Theodore Woolsey Heermance Papers


Collection Number: GR ASCSA TWH 044
Name(s) of Creator(s): Theodore Woolsey Heermance ( 1872 - 1905)
Title: Theodore Woolsey Heermance Papers
Date [bulk]: 1894-1905
Date [inclusive]:
Language(s): English
Summary: The collections consists of professional correspondence, scholarly papers, and archaeological notes.
Quantity:  0.50 linear meters
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gifts of Theodore Woolsey Heermance, 1905 and Mrs. Charles V. Talmann (nee Louise Heermance), 1979
Information about Access: The collection is available for research.
Cite as: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Archives, Theodore Woolsey Heermance (Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα, Αρχείο Theodore Woolsey Heermance)
Note: The collection was first processed by Sara Morris in 1981. Natalia Vogeikoff prepared this finding aid in 1995. The photographs were processed by Karen Niskanen.

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


1893: A. B. Yale University

1894-1895: Soldier’s Memorial Fellow of Yale at the American School of Classical Studies. Assists in the last campaign at the Argive Heraeum.

1895-1896: Student at the American School of Classical Studies

1898: Ph.D Yale University

1899-1902: Instructor in Classical Archaeology at Yale University

1900-1901: Leave of absence spent in Italy, Greece, and Germany

1902-1903: Secretary of the American School of Classical Studies

1903-1905: Director of the American School of Classical Studies.Excavations at Corinth

1904: Conceived the idea of a Bulletin for Corinth.  Strong interest in the study and publication of the Erechtheum.

1905: Death of typhoid fever (Athens, September 29)

1927: Publication of Erechtheum was dedicated to Theodore Woolsey Heermance and James Rignall Wheeler


Theodore Woolsey Heermance was involved with the American School of Classical Studies as student (1894-1896), secretary (1902-1903), and director (1903-1905). The papers date from his last undergraduate year at Yale (1893) to the time of his death in 1905. The bulk of the material dates from 1900-1905 when Heermance was travelling in Europe and living in Greece. The Heermance papers are an uneven collection of mixed professional and personal character. It is divided into five series: Series I. Archaeological Papers and Notes; Series II. Professional Correspondence; Series III. Personal Correspondence; Series IV. Miscellaneous; V. Photographs.

Theodore W. Heermance died of typhoid fever in 1905 leaving the following in the American School’s possession: his professional correspondence, scholarly papers, and archaeological notes. This miscellaneous collection of papers was increased by a bequest of letters written to his family, donated to the American School by Mrs. Charles V. Talmann (nee Louise Heermance), in 1979, and copies of photographs taken by Heermance in Greece during his first two years at the American School (the originals of which were with Mrs. Charles V. Talmann at the time). Yale University has duplicates of some of the photographs and transcriptions of Heermance’s letters from Greece.

Series I: Archaeological Papers and Notes contains an unpublished manuscript (never published because of his death) entitled “Excavations at Corinth 1896-1902”, text of three papers on Corinth delivered by Heermance at ASCSA open meetings during 1904, and copies of reports to the Managing Committee. Archaeological notes include a notebook containing architectural details from Eleusis (1902); a small notebook with notes on Erechtheum inscriptions; notebook with sketches of pottery sherds probably from Berlin; loose-leaf pages with measurements and observations on ancient Athenian buildings, and a bibliography on Italian Archaeology, presumably from trip to Italy in 1900-1901; and finally, pages with supplementary notes to Loewy’s Griechische Bildhauerinschriften.

Series II: Professional Correspondence contains letters related to Corinth excavation business, Erechtheum publication, applications, finances, students, the Library, and miscellaneous.

Series III: Personal and Family Correspondence contains Heermance’s letters to his mother Agnes and sister Laura, and to his brother Edgar Laing Heermance. The majority of his letters date from 1900-1905. While abroad Heermance was in the habit of writing his mother and sister weekly letters, describing his social and archaeological activities of the week, including commentary on weather, natural and political environment, detailed accounts of visits to museums and sites, lectures, and excavations. Although informal communications, his letters are a valuable supplement to this early and poorly documented period in archaeology. Unfortunately, there is only one letter (to Laura) surviving from his first sojourn in Greece (1894-95).

During 1900-01, Heermance spent a leave of absence from Yale abroad in Italy, Greece, and Germany. His letters preserve information on American and foreign archaeologists (Kelsey, Norton, Frazer, McKenzie, Hulsen, Boni, etc.) and currents excavations by Italians, epecially in the Roman Forum, where the earlier levels were beginning to get attention. He also participated in and describes excursions with colleagues to antiquities near Rome (Nemi, Ostia, Veii, Gabii, the via Appia, Norba, Cori, Palestrina, Tarquinia, Caere, Orvieto) and explored the topography of ancient and contemporary Rome in walks through the city. In March Heermance took a trip to Greece with his colleague, Chase, and visited Corfu, Olympia, Athens, delphi, Corinth, and Crete, where they took a rugged pack-trip to remote sites in Central and East Crete (Gortyna, Phaistos, Myrtos, Hierapetra, Mirabello and Lasithi plains, Psychro, Sitia). He returned to Rome via Taranto, Metapontum, and Cassino, and soon headed north to Assisi, perugia, Chiusi, Florence, Ravenna, Bologna, and Verona on his way to Germany. He reached Berlin in early May and enrolled at the university for a semester with Kekule, Pernice, Graef, Kalkman, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and others. His impressions of these personalities are all shared with his family. After his semester in Berlin he left for home via Copenhagen, sailing from Hamburg in early August.

The letters cease during the following year back at Yale as instructor (1901-1902). The next letters begin after his appointment first as Secretary of the American School, and later as director. He left for Europe in July and enrolled at Grenoble for the summer, presumably to improve his French, in their special program for foreigners. On his way to Athens, H. biked through Roman France before embarking from Marseille to Peiraeus. His letters from Athens from the year (1902-03) he served as Secretatry of the School describe in detail the social and archaeological atmosphere: open meetings at foreign archaeological schools, Greek restoration on the Akropolis, School trips, preparations for the Corinth season, and directed excavations in April through June. After an August vacation in the mountains of northern Italy and Switzerland, Heermance began his first year (1903-04) as director, with Harold Fowler as visiting professor and Gorham Philip Stevens as the first School architect. Heermance and Stevens worked together on the Erechtheion, taking advantage of the Greek scafolding around the building to get permission to study the blocks and the inscriptions. It was at Heermance’s urging that the School hired an architect and published the building, although Heermance died before the project was completed.

His letters describe usual social calls made and received, archaeological lectures and expeditions, and activities of the School. In May and June, he directed at Corinth and was back in Athens for the summer, where he worked on the Corinth report, the Erechtheion text (with Stevens) and supervised work on the buildings and grounds of the School. During his August vacation, he met his mother and sister in Austria, and they joined him in Athens for the year, with the result that there are no letters home for this year (1904-05). There are a few letters to other relatives written by Laura and Agnes Heermance in the winter and spring of 1905, of greater social than archaeological interest, but with some comments on lectures, trips and scholars.

Woolsey Heermance also corresponded with his brother, Edgar Laing Heermance; there are sixteen letters dating between July 1902 and July 1905, some of which duplicate periods represented in the letters to his mother and sister and some of which supplement gaps. During 1904-1905, he describes for his brother, a minister in Mankato, Minnesota, trips to the Peloponnese and to Asia Minor, and the planning for the Archaeological Congress held in Athens in May 1905.

Heermance’s last letters date from the summer of 1905, when his mother and sister were on holiday in the Alps and he wrote them from Athens. His last letter dates September 3, three weeks before he died on the 29th of September.

Series IV: Miscellaneous includes his passport from 1903 and photocopies of obituaries.

Series V: Photographs contains copy photos from 1894-1896. Of great archaeological interest are the pictures of antiquities and personalities during the two Dörpfeld trips, the Peloponnesreise and the Inselreise of 1895. Important also are the shots taken at the American excavations at the Argive Heraeum, at Eretria and Koukounari in 1895. There are also photos from two School trips, to Delphi and Parnassus and in northern Arcadia, both in 1895. Finally, Heermance photographed many scenes of island life on Poros, where the Richardsons had a summer house and boat, and some of the ruins at nearby Troisen. The photos from Poros are of important ethnographic interest.

Donated with the copy photographs are also copies of photographic logbooks in which Heermance recorded date, subject, time of day, exposure and light conditions for each shot. The captions in the folder list have been taken from the logbooks in question. However, not all the corresponding photos are represented. The first logbook (“C”) begins when his steamer reached the Hague in June 1894 and records his trip through Netherlands, Germany, Venice, and Patras with a few shots in Attica at the end, but none of these photographs are extant in the collection donated to the School. Logbook D continues in Attica on the same day (25 October 1894), and logbooks D and E cover trips in Attica, shots in Athens and the School trips mentioned, though not all the photos are represented. Logbook F (the Poros shots) ends on 19 January 1896. There are no logbooks for the Peloponnesreise and Inselreise photos.




Folder 1. “Excavations at Corinth 1896-1902”.

“Chronology of Building Remains at Corinth (1904)”.

“Excavations at Corinth (1903)”.

“Architectural Miscellaney from Corinth”.

Folder 2. Reports to the Managing Committee: a) Report on the Opening of the School Year 1904-1905 (submitted 17 Nov. 1904); b) Annual ASCSA report for 1904-05 on activities of the School (submitted 19 April 1905).

Folder 3. Notebook containing architectural details from Eleusis (Dec. 1902). Notebook with sketches of pottery sherds probably from Berlin.

Folder 4. Notebook with notes on Erechtheum inscriptions. Loose-leaf pages with measurements and observations on buildings (Parthenon, Theater, Stoa of Attalos, Thrasyllos Monument), and bibliography on Italian Archaeology, topography and excavations, architecture, vases and terracottas, etc.  Pages with supplementary notes to Loewy’s Griechische Bildhauerinschriften.


--Folder 5: A-K

Allen, Gordon

Baedeker, Karl

Boyd, Harriett

Brower(?), Josephine

Brown, Carroll

Darrow(?), J.

DeForrest, Robert (Mrs)

Downes, W.E.D.

Emerson, E.

Fowler, Harold N.

Fuller, Lucy Derby

Gillespie, H.

Hall, Edith

Haremrt(?), Agnes

Hill, Bert Hodge

Holt, Hamilton

Homolle, T. (?)

Hyde, Walter W.

Jenkins, Nora Cornelia (Mrs. Theodore Leslie Shear)

Johnson, Willie C. (Miss)

King, Linda Shaw

Kyle, James W.

--Folder 6: K-Z

Lane, Gardiner M.

Morse, Sidney Nelson

Powell, Benjamin

Putnamm, G.E (Mrs.)

Robinson, David M.

Sterrett, J. R. S.

Stern, Elsie Langdon

Tarbell, F.B.

Walton, Alice

Ward(?), Bertha E.

Weller, C.H.

Wheeler, Benjamin

Wheeler, James R. (?)

Wright, John H.

--Folder 7: Library



Folder 8: TWH to mother and sister (13 Aug.1900 - 9 Aug.1901); 60 letters (transcripts of nos.13-58)

Folder 9: TWH to mother and sister (27 July 1902 - 19 July 1905); 53 letters (nos.1- 53)

Folder 10: TWH to mother and sister (26 July 1902 - 7 Aug. 1904); 57 letters (nos.54-110)

Folder 11: TWH to mother and sister (25 June 1905 - 3 Sept.1905)

Folder 12: TWH to brother Edgar Laing Heermance (9 July 1902 - 9 July 1905); 16 letters (including trancripts) and Letters from Greece 1902-1905 from Theodore Woolsey Heermance to his brother Edgar Laing Heermance, transcript by Louise Heermance Tallman, Rye, New Hampshire 1979 [bound volume added in 2024 from the Blegen Library, accession # 2024_05].

Folder 13: TWH to sister Laura W. Heermance (12 Febr. 1893 - 16 March 1903); 5 letters.

Folder 14: Laura W. Heermance to “Aunt Ellen” (5 Jan. 1905)

Folder 15: Agnes W. Heermance to Theodore Salisbury Woolsey (26 March 1905)

‘’ to “Ellen” (5 Febr.1905)

” to “Ellen” (2 April 1905)


Folder 16: Passport (1903)

Folder 17: Obituaries



Folder 18: Copies of Photographic Logbooks

Folder 19: Photographs of Poros and immediate neighborhood (1895). Trip in Boeotia (1895).  Athens, Akropolis, and ASCSA

Folder 20: Excavations at Eretria and Koukounari (1895).  Trip to Delphi and Parnassus (1895)

Folder 21: Attica (1894-95).  Poros (1895)

Folder 22: Attica, Poros (1895).  Poros: Vidhi, Troezen (1895).  Trip in North Arcadia (1895)

Folder 23: Trip in North Arcadia (1895).  Dörpfeld’s “Insel-Reise” (1895)

Folder 24: Dörpfeld’s “Peloponnes Reise” (1895)

Folder 25: Greek Views

Folder 26: Plans of Corinth


Folder 27: Photographs of Istanbul, Rome, Parthenon and temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek (flat storage)
1. Vue panoram de la Bosphore (Photographer: P. Sebah).
2. L’ Obelisque (Photographer: P. Sebah).
3. Cimetiere Turc, au Grand Champ (Photographer: P. Sebah).
4. Mosquee de St. Sophie (Photographer: P. Sebah).
5. St. Sophie (Photographer: P. Sebah).
6. Mosquee de Sultan Ahmed (Photographer: P. Sebah).
7. Fontaine de Sultan Ahmed (Photographer: P. Sebah).
8. Fontaine de Sultan Ahmed (Photographer: P. Sebah).
9. Le Sultan a la Mosquee d’ Ortakeuy le Vendredi (Photographer: P. Sebah).
10. Interior of mosque of Sultan Suleiman (Photographer: P. Sebah).
11. Rome. Detail of the arch of Titus.
12. Parthenon. Frieze; the bull.
13. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek.
14. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek
15. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek
16. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. General view.
17. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Detail.
18. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Great stone in quarry at Baalbek.
19. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Exterior view of columns.
20. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Interior.
21. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Porch.
22. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Inner doorway.
23. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek
24. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Inner view.
25. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. General view.
26. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. East side.
27. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Ruins and wall.
28. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. Great stones.
29. Temple of Zeus of the Sun in Baalbek. West end.