Near and Far Eastern History and Archaeology
Near and Far Eastern History and Archaeology
Selected Ernst Herzfeld Papers: Archaeological Studies in West Asia, 1903-1947
Ernst Emil Herzfeld (1879-1948), architect, archaeologist, and historian, was one of the most influential figures in the history of Western Asian Studies. Born in Germany on July 23, 1879, he initially trained as an architect. He received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Berlin in 1907, acting as a university lecturer there from 1909 to 1935. Among his most significant archaeological endeavours was his collaboration with Friedrich P.T. Sarre, surveying and photographing important monuments of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys. This work resulted in two publications: in 1911 and 1920. In 1920, Herzfeld and Sarre conducted other archaeological investigations at the early Islamic site of Samarra, Iraq, resulting in a six-volume publication. Herzfeld came to the United States in 1935 and was awarded an appointment at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (1936-1944). He continued to publish numerous books and articles. After being overcome by illness during a trip to Cairo, he was taken to Basel, Switzerland for convalescence. He did not recover, however, and died on January 21, 1948.
The Papers, donated to the Freer Gallery of Art by Ernst Herzfeld in 1946, along with additional materials from Herzfeld’s sister and several other donors, contain approximately 30,000 items that are primarily related to his work between 1903 and 1947 in Western Asia -- chiefly in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. The Papers document major works of art, inscriptions, and monumental architecture from various Western Asian cultures, dating from prehistoric times to the early twentieth century. Documents relating to his excavations at Samarra, Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Sistan are particularly significant. These valuable primary resources were catalogued by Joseph M. Upton (d. 1981), Research Assistant at the Freer Gallery, who created a guide to the collection in 1974. A printed retyped edition of this guide is part of the IDC publication.
For the microfiche edition (about 4.6 linear meters) a selection of papers was chosen from the entire range in the Archives. They include Herzfeld’s field journals (1905-1928), inventories of his art collection, sketchbooks (1923-1931), photographic files (1903-1946), and expedition records of Samarra (1910-1913). A finding aid, entitled Register to Selected Papers of Ernst Herzfeld in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, is attached.
Carl Whiting Bishop Papers: Early Archaeological Research in China
Carl Whiting Bishop (1881-1942), born in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12, 1881, was an archaeologist, anthropologist, and specialist in Eastern Asian Studies. He began his career in archaeology as a member of the Peabody Museum Expedition to Central America. From 1914 to 1918 he was Assistant Curator in Oriental Art at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He was Assistant in Anthropology at Columbia University from 1921-1922, and became Associate Curator of the Freer Gallery of Art in April 1922. Upon his return from China in 1934, he resumed his work at the Gallery as Associate in Archaeology, remaining there until his death on June 16, 1942. Bishop conducted archaeological reconnaissance and survey work in China, Korea, and Japan in 1915 and 1918. Between 1923 and 1934 he led the Freer Gallery’s first expedition to China, which lasted from February 1923 to August 1927. He headed a second expedition to China between 1929 and 1934.
Carl Whiting Bishop’s professional papers and official records, selected for this microfiche edition, document his research and archaeological activities over a 25-year period. They include his two-volume, unpublished manuscript, and nearly 4000 images of photographs taken between 1915 and 1934. The typescript manuscript, entitled Archaeological Research in China 1923-1934 (completed after 1939), is a detailed field report chronicling his expeditions in northern and central China between 1923 and 1934. It includes background information on China’s geography, topography, climate, plant and mineral products, customs and legends, as well as the political situation at the time. The 4000 photographic images are a result of his archaeological reconnaissance and survey work in China, Korea, and Japan in 1915 and 1918. They depict a wide range of subjects, including archaeological sites and archaeological finds: bronzes, ceramics and sculptures, vernacular architecture, caves and temples, palaces, people, and scenes of social customs.
A finding aid, entitled Register to the Papers of Carl Whiting Bishop in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, provides descriptions of the materials, a subject index, and a bibliography of works by Bishop. In the Register, Bishop’s original romanization of Chinese personal and place names has been retained except in certain cases where clarification or correction was necessary.
Photographs of Antoin Sevruguin: Images of Iran, 1870s-1930
Antoin Sevruguin (late 1830s-1933), a celebrated photographer of late nineteenth century Iran, was born in Tehran at the Russian embassy. He spent his childhood in Iran, then moved with his family to Tbilisi, the capital of modern-day Georgia. Around 1870 he revisited Iran, subsequently marrying and settling down there. He went on to establish himself as one of the first professional photographers in Iran, operating a commercial studio from the 1870s to the 1930s, producing formal studio portraits, travel snapshots, renditions of objects and architectural monuments, and posed genre scenes. He produced more than seven thousand glass plates and recorded nearly all of the important sites in Iran. His images are important historical documents and primary resources on Iran during an era of transformation. Later he became one of the official court photographers to Nasir al-din Shah and all the subsequent shahs, through to Riza Shah. He died in Tehran.
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives contain over eight hundred images of Sevruguin’s photographs, constituting the largest single collection of his work in the world. Between 1973 and 1985 over 650 of Sevruguin’s glass plate negatives, and 140 original silver prints, were donated by the widow of Myron Bement Smith (1897-1970), a scholar of Persian art and architecture. Beginning in 1934, Smith assembled these photographs for his Islamic Archive, which included 66 Sevruguin prints donated in 1953 by Joseph Upton (1901-1981). The collection was originally given to the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian in 1973; it was transferred four years later to the Freer Gallery of Art Archives. In 1985, Jay Bisno (b.1939), an archaeologist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, further enriched the collection with his donation of 18 albumen prints of Sevruguin’s photographs of shahs, sultans, dervishes, groups of people and events such as official ceremonies and executions.
The microfiche production of Photographs of Antoin Sevruguin is accompanied by a finding aid entitled Register to Photographs of Antoin Sevruguin in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. It consists of two parts, with Series 1: Myron Bement Smith Collection; and Series 2: Albumen prints of Antoin Sevruguin photographs.