Showing posts with label archeology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label archeology. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 21



3200 A.G.O. 1884.


War Department,

Adjutant General’s Office,

Washington, July 21st, 1884.


The Surgeon General




Referring to your endorsement of the 17th instant, forwarding a communication from Acting Assistant Surgeon H.C. Yarrow submitting suggestions for an  expedition having for its object the collection of Indian skeletons, crania and other material for the Army Medical Museum; I have the honor to inform you that the proposed expedition is approved by the Secretary of War.


A copy of Dr. Yarrow’s letter will be furnished the Commanding General of the Division of the Missouri, with instructions to cause the requisite orders to be given for the necessary escort, transportation and outfit from Fort Douglas, as indicated therein.


I am Sir,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) C. McKeeever

Acting Adjutant General




Official copy respectfully furnished for file in the Army Medical Museum.

By order of the Surgeon General:

D.L. Huntington

Surgeon, U.S. Army.


Surgeon General’s Office,

July 23rd, 1884

Friday, June 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 18

[Donor relations and stealing a march on another Museum – nothing changed in 100 years.]

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 742

June 18, 1895

Clarence B. Moore, Esq.,
1321 Locust St.,
Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Sir:

I am directed by the Surgeon General to acknowledge the receipt by express of several long bones, showing well developed platycnemia and other pathological changes, and to thank you for this addition to the Museum collection.

With regard to the Philadelphia specimens mentioned in your favor of June 16th, I beg to state that we will be pleased to receive and to put on exhibition any specimens which you may think deserving of permanent preservation. Please have the specimens carefully packed and turned over to Adams Express addressed “Army Medical Museum, Cor. 7th and B Sts., S.W., Washington, D.C.” express charges to be paid here.

Very sincerely yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 16 (2 of 3)

Jacksonville, Fla
June 16, 1895

Army Medical Museum.


I sent you by express yesterday a box of long bones – examples of platycnemia and pathological specimens – from the mounds of Florida. They were taken out in my immediate presence and are exactly labeled.

I have in Philadelphia a considerable collection of pathological specimens also made in my immediate presence. I think they would be more in place with you than where they are at present and I believe I could induce the present possessors to relinquish them.

I would not care to do this, however, unless you have space in the museum to place them – or the most interesting among them – on exhibition. Kindly drop me a line at your convenience to 1321 Locust St., Philadelphia, and oblige

Yours very truly
Clarence B. Moore

Bones received June 18, 1895

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 10

Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, June 10, 1870

Dear Sir;

We are in receipt of a letter from Prof Quatrefages, of Paris, announcing the transmission to us of casts of the celebrated Cro-magnon crania, that has excited so much interest in France during the last few months, and hope, ere long, to have the pleasure of adding these important archaeological specimens to the Museum under your charge. We are promised full series of similar objects and are allowed to hope even that, in time, we will be possessors of some originals. We find an excellent feeling towards the Institution on the part of the archaeologists of Paris and disposition to place us in the first rank in the distribution of collections.

The Professor asks whether we can send him crania from our American races, definitely named by tribes, and also those of the mound builders, and if you can spare any specimens of the kind I am sure it would be a gratification to Prof. Henry to have you supply them; a satisfactory return will, certainly, be made for whatever may be sent. We are just packing our boxes for Paris and if you will forward to us a few such objects for the Ethnological Cabinet of Paris it will give us pleasure to forward them at once.

We are at present, prosecuting an exploration of Mounds in Tennessee from which we have reasonable grounds for expecting a number of crania. We have given injunctions to those in charge of the exploration to spare no pains in securing specimens and in preventing their being injured by digging..

I am,
Very truly yours,
Spencer F Baird
Asst. Sect. in charge.

Dr. Geo: A. Otis,
Army Medical Museum

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Letter of the Day: May 2 - Smithsonian crania collection

Smithsonian Institution
Washington May 2, 1868

Dear Sir:

In compliance with the desire expressed by you to acquire some of the duplicate crania of the Smithsonian collection for the Army Medical Museum, I take much pleasure in transmitting the specimens mentioned in the accompanying invoice, and hope they will be found to constitute an important addition to the collection under your charge.

Very respectfully
Your obt servt

Joseph Henry
Secy, S.I.

Dr. Otis
Army Med. Mus.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 27

34, 585 (presumably a Smithsonian number)

Washington, April 27, 1874

Dear Doctor.

I send you a letter from a correspondent in Florida, who seems to have struck a vein. Please return this as soon as you have perused it, + let me know whether you can authorise (sic) him to expense any money, say, ten, twenty, or thirty dollars or more, in excavating for the skulls + skeletons of dead Indians.

Very truly yours,
Spencer F. Baird

Dr. Geo. A. Otis
Army Medical Museum,

(a note written on the letter says ‘no enclosure was rec’d’)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 24

Fort Barrancas, Fla.
March 24th 75

Dear Doctor

Will you do me the favor to discuss the probable history of the enclosed, with some of your scientific friends & return it to me when you have done so with your opinion as to its archaeological value?

It was picked up on the surface of a shell-heap “kjokkinmodding” at Bear Point, on the Alabama side of the Perdido bay. I am inclined to think that this locality was occupied by the Natchez indians at the time of De Soto’s expedition.

The point of interest to be ascertained in regard to the specimen I send you are - What is the white metal around the copper?

Is it the work of white men or of the Indians, in whose possession it doubtless was when lost in the vicinity of one of their villages? Has the copper or the metal surrounding it been smelted, or was it worked to its present form by maneuvering and polishing? What was the probable use to which the article was put? Money? Ornament? Or charm?

Very truly yours,


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 17 (1 of 3)

Vicksburg, Miss

March 17th 1869

Dear Col:

I shall forward to you tomorrow a box of specimens from a mound near Jackson Miss and a few articles from the great Seltsentown [spelling?] mound. As soon as I hear from you I will also forward in the manner you shall direct the specimens of skulls with their retained earth in the condition of the two I have already sent to you, or I will clean and varnish them.

The matter will soon be sufficiently settled for me to renew explorations and to this end I desire again to call your attention to the rich fields unexplored in this and the adjoining states all around me. Prof. I. Jones has recently given me some very valuable information in regard to mounds in Tennessee and near Hickman, KY which contain skeletons implements etc. entombed in a kind of rude sarcophagi constructed of large flat stones. These, or but few of them have been ever disturbed. Should some one else be interested with this duty I will cheerfully furnish you all the information afforded me by Dr. Jones. I fully concur with him in the urgent necessity for these explorations. As the specimens are protected by stones the work of exhuming will be easy as well as rapid.

Some specimens of value await me at Shieldsborough and at a point above, or north, of Yazoo city.

Respectfully yours etc

Ebn Swift

Surg etc U.S.A.

To Bvt. Lt. Col. Otis

Curator Army Med. Museum

Washington D.C.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cool article on London's archeological skeletons

The Times June 28, 2008

Museum of London's skeleton key to the bodies under city's streets

Tens of thousands of skeletons that lie hidden beneath the streets, houses and offices of London have been revealed for the first time on a map, in a collaboration between the Museum of London and The Times.