Alfred Emerson Papers


Collection Number: GR ASCSA AE 011
Name(s) of Creator(s): Alfred Emerson (1859-1943)
Title: Alfred Emerson Papers
Date [bulk]: 1887-1937
Date [inclusive]:
Language(s): English
Summary: The small collection consists of a draft of Alfred Emerson’s memoirs covering the period 1863 to 1882; some excavations notes he made in Corinth in 1899 (?); notes and lectures about ancient Greek music, poetry and drama; a short remembrance of an 1899 trip, “An Excursion into Aetolia and Acarnania”; and some photographs. In addition, there is a draft of Alice Edwards Emerson’s two volume work on the history of opera with a Trojan theme.
Quantity: 0.50 linear meters
Immediate Source of Acquisition: 
Information about Access: The collection has been catalogued and is available for research. 
Notes: The collection was processed by Liz Ward Papageorgiou, 2017.
Cite as: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Archives, Alfred Emerson Papers (Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα, Αρχείο Alfred Emerson)

For more information, please contact the Archives:
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens
54 Souidias Street, Athens 106 76, Greece,
phone: 213-000-2400 (ext. 425)
Contact via E-mail


Alfred Emerson (1859-1943) studied classics and taught at Johns Hopkins, Princeton, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Cornell. He was Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the ASCSA from 1897 to 1898.

A large collection of papers of the three generations of the Emerson family are in the New York Public Library. A full description of the sixty-three boxes of material can be found at 

“The Emersons were an American family who lived in Europe and Japan and traveled widely during the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The family consisted of Edwin Emerson, 1823-1908, his wife Mary Ingham Emerson, d.1883, and their children: Harrington, 1853-1931; Samuel D.I., 1855-circa 1930; Alfred, 1859-1943; Margaret, b.1863; George Hale, b.1866; and Edwin Jr., 1869-1959. Alfred Emerson became an archeologist and married Alice Edwards Emerson in 1887. Most of the later material in the collection is that of Alfred and Alice's children: Edith, a noted artist; Gertrude, a writer and editor in Asia; Willard, a banker and soldier; and Alfred Jr., an entomologist.

The Emerson family was originally from New York City, but in 1862 they moved to Europe, settling in Paris in 1863. The children went to schools in France and Germany. Edwin contributed articles to French journals and became the editor of the "British Journal of Photography", though he gave up the post six months later. The family then traveled around Europe for several years, eventually settling in Germany, where they lived for 22 years.

In 1876, Harrington and Samuel returned to the United States. Then, in 1883, Mary Emerson died, and in 1894 Edwin and Margaret Emerson also returned to the United States, where they traveled a bit, staying with several members of the family and friends. They returned to Paris in 1899, and Margaret graduated from the Sorbonne in 1901. In that year father and daughter moved to Tokyo, Japan (they later lived in Yokohama) to join Samuel who had already settled there. Edwin Emerson died in Japan in 1908."

 Excerpt from the Introduction to the Emerson Papers, New York Public Library



Folder 1
“Reminiscences of Alfred Emerson”, 1863-1882 (about 60 typed and handwritten
   unnumbered pages)
Black notebook with Corinth excavation notes (1899?) and lecture “Greek Sculpture in Rome”
   (appears to be Alfred Emerson’s hand-writing)
Alfred Emerson in Greece: “An Excursion into Aetolia and Acarnania” by Walter Woodburn
   Hyde, University of Pennsylvania. (Eight typed pages describing an 1899 trip with Alfred
   Emerson written fifty years after the events described. Most is the history—not description—of
   the region. Also an accompanying note to Alfred Emerson’s granddaughter, “Miss Emerson”
   dated 9 January 1945.)
Alfred Emerson’s notes on Greek music: Notes taken at conference in Paris on 7 September 
   1878, “La Modalité dans la Musique Grecque” by L. A. Dacondray (?) (in small notebook)
Alfred Emerson’s notes on Greek music: “Greek sequences and scales”, “Greek sequences and
   modes” (three sheets of music (two adhered to piece of cardboard)
Alfred Emerson’s lecture on Greek music: “What do we know about Greek music”, A Smoker
   Talk at the University Club, Evanston on 17 January 1913
“Recent Progress in Classical Archaeology”, lecture by unnamed person with biographical
   information about Alfred Emerson (21 typed pages, author and date unknown)
Reprint of letter to The Ithaca Journal, 3 April 1917, from Alfred Emerson
Loose piece of paper from larger text, in French and English, in Alfred Emerson’s hand-writing

Folder 2
(Four documents, typed and hand-written by same person, attached notes describe each document)
“Exegesis of characters in translation or original version of play about Dionysos – Bacchae of
   Euripedes?” (Twenty-two hand-written and typed pages.)
“Translation of Pindar/1st Pythian Ode/1st and 2nd stanzas [in exegesis of Bacchic play” (one
“The Priest of Dionysos” (six typed pages with hand-written instructions on how to perform)
“Translation of Greek play (incomplete?) Bacchus?? With –?– version (modified) in blue type”
   (fifteen fragile, aged paper pages)

Folder 3
“Tale of Troy, Trojan Cycle Opera”, the history of opera with a Trojan theme by Alice Edwards Emerson (133 typed pages)

Folder 4
“Tale of Troy, Vol. 2, The Heroic Age” (over 400 typed pages, assume written by Alice Edwards Emerson)

Folder 5
Eight tracings and drawings of unlabeled antiquities in pencil, pen, pencil and pen
Four (copies of?) B/W plates from “Sculpture Catalogue”
Six torn B/W photos of a relief with inscription. On back of one: “In Hearst Collection of U. of
   Cal., I think, or another very similar. Bought of a princely house in Rome, by Count ---
   intermediary lira 625 = $125 Absurdly low price of course I tipped the Count 10 [torn] and so 
   did the [torn]” On back of another torn photo: “This was my purchase, not the other. 1902”
   (Both seem to be in the hand-writing of Alfred Emerson)

Folder 6
March 1887 B/W photographs (original and enlarged copy) “Dörpfeld’s reise, first stop after
   Nafplio & Argos Rassow (?), Dörpfeld, Walter Leaf, Alfred Emerson, and Franz Winter”
B/W 6 x 6 negatives (most in labeled envelopes): Corinth (21), Aigina and Journey (9), Athens
   (1), Crete (4), Daphni (5), Acrocorinth (19), Delphi 1937 Apr (24), Mycenae (11) and Journey
   to Delphi, Eleusis, Thebes, Arachova, Parnassus Greece 1937 Apr (21).