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Passionate Curiosities
Tales of Collectors & Collections from the Kelsey Museum

By Lauren E. Talalay and Margaret Cool Root

Passionate Curiosities
Paperback, 216 pages £25.00
Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780990662334
Format: 254mm x 254mm
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Subjects: Archaeology, Kelsey Museum Publications
Series: Kelsey Museum Publications

Passionate Curiosities explores the collections held in the University of Michigan's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology through the lens of the people whose intellectual interests, financial backing, and social networks brought artefacts to Ann Arbor from the 1880s to the 1990s. The purchases and expeditions shaped the Museum's internationally recognized antiquities from the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, North Africa, Egypt, and the Near East, extensive photographic documentation of these regions from the early 1900s, and significant assemblages of early Christian and Islamic visual culture. All of these are reflected in this lavishly illustrated volume.

An intriguing array of personalities - from archaeologists, missionaries, and diplomats to industrialists, bankrollers, and inventors - weave through the book. They include Ernst Herzfeld, the eminent Orientalist who helped forge antiquities legislation in Iran; Luigi Cesnola, the rapacious harvester of Cypriot sites; Esther Van Deman, the pioneering feminist and scholar of Roman construction techniques; and Samuel Goudsmit, the renowned nuclear physicist and avid Egyptologist.

World-famous dealers who established standards in antiquities connoisseurship also appear.  Readers will encounter Edgar J. Banks, a swashbuckling purveyor of Mesopotamian antiquities and entrepreneur of biblical documentary films; Maurice Nahman, the "lion of Cairo"; and the colourful members of the Tano dealer dynasty in Egypt.


Map of the Mediterranean and the Near East

1 Introduction

2 The Backdrop: An Overview of Early American Museums

3 Francis W. Kelsey: Scholar, Collector, Leader

   A Brief Biography

   Professor Kelsey’s Acquisitions

   Birth of an Archaeology Museum in Ann Arbor

4 What Comes Home from the Field (1924–1963)

   Excavations as Collection-Building Missions

   Pre–World War II Excavations

   Expeditions of a Different Order: Post–World War II

5 The Passionate and the Curious, Part I (1893–1927): Collections Acquired in the F. W. Kelsey Years

   The De Criscio Collection

   The Dennison Collection

   The Marburg (ex-Gottschalk) Collection

   The Todd Collection

   The Djehutymose Coffin and Related Artifacts

   The Askren Collection

   The Petrie Gift

   The Barosso Watercolors

6 The Passionate and the Curious, Part II (1928–2013):Collections Acquired by the Kelsey Museum

   The Cesnola Collection

   The Van Deman Collection

   The Bay View Collection

   The Gillman Collection

   The Goudsmit Collection

   The Waterman Collection

   The Bonner Collection and Related Corpora

   The Adams (ex-Herzfeld) Collection of Late Prehistoric Stamp Seals

   Individual Acquisitions by Purchase, 1970s–1990s

7 Select Categories of Artifacts




   Fine Art Photography and Prints

8 Collectors, Dealers, Authenticity, and Ethical Quandaries

   Collectors and Dealers

   Questions of Authenticity

   Ethical Quandaries

Appendix Antiquities Legislation

Simplified Timelines for Kelsey Collections


Works Cited

Concordance of Museum Object Accession Numbers to Figure Numbers

General Index

About the Authors

Talalay and Root address a diverse audience of students, scholars, museum staff and volunteers, as well as visitors, casual and loyal. Passionate Curiosities finds its place alongside a range of other recent publications that illuminate the historiography of the Kelsey, and provides an essential reference on the history of collecting at this important university museum.
Marden Fitzpatrick Nichols and Elizabeth Dospel Williams, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.07.12

Lauren E. Talalay is former Associate Director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan, and is currently Curator Emerita and Research Associate at the Museum.

Margaret Cool Root is a Curator of Collections at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology as well as Professor of Near Eastern and Classical Art and Archaeology in the Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 216 pages
 254mm x 254mm

 Kelsey Museum Publications


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