Then and Now
In June 2011 the great-nephew of Edward Capps, Daniel Capps, and his wife Nancy made a pilgrimage from Phoenix, Arizona to Athens to see the memorials to Edward Capps in the Athenian Agora and at the American School. Director Jack Davis and Administrative Director Irene Romano were so pleased to meet Daniel and Nancy Capps and to have an opportunity to remember Edward Capps and his vital importance to the School.
The Edward Capps Belvedere is a lovely resting spot and exedra on the Kolonos Agoraios, just below the Hephaisteion, overlooking the ancient Agora and with vistas to the Acropolis and Mt. Lykavittos. The inscribed Hymettian marble plaque honors Edward Capps (1866-1950) as “Scholar, Philhellene, Chairman of the Commission for the Excavation of the Athenian Agora.”
In the front hall of the American School’s Main Building is a bronze plaque that remembers Edward Capps’ career and service at the School as a student member in 1893-94, as Director in 1935-36, and as Chairman of the Managing Committee from 1918 to 1938. In addition, his appointment by President Woodrow Wilson as Minister of the United States to Greece in 1920-21 is also memorialized on the plaque.
In 2009 the American School launched the Edward Capps Society to recognize and honor, during their lifetimes, those individuals who have provided for the future of the School or any of its departments or program centers, including the Gennadius Library, by making a gift commitment to the School in the planning of their estates or through a significant outright gift to the School’s permanent endowment fund.
The Society was named in memory of Edward Capps who, at the time of his death in 1950, was lauded by The New York Times as “the best-loved foreigner in Greece.” Capps was decorated twice by the Greek government for his leadership in support of relief efforts during and after the world wars that ravished Europe. A committed Philhellene, he campaigned vigorously in the United States for Greek causes through his advocacy group, “The American Friends of Greece.” Edward Capps served for more than 20 years as Chairman of the Managing Committee of the American School, rescuing the School through his genius from the penury into which it had fallen during World War I. He spearheaded fundraising campaigns that resulted in the establishment of the endowment that supports the School today, while masterminding its archaeological excavations in the Athenian Agora and presiding over the gift to the School of the magnificent library of John Gennadius and the opening of the Gennadeion in 1926. He rightly deserves to be recognized as the “Second Founder of the American School.”
Daniel Capps resting at the Capps Belvedere, a beautiful location with a scenic vista of the Agora, Acropolis and Mt. Lykavittos.