he was involved with relief efforts and orphanages. Kelsey and his wife are captured in York where they pose on the old city wall (KS010.02) and among tourists in Edinburgh (KS008.02). While in Egypt, Kelsey was in search of a location for future excavations (he found three: Karanis, Dimé, and Terenouthis). In KK061, we see Kelsey touring Theadelphia, Egypt. Finally, we return to Carthage in 1925, where Kelsey worked with Père Delattre on the excavations of the site (7.2055).

The University and Kelsey Museum specifically owe a great deal to Francis Kelsey. His presence in Ann Arbor had lasting effects on campus. His work is still being studied today. Thanks to Kelsey, there are several lifetimes worth of material to study and research. All of that is then shared with the student body, which was one of his goals. Happy birthday, Francis W. Kelsey. Thank you for all your efforts and work.

black and white portrait
5.7963. Portrait of Professor Francis W. Kelsey.
black and white photo of tourists in Jerusalem on donkeys.
KS111.01. “Our party starting for the Mount of Olives. Beginning at the left: Easton Kelsey, Mrs. E.M. Norton, G.R. Swain, Mrs. Kelsey, the guide and Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey.” Jerusalem, January 21, 1920.
group of people
KS094.04. “Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey buys some knucklebones.” Baalbek, Lebanon. January 14, 1920.
black and white photo of group of people.
KS071.06. “Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey in the road talking with a number of natives. Wheel of Reo car (Speed Wagon) at right.” Turkey, January 4, 1920.
black and white group photo.
KS066.07. “Another view, seniors of the school, at the left. Mrs. Christie, Mrs. Kelsey and Dr. Christie. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey at the right. (St. Paul’s School at Tarsus.).” Tarsus, Turkey. January 2, 1920.
black and white photo of three people outside a train station.
KS056.08. “Just a snap shot on a station platform. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey at the left. Well built station. Turkey, between Derindje and Konia.” December 28, 1919.
KR098.08. “Woodbridge, guard and Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey, with the sedan. Turkey, Ak Shehir Chaussée.” September 2, 1924.
black and white photo of the old city wall at York.
KS010.02. “A bit of the old city wall, cathedral towers in the distance. Professor (Francis W.) and Mrs. Kelsey on the wall, but not very clear.” York, England. September 18, 1919.
black and white group shot at Edinburgh Castle.
KS008.02. “A group of tourists in the Castle. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey near the center.” Edinburgh, Scotland. September 17,
black and white photo of two men walking among ruins.
KK061. “Theadelphia. General view in the ruins. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey walking across the foreground.” Theadelphia, Egypt. February 28, 1920.
black and white photo of a group of men.
7.2055. “People. Staff group at Precinct of Tanit. (Beginning at the left, Peterson, French, Count de Prorok, Père Hugenot, Washington, Abbé Chabot, Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey and Père Delattre.)” May 1925.

From the Archives #65

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

Recent “From the Archives” blog posts have focused on Francis Kelsey and his team as they traveled through Europe, southwest Asia, and North Africa. The trip commenced in 1919 and concluded in 1920, during which time the group traveled from Michigan to New York City, to Scotland and London, France, and through Europe until they reached Turkey. They continued through to Egypt on this trip as well. Posts from 2019 and 2020 show these adventures, and their subsequent return to London and America.

A blog post from April 2018 also showcased some of these travels, and how far the team managed to get on this trip. On April 27, 1920, the Michigan team visited the site of Dimé (Dimay; ancient Soknopaiou Nesos) in the Egyptian Fayum. The blog post highlighted a single roll of film, KS175, which showed the remains of the city, and the team’s approach and quick visit. 

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we revisit this trip to Dimé by showcasing more photographs from this day. Though Kelsey had other goals for this year-long trip, he was keen on finding potential excavation sites for Michigan. The team wouldn’t return to excavate nearby Karanis until 1924, and to Dimé until 1931 (after Kelsey’s death in 1927), but he was already laying the groundwork for these excavations back in 1920. The 2018 post showed but a few images George Swain took. This month we show even more photos he took using other equipment, including a Cirkut camera in order to capture a panoramic view of the site. We also have several photographs taken by Easton Kelsey.

Kelsey and his team were able to see all this in a single day; Swain’s photographs from the next day show they were back on the road visiting other sites in Fayum. Even today it takes a long while to reach the site of Dimé; it would have been an even longer trip in the 1920s. This is one reason why the Michigan team spent only one season excavating there. 

While Michigan spent only one season at Dimé, Kelsey Museum friends from Italy have spent a number of years studying the site. Amazingly, many of the walls seen here remain standing. Still, in the course of over 100 years since Kelsey’s visit, much has changed, which is why these archival photographs remain such an important resource for ongoing scholarship.

From the Archives #61

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

Over the course of 2020, we have been following the travels of Francis Kelsey and his team as they made their way across Europe. They arrived in 1919 and stayed through August 1920. The past few months here on “From the Archives,” we went back to the start of their journey, recounting the team’s arrival in Europe in 1919. We have watched them land in England, travel about, and make their way to the mainland.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we join the team as they end 1919. In early December, they were still in Bulgaria, where we left them last month. By December 3, they started their train trip from Sofia to Istanbul. In this series of photographs, we see the train and the sights along the way. It seems that Swain was fond of capturing their entire adventure, which so often meant their modes of transportation. Thus far on this trip, we have seen trains, and ships, cars, and more trains.

Swain also made sure to capture life as they saw it. People working, people milling about, people living their lives. We have seen his attention to architecture, or the remains of it after the ravages of war. On their way to Turkey, we see the same. Men at the station, the landscapes, and buildings along the way.

Once in Istanbul, Swain continued his relentless capture, giving us glimpses of the sites of the city, such as the Hagia Sophia, the bazaar, the Galata Bridge and Tower, the Blue Mosque (Mosque of Ahmed), and the “Bosporus” (Bosphorus). Along the waters, we see numerous ships and boats, including military ships from Italy, the US, and Greece.

After Christmas, the team left Istanbul (“Constantinople”) and traveled some more. More trains, more train stations, more views of the countryside. And more people they met along the way. We see Francis and Easton Kelsey, as well as George Swain himself, posing throughout. We are also allowed to see some of the repercussions of recent events. Miss Cushman’s “relief” kindergarten and all the children there. In photo 7.0156, we see an Armenian refugee camp. Francis Kelsey was heavily involved in the relief effort following the Armenian genocide. Later on this trip, they would spend more time with Armenians and with refugees in Syria.

For their last day of 1919, Kelsey and team were in Adana, not far from the modern Syrian border (and near Aleppo). Here they got more views of the locals, the buildings, the station, and life in general. And more relief work.

Swain was quite prolific with his photo capture. For December 1919 alone, we have records for 376 Swain photographs. We are presenting only 99 this month, but even these show the range of his photographs.

By this point, we have covered the majority of their visit to Europe and beyond, recounting the start of the journey as well as the tail end of the trip. Since the majority of their trip occurred in 1920, and we have already accompanied them throughout 2020, we will take our leave of the team here in Turkey. For glimpses of how the journey continued, be sure to go back and view previous blog posts from 2020, where we present their visits to Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere.

Wherever you find yourself this coming new year’s eve, we wish you the best and a happy holiday. Thank you for following Kelsey and Swain’s adventures this year. In 2021, we will return with new series and memories from the archives. Happy new year!

December 2, 1919: Sofia, Bulgaria

“Residence of the Archibishop near the cathedral.” KS040.05.
“General view, from the steps of the new cathedral, across the square to the mountains beyond — latter clearly shown.” KS040.11.
“Interior of the new cathedral, toward one transept; Christ in the Temple.” KS040.07.

December 3–4: Train ride from Sofia to Istanbul (“Constantinople”)

“One of the three engines that pulled us up out of the Sofia plain. Made in Germany in 1917.” KS041.05.
“Dining and sleeping cars on the train — express.” KS041.07.
“Just over the divide — train, station, mountains.” KS041.09.
“The engine that pulled us into Constantinople. Had to stop to get its breath at the foot of one small grade.” KS042.02.
“Typical group at a station, men and women.” December 4. KS042.03.

December 5–25: Istanbul (“Constantinople” / “Stamboul”)

“The umbrella mender sitting on the sidewalk on a typical street.” December 5. KS043.04.
“Typical view on one of the modern streets. At this time, signs in French were allowed.” December 5. KS043.05.
“Up the Golden Horn from the Galata Bridge, ferry steamer in the foreground.” December 5. KS043.07.
“View toward Pera and the Galata Tower.” December 5. KS043.11.
“The Galata Bride, looking toward Pera.” December 5. KS043.12.
“From the Galata Tower, toward Stamboul, into the light. Mosques on sky line. Glint of Sea of Marmora in distance.” December 5. KS044.09.
“Pair of buffalo oxen with loaded cart, probably sacks of grain.” December 5. KS045.03.
“Men unloading a small boat.” December 5. KS045.06.
No caption. Group of men. December 5. KS045.08
“Sancta Sophia, from the square.” December 5. KS045.09.
“A view on Pera Street, the great tourist shopping district, and the modern part of Constantinople.” December 7. KS045.12.
“Another view of St. Sophia.” December 7. KS046.01.
“The mosque of Ahmed, near St. Sophia.” December 9. KS046.08.
“Turkish houses with wooden screens at the windows, in Stamboul.” December 9. KS046.09.
“Shop where they pressed the Turkish tabbooses or fezes.” (With the passing of the fez this must be a vanished industry in 1927). December 9. KS046.10.
“A tiny cobbler’s shop by the street in Stamboul.” December 9. KS046.11.
“Street view with Turkish women — little off focus.” December 9. KS046.11.
“Glimpse into courtyard in Stamboul.” December 9. KS047.02.
“Men washing their feet before entering a mosque.” December 9. KS047.03.
“Entrance to the shop of the antiquarian. Andronicos M. Kidaoglou, Imameli Han No. 10, (Merdjan), Stamboul.” December 9. KS047.07.
“A busy corner near the Egyptian bazaar.” December 9. KS047.09.
“Young man having a letter written by the old public letter writer. Near the Egyptian bazaar.” December 9. KS047.10.
“Crowd of people by the booths of the Egyptian bazaar.” December 9. KS047.11.
“A.C.R.N.E. (later “N.E.R.”) bakery, exterior. Formerly an Armenian bakery. Capacity 10,000 loaves a day, but could be doubled with full supply of flour. Bread furnished free to orphan establishments, balance of bread sold for 10 piastres a loaf — ‘about half the cost when stealing is deducted’ — Maj. Arnold.” December 18. 7.0096.
“N.E.R. bakery, sacks of flour in the storeroom up stairs.” December 18. 7.0099.
“Scutari. Bargaining for charcoal.” December 21. KS049.03.
“Scutari. Row of old wooden Turkish houses near the cemetery — of such are fire hazards made.” December 21. KS050.12.
“A pile of mine sweepers on the dock.” December 22. KS051A.01.
“An Italian destroyer at an anchor in the harbor.” December 22. KS051A.02.
“U.S.S. GALVESTON moored to the dock. Taken from the shore.” December 22. 7.0095.
“Looking up along the shores of the Bosporus from the U.S.S. Galveston.” December 22. KS051A.03.
“The old U.S.S. Mississippi, now Greek.” December 22. KS051A.04.
“Bosporus. Anatoli Hissar, Castle of Asia, from the water.” December 22. KS051B.01.
No caption. Bosphorus. December 22. KS051B.06.
“Bosporus. Roumeli Hissar at sunset, into the light.” December 22. KS051B.10.
“Two of the men servants at the Continental Hotel. Duplicate of KS052.02.” December 24. KS052.02.
“Bread for sale.” December 24. KS052.07.
“Porter carrying a large bureau with mirror, on his shoulders.” December 24. KS052.08.
“Front of the Continental Hotel.” December 24. KS052.09.
“Scene in a fruit market.” December 24. KS052.11.
“Easton Kelsey by the parapet of one of the Seven Towers.” December 24. KS053.12.
“Bosporus. From the hill back, looking through between the two outer towers of Roumeli Hissar, across the Bosporus toward Anatoli Hissar and the surrounding country. Long focus lens — better view than the preceding — 70127.” On the verso of the photograph is written in Swain’s hand: “Roumeli Hissar where Mohammedans crossed into Europe. Bosphorus 1/2 mile (west?).” 7.0129.
“The crew of the U.S.N. launch that took us down to the Seven Towers.” December 24. KS054.01.
“Easton Kelsey by the flag in the stern of the launch.” December 24. KS054.08.
“G.R. Swain by the flag in the stern of the launch. Undertimed.” December 24. KS054.09.
“Mr. Perry, Mr. Bristol and Mr. Stevens, photographed in the yard of the Y.M.C.A.” (Last picture taken of Mr. Perry before he was shot on the Aintab road.) Second copy of photo has its own caption: “Left to right: James Perry, killed near Aintab, February 1; Secretary Bristol and Associate Secretary Stevens, of the Y.M.C.A. Association in Constantinople, photograph made December 25, 1919. Photograph by George R. Swain.” December 25. 7.0012.

December 27–28: Train ride from Derince (“Derindje”) to Konya (“Konia”)

“The A.C.R.N.E. restaurant at Derindje. Derindje was the landing point for stuff by steamer from the U.S.A. and other places at this time.” December 27. KS056.01.
“Approaching Affiun Kara Hissar, the junction point for the line from Smyrna. High bluffs near the line.” December 28. KS056.05.
“Just a crowd by the train at a station.” December 28. DKS056.06.
“Just a snap shot on a station platform. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey at the left. Well built station.” December 28. KS056.08.
“Line of five Hindoo soldiers at a station.” December 28. KS056.09.
“Group of native men at one of the stations.” December 28. KS056.10.
“A native omnibus — araba. This is a four-wheeled vehicle.” December 28. KS056.11.
“Party that travelled down through Asia Minor in freight cars. Same as 7.147, except that in this one the Armenian cook is standing in the door of the Diner.” (Figure on left with hat and topcoat looks very much like F. Kelsey. DSB.) Ula Kushla, Turkey. December 28. 7.0148.
“Our four freight cars de luxe. The Armenian cook is standing in the door of the dining car.” December 28. KS057.05.
“Five of the party in the door of the dining car. The man is Major Arnold.” December 28. KS057.04.

December 29: Konya (“Konia”)

“A poverty stricken woman in the street.” KS057.09.
“A group of ‘relief’ kindergarten children. Miss Cushman’s work.” KS057.10.
“A new boy coming to the school. Miss Cushman’s work.” KS057.11.
“Miss Cushman talking to some boys.” KS057.12.
“Children doing kindergarten exercises.” KS058.01.
“Another kindergarten exercise — little out of focus.” KS058.03.
“General view of Miss Cushman’s ‘plant’, the American Polyclinic.” (Used as a hotel in September 1924). KS058.05.
“Some native women, veiled, going by the fountain in front of Miss Cushman’s.” KS058.07.
“The Reo Speed Wagon in front of the entrance to Miss Cushman’s – the American Polyclinic.” KS058.08.
“Street view — shutter too slow.” KS058.09.
“Women by a mosque — likely beggars.” KS058.10.
“General view of the approach to the Museum.” (Practically unchanged in 1924). KS059.02.
“Ruins of the Armenian church.” KS059.05.

December 30: Train ride from Konya to Adana

“A caravan encamped, somewhere south of Konia.” KS059.09.
“A near view of some camels.” KS059.10.
“Crowd on the station platform at Eregli.” KS059.11.
“Shepherd with wide coat — moved a little.” KS060.05.
“Group, most of the men of our party, in front of the A.C.R.N.E. house at Ula Kushla.” KS060.09.
“A glimpse into the heart of the Taurus range.” KS061.05.
“The station at Tchefte Khan.” KS062.01.
“Station and mountain, taken from top of train.” KS062.09.

December 31: Adana

“General view of part of Armenian refugee camp at Adana. Armenians were moved here from Aleppo. Tents were ditched and comfortably dry.” 7.0156.
“Demobilized Turkish soldiers at the Adana station.” KS062.12.
“Car with BAGDAD in metal letters on the side — railway car.” KS063.02.
“Camels by the station.” KS064.02.
“Group of fairly well dressed natives, probably mostly Turkish.” KS064.06.
“Exterior of the Adana station. Expanse of sloppy mud, woman with basket walking through it.” KS063.05.
“Woman (Armenian?) and child in street by wall.” KS063.07.
“Group of natives bolling cotton by hand, on the sidewalk just outside the hospital.” KS063.09.
“Gateway to the hospital, American.” KS063.08.
“Very similar to the preceding, KS063.10, but group in slightly different position.” KS063.11.
“General view along the corridor (arcade) of the Hospital.” KS063.12.
“An English industrial “plant” — relief work. Interior, time exposure, some moved.” KS064.08.
“Group of Miss Webb’s girls in the courtyard with looms, machines, etc. Three or four Armenian girl-mothers at the left in the foreground.” 7.0154.
“At Miss Webb’s school. Three Armenian girls and the rugs they had been weaving.” On the verso of the photograph is written in Swain’s hand: “Girls of Adana, weaving rugs.” 7.0153.

From the Archives #60

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

Over the past few months, we have been recounting Francis Kelsey’s, George Swain’s, and the rest of the team’s year-long trip to Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Back in September of 1919, the team made their way from Ann Arbor to Detroit and then to New York City in order to cross the Atlantic so they could visit those areas affected by the Great War (World War I). The trip lasted through August 1920, when they returned to Michigan. 

At the onset of the trip, the team landed in the United Kingdom and made their way south, visiting several towns and taking stock of the land which had been ravaged by war for years. They also were able to connect with colleagues and friends. Over the course of months, they made their way across Europe, heading toward Greece, Turkey, and Egypt.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we present the continuation of this trip. In November 1919, the team found themselves primarily in Romania (“Roumania”), Bulgaria, and Serbia (“Servia”). They began the month in Paris (KS023.02, mandatory Eiffel Tower view), then made their way east through Switzerland and arrived in Serbia. In Serbia, we mostly see the surrounding landscapes, the train station, and some soldiers. We also catch a glimpse of Easton Kelsey, Francis Kelsey’s son. It was not just the University of Michigan faculty and staff on this trip, but some family members as well.

The team continued their voyage to Romania, staying in Bucharest. Swain captures life there, from the view from their hotel room to the procession of the royal carriage. We also see children (bootblacks) waiting for work, various buildings they came across, the market and all its wares for sale (soap, sausages, rugs, books, etc.), and an interesting ad for Ford automobiles. Outside of Bucharest, in Adam Klissi (modern Adamclisi), we see a selection of photos for the Tropaeum Traiani, which was originally constructed in 109 CE. 

Swain and the rest visit other regions of Romania, where they see the effects of the war, before they arrive in Bulgaria. Once in Sofia, they visit the museum, observe the locals, and admire the buildings. And here is where they ended in late November 1919. Though already in Europe for three months, their journey is still just beginning. Kelsey and crew will soon arrive in Turkey, where they will ring in 1920. Be sure to return next month to see the amazing views they will treat us to.

November 9, 1919: Paris, France

“The Eiffel tower at sunset.” KS023.02.

November 15: Brigue, Switzerland

“Ascending the valley toward Brigue; shows head of train as well as view.” KS023.04.
“Parts of two cars of the Simplon-Orient Express. Station, Brigue.” KS023.06.
“Looking ahead toward the mountains, from the station at Brigue.” KS023.07.

November 16: Train ride heading east, with stops at Zagreb (“Agram”) and Timisoara (“Temesvan”)

“At Steinbach, looking ahead. Simplon-Orient Express.” KS023.10.
“At Steinbach, looking back.” KS023.09.
“Train and station at Agram.” KS024.03.
“Part of train and Easton Kelsey at Agram.” KS024.01.
“Nearer view of Easton Kelsey and the side of the sleeping car, at Agram.” KS024.02.
“The engine that pulled the train. Taken at Agram.” KS024.05.
“Soldiers put off the train beyond Agram — tried to ride on sleeping car in corridor.” KS024.07.
“Train in station somewhere east of Agram.” KS024.08.
“The station at Temesvan.” KS024.09.
“A few French soldiers at … station.” KS024.11.

November 18–25: Bucharest, Romania

“From the window of the Hotel Bristol toward the Carpati restaurant.” November 18. KS024.12.
“A row of bootblacks — enough mud to give many a job.” November 18. KS025.02.
“Mounted guards waiting for the royal carriage — opening of parliament.” November 20. KS025.03.
“Soldiers waiting for the royal carriage.” November 20. KS025.04.
“Royal carriage — king and queen going to open Parliament.” November 20. KS025.06.
“Street view in the better part of Bucharest.” November 20. KS025.08.
“Statuary group at head of street out beyond the Hotel Bristol.” November 20. KS025.11.
“A street view and some boot blacks.” November 20. KS026.01.
“Ponies with driver and a cartload of brush.” November 20. KS026.02.
“Part of a squad of cavalry.” November 20. KS026.08.
“Nearer view of the breech of the big Skoda gun out by the Exposition grounds.” November 20. KS026.11.
“Adam Klissi reliefs. General view showing arrangement of slabs on the terrace by the Archaeological Museum.” November 21. 7.0059.
“Adam Klissi reliefs. General view of about eight slabs of relief.” November 21. KS027.06.
“Adam Klissi reliefs. Two slabs, one of soldiers with banners.” November 21. KS027.04.
“Cart, driver and one ox, detail of the yoke used.” November 21. KS027.10.
“Woman trying to sweep up mud — one of the ‘White Wings’ force.” November 21. KS028.11.
“Cart with body woven like a basket.” November 23. KS029.04.
“Street vendors by the market.” November 23. KS029.09.
“By the market, selling things from small tables.” November 23. KS030.07.
“Pork on the hoof — drove of hogs passing along the street.” November 23. KS030.10.
“Church with three cupolas on Gravitei St.” November 23. KS031.08.
“The ‘Carol I Foundation’ used as a library.” November 23. KS031.01.
“Street view with Ford auto ad.– man spitting out Fords.” November 23. KS031.04.
“Donkey and cart by the old market.” November 23. KS029.01.
“Book stalls along by the river — a la Paris.” November 23. KS029.03.
“Front of a Greek shop near the market — Panels between windows painted to show costumes apparently — possibly national.” November 24. KS032.12.
“Women waiting, or resting, by the street, seated.” November 24. KS032.02.
“A corner of the cloth market — fabrics mostly in the web.” November 24. KS032.03.
“The earthen jug and jar section of the market.” November 24. KS032.04.
“Slabs of soap corded up, for sale at the market.” November 24. KS032.05.
“Sausages for sale.” November 24. KS032.11.
“Row of book stalls along by the river — better view than the other of the same thing.” November 25. KS034.11.
“Rugs for sale — hung along by the sidewalk.” November 25. KS033.07.
“Oxen and cart with huge cask, down by the market.” November 25. KS035.01.
“Just some onions for sale — at the market of course.” November 25. KS035.06.
“The patient donkey and his cart, with some of the market beyond.” November 25. KS035.08.
“A group at the entrance to the market.” November 25. KS035.10.
“A close up view of a stall where earthen jugs, jars and pots are sold.” November 25. KS035.11.

November 26: Giurgiu, Romania

“The clock tower on a frosty morning.” KS036.06.
“Looking down the street of shops. One sign with Trajan represented.” KS036.02.
“General view on a street in the wrecked quarter.” 7.0089.
“There we stayed, the Hotel Vlasca, the only hotel left standing in Giurgiu.” KS036.07.
“A shop and the Cafe Verdun, where we listened to some folk songs.” KS036.09.
“All that was left of what was a good hotel.” 7.0093.
“Typical ruins after a Bulgarian bombardment.” KS036.04.

November 27–28: Bulgaria: Ruse (“Roustchouk”) and train trip to Sofia

“The engine and part of the train at Roustchouk.” November 27. KS037.02.
“Our sleeper in the station at Roustchouk.” November 27. KS037.03.
“A look ahead up the valley.” Ruse to Sofia, November 28. KS038.04.
“Typical view where a side stream comes down. Several houses in sight.” Ruse to Sofia, November 28. KS038.05.
“View back down the canyon. Good.” Ruse to Sofia, November 28. KS038.09.
“Rock slides from the side walls of the canyon.” Ruse to Sofia, November 28. KS038.07.
“Part of a station in the deep part of the canyon.” Ruse to Sofia, November 28. KS038.12.
“Train in the station at Svogue.” Ruse to Sofiia, November 28. KS039.03.

November 29–30: Sofia, Bulgaria

“An inscription (Latin) in the yard of the Museum.” November 29. KS039.04.
“Union Palace Hotel.” November 30. KS039.09.
“Mosque near the Municipal Baths.” November 30. KS039.11.
“One of the lions at the head of the Lion Bridge. Peddler’s cart below.” November 30. KS039.12.
“A priest at the entrance to the old sanctuary, now below the street level.” November 30. KS039.05.
“Buffalo oxen, cart with load of wood.” November 30. KS040.02.
“Group of women in national costume. Little out of focus.” November 30. KS040.01.

From the Archives #59

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

1919–1920 proved an adventurous year for Francis Kelsey and his team, and we have been sharing those adventures over the past few months through this blog. Last month, we saw how the adventure began, with a train ride from Detroit to New York City, followed by a sea voyage to England. For the month of September, the team stayed in those locations, wandering from Edinburgh to London.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we continue this journey. In early October 1919, the team was still in England, finishing up some travels there. On October 10, they are in London, and they move south to Folkestone, near Dover. From there, Kelsey, Swain, and others board ships to cross the Channel. They arrive in Boulogne, France, and quickly make their way to Paris. While in Paris, we get glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, the Arc de Triomphe, and of life on the streets. Swain captured a garbage wagon, a woman sweeping, a fish stand on the street, and a flower pushcart. Daily life as it happened in Paris 1919. And time for sightseeing.

After a few days in Paris, they move on to Meaux, Chateau-Thierry, Rheims. They see through cathedrals, bridges, and various structures along the way. And they get reminders of the recent past. Ruined houses and debris. Homes “pitted with bullets.” Wrecked towns, wrecked factories, a wrecked armored car, wrecked forests and trees. Swain sees French soldiers, German prisoners eating soup and clearing rubbish, a war cemetery, a German prisoner’s camp, a shell dump, German headquarters.

From Rheims (or Reims), they move to Berry-au-Bac and onto Soissons. In Berry-au-Bac, Swain captures Kelsey and a French officer standing by a German trench. The photo appears odd, as Swain accidentally double-exposed the frame. We see trees superimposed on the photo, and Kelsey’s face is distorted. The hat, the build, and the beard are definitely Kelsey, even without being able to see the face.

Once they have seen the vicinity, the team returns to Paris, where they visit the Louvre and see other monuments throughout the city. While outside Paris, Swain used the Cirkut camera to capture Berry-au-Bac. The Cirkut camera was designed to use special film, and had a spring mechanism that would render panoramic photographs. An earlier “From the Archives” blog entry highlighted a number of these panoramics, as it was used throughout North Africa, Turkey, and Europe.

Throughout it all, Swain took notes on his photographs so he could remember and document them later. He was using several cameras: the Cirkut, a handheld Kodak camera, and a view camera. He had to keep track of all these images somehow. And it is those notes that led to our archival photographs database.

It must have been shocking to see the remains of war and the destruction from the Great War. Due to the ongoing conflict, it was difficult for Americans to visit Europe. And when they did, they found a very different Europe from what they remembered. As noted numerous times in previous blog entries, Swain captured life returning to a new normal. People in the streets making a living. Clearing up the debris. Getting on to new business.

From France, the team would carry on to other parts of Europe. The last entry for October is the 20th, so our next photos will be from November 1919. Those will be presented next month, so be sure to return to see where our adventurers rode off to next!

October 10: London and passage to France via the English Channel

photo: National Gallery and St. Martin’s, London
“National Gallery and St. Martin’s, London.” KS013.01.
“How autos are carried on the channel steamers.” KS013.07.
“Bow of steamer and head of pier.” KS013.05.
“Chalk cliffs near the harbor, from the steamer.” KS013.04.
“Another view of the chalk cliffs near Folkestone.” KS013.08.
“Cloud and sunlight effect, from the steamer.” KS013.09.
“Fishing boat and tug. French coast line in the distance.” KS013.11.
“A little of the city seen from the steamer.” KS014.01.

October 11–14: Paris, France

“Statue of the city of Strassburg, Place de la Concorde.” KS014.03.
“Eiffel Tower at sunset, from the Seine.” KS014.04.
“Push cart peddlers in the Rue St. Honoré (not there in 1925).” KS014.06.
“A nearer view of the old women with the push carts, Rue St. Honoré.” KS014.07.
“Part of the Tuileries Garden and the Arc du Carousel.” KS014.08.
“A news stand, kept by a woman.” KS014.09.
“A Paris garbage wagon.” KS014.10.
“Old woman sweeping by garbage wagon. Shutter too slow.” KS014.11.
“A flower push cart. Poor.” KS014.12.
“A street fish stand. Little out of focus.” KS015.01.
“Narrow uphill street leading toward a Montmartre.” KS015.02.
“A bit of the Monmartre cemetery, showing the density of population.” KS015.03.
“Just a bit of the narrow part of the Rue de Rivoli.” KS015.04.
“General view of the Place de la Concorde, traffic in foreground.” KS015_06.
“One of the masculine public conveniences of Paris — typical of Western Europe!” KS015.07.
“Temporary victory monument, by the Avenue Champs Elysées. Figure is the Victory of Samothrace.” KS015.08.
“Another rather more distance view of the temporary victory monument; it is also from a different point of view.” KS015.11.
“Part of the facade of the Grand Palais, where the auto show was held.” KS015.12.
“Part of the Paris Auto Show, Grand Palais.” KS015.09.
“A bridge over the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.” KS016.02.
“On top the Arc du Triomphe.” KS016.03.
“One wedge of buildings as seen from the top of the Arc du Triomphe. Hazy in distance.” KS016.04.
“Mr. Flack on top the Arc du Triomphe.” KS016.05.
“Toward the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc du Triomphe.” KS016.06.

October 15: Meaux, Chateau Thierry, and Reims, France

“Facade of the cathedral.” KS016.07.
“The Sossuet Memorial, in the cathedral of Meaux.” KS016.08.
“Nave of the cathedral toward the apse.” KS016.09.
“One of the aisles of the cathedral.” KS016.10.
“Street view at Meaux.” KS016.11.
“Bridge over the Marne at Trilport.” KS017.01.
“Ruined houses and street choked up with debris.” KS017.02.
“Just a street corner in the town.” KS017.04.
“Bridge held by the Americans, view from the end by the Germans. Temporary bridge in position in the view.” KS017.06.
“Another bridge from the same end. See KS017.06.” KS017.07.
“Just a street view. House roofs knocked to pieces.” KS017.08.
“Same bridge from the American end. See KS017.08 and KS017.07.” KS017.09.
“Another view from the same end showing houses on other side riddled with American fire. A metal plate has been set in the bridge approach on this side reading, ‘On this site will be erected a monument commemorating the services of the 3rd Division, U.S.A., 1918.'” KS017.10.
“More ruined houses.” KS017.11.
“Wreckage of an ammunition train blown up by mines.” KS018.03.
“War cemetery. White crosses French; black, German. On the French crosses, name and “Mort Pour la France.” Reims. KS018.05.

October 16–17: Reims

“Toward Rheims from road running northeast from town. Wire entanglements on right and left. Trees more than half destroyed by gun fire. German front lines ran through hollow at foot of hill. Rheims cathedral dimly seen in the distance. Weather cloudy and hazy at time of exposure. Shows how Germans could observe effect of every shell fired at the cathedral.” 7.0001.
“Toward Rheims from more nearly north than the preceding. Shows same road at left. Wire entanglements in immediate foreground. Shows cathedral and some of the town. Countryside waste of weeds, trenches and wire entanglements. Taken under adverse weather conditions.” Text attached to photo: “Reims and its cathedral as seen through a curtain of rain from the second line German trenches, October 16, 1919. Wrecked barbed wire entanglement in the foreground. Photo by George Swain, University of Michigan collection.” 7.0002.
“Facade of Rheims cathedral, taken with 12-inch lens. From the square directly in front. On right and left, rubbish of wrecked buildings cleared from the street. Note holes knocked in towers.” Text attached to photo: “Shell of Reims Cathedral. The interior was gutted by fire. Part of the vaulted ceiling and roof fell in. Much of the ceiling still left over the nave is cracked and threatens to fall, so that visitors are not allowed to pass under it. Photo by George R. Swain, October 16, 1919, through a thin curtain of rain. University of Michigan collection.” 7.0007.
“Long-focus view of part of one side of cathedral to show damage by fire and bombardment.” 7.0011.
“Interior of cathedral looking from the rear toward the apse. Visitors allowed only inside the door for fear roof might fall. Note hole in back end of roof. Also two smaller holes at right overhead. Stained glass shattered to tiny bits. Note big unexploded shell in forground. Custodian asserted not one shell exploded inside the building.” 7.0012.
“Hotel Lafayette, our army Cadillac in front.” KS018.08.
“Square out in front of the cathedral, not looking toward the cathedral.” KS018.09.
“A glimpse from the roof of the Hotel Lafayette.” KS018.12.
“Across the street from a window on the second floor of the hotel.” KS019.01.
“From the roof of the Hotel Lafayette, to the left.” KS019.02.
“Some of the ruins out in front of the cathedral.” KS019.03.
“The towers of the Rheims cathedral –camera pointed up purposely.” KS019.04.
“Tiny corner tower on building near front of cathedral.” KS019.07.
“Right hand side of the roof of the cathedral.” KS019.08.
“German prisoners crossing in front of the cathedral.” KS019.09.
“In the square in front of the cathedral. Mrs. Kelsey and Rediger, our chauffeur and the army Cadillac.” KS019.10.
“German prisoners clearing away rubbish from the front of the cathedral.” KS019.11.
“Serving German prisoners with soup for lunch, out in front of the cathedral.” KS019.12.

October 17–18: Berry-au-Bac and Soissons

“On the road from Rheims to Berry-au-Bac. Trees all wrecked. Ruins of town on the left as well.” KS020.01.
“Wrecked town passed on the road. Nothing but a few walls.” KS020.02.
“Old dugouts and trees wrecked by gun fire.” KS020.04.
“Wrecked sugar factory at Berry-au-Bac.” KS020.08.
“Our auto, the road and a sign “Achtung! Eisenbahn.” not far from the bridge at Berry-au-Bac. It was a little narrow gauge road, presumably for ammunition and supplies.” KS020.10.
“Professor Kelsey and French officer standing by German trench of 1914 (probably a double, but possibly of use).” KS021.08.
“Looking down the ridge between the Aisne and the Miette brook. The line of trees begining at the left and extending three quarters the way across the view, marks the course of the Aisne. The trees at the right mark the Miette brook. A German prisoners’ camp is near the right. This side of that, and crossing the Miette runs the road to Laon. The view is diversified with old trenches, shell holes and the remains of wire entanglemnts. A dug out in the foreground. The view does not extend far enough to the left to show Berry-au-Bac. Size, 9 1/2 x 30 in.” Cirkut001.
“Looking down along the ridge between the Aisne and Miette, especially the side toward the Miette, marked by the trees. The road down the ridge and going to Laon shows in the center of the view. Old trenches and shell holes right and left. The Aisne is located by the trees in the distance at the extreme left of the picture. Size, 9 1/2 x 28 in.” Cirkut004.
“Shell dump. Mostly 75’s by the road from Berry-au-Bac to Laon. Rediger standing at right.” KS021.01.
“German prisoners’ camp and wire stockage, near the Miette brook, at the left of the road to Laon. This is near the slope where Caesar drew up his troops.” KS021.04.
“Wrecked armored car, camouflaged, probably French, on the Miette side of the slope of the ridge. Easton Kelsey inside for scale.” KS021.05.
“Remains of German camoflage by the road running down the ridge between the Aisne and the Miette.” KS021.09.
“Canal boats by empty canal by Berry-au-Bac, seen from the crater, Hill 108.” KS021.10.
“Wrecked forest on the road to Pontavert near Berry-au-Bac.” KS021.11.
“Ruins of Pontavert.” KS021.12.
“Headquarters of German commander, road from Pontavert to Soissons.” KS022.01.
“Rediger replacing a tire on the Cadillac. Not far from Soissons.” KS022.02.
“Pair of traction engines, one each side, pulling four-plow back and forth across the field. Near Soissons.” KS022.03.
“Part of the wrecked facade of the Soissons cathedral.” KS022.04.
“Showing how the backbone of the Soissons cathedral was broken. The structure was damaged beyond repair. A part seems to have been left as a monument. I saw it in 1925 and 1926.” KS022.05.

October 20: Paris

“Company of French soldiers resting by the Seine, Paris.” KS022.06.
“Part of the facade of the Louvre.” KS022.08.
“The Gambetta statue and its environment, Tuileries Gardens.” KS022.09.
“The end of the Arc du Carousel toward the Seine.” KS022.10.
“The Arc du Carousel in its environment, seen from the side toward the Place de la Concorde.” KS022.11.
“One of the fountains of the Place de la Concorde.” KS022.12.
“One of the monuments at the head of the bridge of Alexander III.” KS023.01.

From the Archives #58

By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager

The August 2020 “From the Archives” blog entry recounted the final days of Francis W. Kelsey and team’s year-long trip as they traversed Europe, southwest Asia, and northern Africa. One hundred years ago, in August of 1920, Kelsey, his wife Mary, their son Easton, the photographer George Swain, and several others were in England, France, Belgium, and Germany before they departed on their return voyage to the US. Through George Swain’s eyes (and cameras), we saw what Europe looked like only a century ago. We saw a Europe still recovering from a devastating war, returning to their new normal. And much of the world was also recovering from the pandemic of 1918. 

On this year-long adventure, Kelsey and his team saw many countries, documented numerous sites, connected with friends and colleagues, and started making plans to initiate archaeological excavations. The voyage home must have been a relief for the team, after spending so long on the road. They saw much, but such a trip can be exhausting. And a century later, it is interesting for us to see their trip and the fruits of their labors. They had no idea how the next decade or so would turn out, but we see the seeds being planted during this venture. Though some of the groundwork for those excavations were laid prior to the 1919/1920 trip, it was around this time that Kelsey founded the Institute of Archaeological Research (IAR) for the purpose of running archaeological excavations. In 1924, they returned to commence archaeological work at Carthage, Antioch, and Karanis.

For this month’s “From the Archives,” we look back 101 years and share where it all began. In September 1919, Francis Kelsey and his team boarded a train in Detroit that was bound for New York City. In New York, they boarded the Columbia, a steamer that would sail across the Atlantic to England (seeing Ireland and Scotland along the way). From there, they would begin their journey across Europe. 

Swain seems to have always had his camera at the ready. He captured views of the train station in Detroit, the docks in New York City, life aboard the Columbia, and nine days later, Ireland and Scotland. While on the isle of Britain, the team visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, Berwick, York, and London. We see some of the usual stops along the way, including the river Thames, the Tower of London, the British Museum, Parliament, Westminster Abbey. We also see the people along the street: a fruit vendor, a newspaper boy, a man wearing a sandwich board advertising a play, and an artist on his knees creating art. We see the cars, buses, and attire that were in style at the time. Kelsey and Swain posing before the sites, calling out tourists but acting the tourists themselves.

As noted, this trip afforded the team the opportunity to see so much, take stock of the situation, and plot future work. The photos shared this month show the beginning of the trip; last month we saw its conclusion. In between the two points in time, Kelsey added many miles to his personal odometer, and Swain’s work resulted in a large portion of the Kelsey Museum’s current archives. These are a great resource for scholarly endeavors, but also for the curious who are interested in life one hundred years ago. Thus far, we have presented only a portion of what they saw. In the coming months, we may see a bit more. For this month, we revel in the onset of the journey, wishing the team a healthy trip, already knowing well how successful it will be.

September 4: Detroit train station

“Electric locomotive in the Michigan Central yards, Detroit, by the station.” 4 September 1919. KS001.01.

September 5–15: New York, embarkation and voyage

“Approach to the Cunard docks, New York, from the street.” 5 September 1919. KS001.02.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia, looking toward the bow as she lay at the dock in New York.” 6 September 1919. KS001.05.
“Charlotte Kelsey and others on the dock, taken from the deck of the Columbia.” 6 September 1919. KS002.01.
“Hoboken, seen from the steamer Columbia.” 6 September 1919.
“Statue of Liberty, from the steamer.” 6 September 1919. KS002.05.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia. A pleasant day on deck. Everybody happy.” 8 September 1919. KS003.04.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia. Looking toward the bow.” 8 September 1919. KS002.12.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia. Looking from the stern toward the superstructure.” 8 September 1919. KS003.05.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia. A sunset at sea.” 12 September 1919. KS004.05.
“Atlantic liners. Columbia. Capt. Blaikie at the bridge.” 15 September 1919. KS004.09.
“A bit of the Irish coast near Moville.” 15 September 1919. KS006.06.

September 16: Glasgow, Scotland

“Another view of the University.” 16 September 1919. KS007.04.
“A look up the tower of the University.” 16 September 1919. KS007.08.
“A bit of the University cloisters.” 16 September 1919. KS007.06.
“Looking out in front of the Museum.” 16 September 1919. KS007.03.

September 17: Edinburgh, Scotland

“The approach to the Castle.” 17 September 1919. KS007.10.
“A group of tourists in the Castle. Professor (Francis W.) Kelsey near the center.” 17 September 1919. KS008.02.
“Cemetery for soldiers’ dogs, at the Castle.” 17 September 1919. KS008.06.
“On the street, omnibus run by gas from a balloon-tank on top.” 17 September 1919. KS008.07.
“A double-deck electric tram.” 17 September 1919. KS008.08.
“View of river and bridge from the train.” 17 September 1919. KS008.11.

September 18: York, England

“The cathedral towers. Hazy.” 18 September 1919. KS009.04.
“Part of the ruins of the abbey.” 18 September 1919. KS009.10.
“Latin inscription on a roman sarcophagus in the museum. Very plain.” 18 September 1919. KS009.08.
“G.R. Swain on top the city wall.” 18 September 1919. KS010.03.
“A bit of the old city wall, cathedral towers in the distance. Professor (Francis W.) and Mrs. Kelsey on the wall, but not very clear.” 18 September 1919. KS010.02.

September 20–28: London, England

“The main entrance gates to the British Museum, facade in the background.” 20 September 1919. KS010.06.
“Just a street view, vista.” 20 September 1919. KS010.07.
“The Monument-single column.” 20 September 1919. KS010.07.
“Looking along the Thames from London bridge to the Tower bridge.” 20 September 1919. KS010.09.
“The approach to the Tower bridge.” 20 September 1919. KS010.10.
“Up the Thames from the base of the Tower bridge.” 20 September 1919. KS010.11.
“Rear of Westminster Abbey.” 24 September 1919. KS011.02.
“The Houses of Parliament, not from the river.” 24 September 1919. KS011.03.
“Houses of Parliament, river side.” 24 September 1919. KS011.04.
“A fruit vendor’s cart — apples and bananas. Street view.” 24 September 1919. KS011.06.
“A London ‘news boy’ with his bulletin board. What the test vote was about not known. League of Nations?” 24 September 1919. KS011.07.
“A London ‘sandwich’ man with a theatre advertisement.” 24 September 1919. KS011.08.
“In front of a book stall. Little out of focus.” 24 September 1919. KS011.09.
“A sidewalk artist at work.” 24 September 1919. KS011.11.
“Westminster Bridge, St. Stephen’s Clock Tower and part of the Houses of Parliament.” 28 September 1919. KS011.12.
“Government buildings near Westminster.” 28 September 1919. KS012.01.
“One of the Horse guards at Whitehall.” 28 September 1919. KS012.02.
“Milk cabs (‘churns’ they called them) stacked in Hyde Park, time of the railway strike.” 28 September 1919. KS012.07.
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