A History of the American School of Classical Studies, 1882-1942
Chapter I: The Founding of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Chairmanship of John Williams White of Harvard University, 1881–1887
“. . . . that noble archaeological enterprise in which I take a deeper interest than might be guessed from my pecuniary neutrality—up to the present time—a result of charitable leakages about as many as I can keep afloat with.” Oliver Wendell Holmes to Charles Eliot Norton
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens was a product of the brain of that remarkable American man of letters, Charles Eliot Norton. In his account of the founding of the School he says,
“The chief motive which had led me to undertake this task [the founding of the Archaeological Institute of America] was the hope that, by the establishment of such a society, the interests of classical scholarship in America might be advanced, and especially that it might lead to the foundation of a school of classical studies in Athens where young scholars might carry on the study of Greek thought and life to the best advantage, and where those who were proposing to become teachers of Greek might gain such acquaintance with the land and such knowledge of its ancient monuments as should give a quality to their teaching unattainable without this experience.”
It is thus clear that one of the chief reasons that moved Norton to establish the Archaeological Institute was a belief that an American school in Athens for the study of the classics would be of the greatest importance in maintaining and increasing an interest in classical art and literature, to which he was so deeply devoted.
Charles Eliot Norton belonged to that remarkable group of men whose literary labors caused the “flowering of New England.” He was not known to so large a circle as Longfellow or Holmes or Lowell, but his interests were wider than those of any of these men except perhaps Lowell, and his influence on his own times and the next generation was, if not so evident, more profound.
Two volumes of his letters have been published, and in the Houghton Library at Harvard there are more than fifty boxes of letters written to him. The series begins in 1833 and continues till his death in 1908. These reveal an almost unbelievable variety of interests. There are letters—often long series of letters—from the most varied types of correspondents: Dante scholars, college students, patrons of art, politicians, historians, contributors, and wishful contributors, to The Atlantic Monthly, architects, editors. In the literary and artistic world of the nineteenth century there is no name that is not represented here. He knew and was esteemed by every writer and artist of his day. There was nothing local or provincial in his tastes. He wrote an appreciative critique of Kipling’s poems. It was another Atlantic editor who declined to print the “Recessional” because it contained the ugly word “shard.”
It is literally true that there was scarcely a worthy cause during his long life that did not elicit his sympathy. And to arouse his sympathy was to secure his active help. The Dante Society, the protection of Niagara Falls, the student who needed financial help and the architecture of Harvard University that needed help of another sort, the struggling author, the puzzled teacher—to all appeals, to individuals and to causes he lent unsparingly the support of his ever young spirit. “A renewal of friendship with you is like a renewal of youth,” wrote Lord Acton.
Norton’s influence on the artistic life of the nation through the long list of his pupils at Harvard was immeasurable. It was he who inspired Winthrop to make the unique collection of Chinese art objects which he has recently given to the Fogg Museum. Another pupil, Charles C. Stillman, founded the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard.
Through Norton’s influence and that of John Williams White, James Loeb was moved to found the Charles Eliot Norton Fellowship at Harvard for study at the School in Athens and to endow the great Loeb Library of classical authors. The Archaeological Institute of America and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens were not his chief interest. In a sense they were only incidental to his larger purpose—to foster in his country a sound appreciation for art. Yet perhaps nothing that he did had so great an influence on American education as the founding of these two institutions, monumentum aere perennius.
Associated with Norton in the founding of the School was a remarkable group of classical scholars and business men interested in the classics.
The success of the undertaking owed much to the enthusiasm and good advice of Frederic J. de Peyster of New York, who, visiting Greece in 1867, had demonstrated his hardihood by including Thebes in his itinerary, a place which was then avoided by travelers because it was infested by brigands, as it is now avoided by travelers for another, and what Herodotus would term “a certain sacred,” reason. De Peyster had later visited Greece in 1871, 1872 and 1879. He served on the Managing Committee of the School from its organization in 1881 to his death in 1905 and acted as its Treasurer from 1882 to 1895. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from the incorporation of the School in 1886 till his death.
Thomas W. Ludlow, of Yonkers, and General Francis W. Palfrey, of Boston, were also extremely helpful. The former had spent the winter of 1879–1880 with his family in Greece in company with De Peyster and equalled him in his enthusiastic support of the enterprise. He was Secretary of the Managing Committee from its inception till his death in 1894.
While these three lovers of Greece were most helpful to Norton in promoting the School in its early stages, in the beginning and in fact till the School was firmly established he leaned most heavily on that great teacher and brilliant scholar, John Williams White.
In April, 1879, Norton had sent out a circular letter signed by “eleven persons, representing the scholarship, the intelligence and the wealth of our community,” proposing the establishment of a society for the “purpose of furthering and directing archaeological investigation and research.” This led to the organization of the Archaeological Institute of America at two meetings held May 10 and May 17, 1879. The establishment of the School at Athens—one of Norton’s chief aims in organizing the Institute—was not to be delayed.
After presenting the first annual report of the Institute in May, 1880, Norton added,
France and Germany have their schools at Athens, where young scholars devote themselves, under the guidance of eminent masters, to studies and research in archaeology. The results that have followed from this training have been excellent; and it is greatly to be desired, for the sake of American scholarship, that a similar American School may before long enter into honorable rivalry with those already established.
When the second annual report was presented, on May 21, 1881, the establishment of the School was further urged, and a committee was appointed to draft a practical plan. So promptly did Norton accomplish his purpose.
The committee appointed consisted of five persons: Professors John Williams White and N. W. Gurney, of Harvard ; Professor Albert Harkness of Brown University; and Messrs. Ludlow and Palfrey. Professor White was chairman, and the ultimate success of the undertaking was due to his untiring energy, enthusiasm and sound judgment, displayed in securing the necessary funds to promote the School and maintain it in spite of all the vexing problems that arose during the first six trying years. Professor Gurney’s connection with the School was tenuous. He never attended a meeting of the Managing Committee after its organization and resigned in November, 1883. Professor Harkness of Brown, on the other hand, was a faithful attendant at the meetings of the Committee and was a member till his death, in 1907.
This committee of five held its first meeting in Cambridge promptly—a month after its appointment—on June 22,1881. Norton’s choice of White to create the School of which he had dreamed was at once justified.
Two plans for establishing the School were presented: to defer the establishment of the School till one hundred thousand dollars (so modest was the plan at first) could be secured, or to open the School immediately under the auspices and with the contributions of a few of the leading colleges. The committee adjourned without reaching a decision, but so eager was White to see the School a reality that “gentlemen in authority” in several institutions were consulted as to the possibility of securing annual subsidies for the support of the School. The favorable interest of Harvard and Brown was already guaranteed by the presence on the Committee of White and Harkness. At Yale, Professor Lewis R. Packard answered in the affirmative. He had visited Greece briefly in 1858 with Timothy Dwight (later President of Yale) and William Wheeler and had later (1866–1867) spent an entire academic year attending lectures at the University of Athens and in the study of Greek sites. There he had met Frederic de Peyster. Professor Basil L. Gilder-sleeve of Johns Hopkins gladly guaranteed the new School his hearty support, and though he was rarely present at the meetings of the Managing Committee (at only one meeting, the second, during White’s chairmanship), the immense prestige of his name as a member of the Committee and of the Board of Trustees, from its organization in 1886 till his death in 1924, was very helpful. Professor William Gardner Hale vouched for Cornell University, but he did not join the Managing Committee till 1885.
The organizing committee was greatly strengthened by the addition in October of De Peyster, probably at the suggestion of Ludlow, who remembered his association with him in Greece.
With tentative endorsements from these five colleges, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Johns Hopkins and Cornell, White called a meeting of his committee in Boston, March 5, 1881. The second plan, involving the immediate opening of the School, was approved. A statement of the plan and purposes of the School was drawn up and sent with a letter dated at Cambridge, December 20, 1881, to the Presidents of Harvard, Yale, Brown, Amherst, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, College of the City of New York, University of Michigan, Columbia, University of Virginia, College of New Jersey (Princeton) and later to Union, Trinity, Wesleyan and Dartmouth.
The prospectus stated that the American School of Classical Literature, Art and Antiquities, founded by the Archaeological Institute of America, would eventually require an endowment of one hundred thousand dollars and a suitable building, that it would be controlled by a Managing Committee chosen by the Institute, that a director would be appointed by this committee, that qualified students would be accepted, that each one would be required to present a thesis annually, and that at the end of a three-year course the student would receive from the director a certificate attesting the scope and character of his work. It was hoped that the Institute might arrange for an illustrated periodical issued regularly, similar to the Bulletin of the French School and the Mitteilungen of the German School.
The permanent School building was erected during the years 1887–1888; the endowment fund did not reach one hundred thousand dollars till 1903; the Managing Committee was never appointed by the Institute but was from the beginning an independent co-opting body; the “course of three years” (probably analogous to the course for a doctor of philosophy) was never developed; and the School periodical had to wait for the establishment of Hesperia under the chairmanship of Capps in 1931. But the vision was there, a beginning had been made, and the founders were building better than they knew.
The covering letter asked for temporary support—a guarantee of $250 a year for ten years or until a permanent fund could be secured. It stated that “gentlemen connected with Harvard” had pledged such a sum and asked that the cooperating colleges raise each a similar sum from their alumni. Participation by the college from its own funds was not suggested, though that has proved to be the usual practice. It was further asked that the cooperating colleges provide fellowships to enable their students to attend the School in Athens. The director was to be appointed from the faculties of the supporting colleges, and his salary was to be continued by the college during his residence in Athens. This tradition has been loyally perpetuated by the colleges, applying at first to the annual director and later to the annual and visiting professors.
Just how the colleges thus circularized were selected to receive invitations is not clear. Apparently some time after they had been sent White received a letter from Professor James C. Van Benschoten of Wesleyan, asking that his college be allowed to assist in the support of the School. A similar inquiry was received from Professor John Henry Wright of Dartmouth. Somewhat puzzled, White consulted Norton, vouching for the scholarship of Van Benschoten and his interest in Greece, and the age, if not the standing, of his college (“the oldest Methodist college in the country”). He had also consulted Gurney, who averred that Wesleyan “is a good college, and when a college comes forward and manifests interest in this manner it ought to be allowed to assist.” White remarks that Dartmouth will be a similar case, and he thinks that “we must devise some scheme by which any decent college that wishes to forward the interests of the School may do so.” Evidently Norton agreed, for invitations were subsequently sent to Wesleyan, Dartmouth, Union and Trinity—bringing the total to fifteen.
Several favorable replies had been received early in 1882, enough so that White and Norton, taking their courage in their hands, asked Professor William Watson Goodwin of Harvard to accept the directorate of the School for the year 1882–1883. He at once accepted, and Harvard agreed to allow him a salary of three thousand dollars during the year of his absence. As acceptances of the invitations were received, new members from the cooperating colleges were added to the original Institute committee of six which had been appointed to “devise a plan for the creation” of the School “and to carry the plan into immediate execution shall it appear well to do so.” It was also decided that the President of the Archaeological Institute (Norton) and the Director of the School (Goodwin) should be ex officio members of the committee. The newly elected members were Henry Drisler of Columbia, Basil L. Gildersleeve of Johns Hopkins, Lewis R. Packard of Yale, and William M. Sloane of Princeton. These four, with Norton and Goodwin and the original six—Gurney, Harkness, Ludlow, De Peyster, Palfrey and White, Chairman—made up the first Managing Committee of twelve, nine teachers and three business men.
The first meeting of the Managing Committee was held in New York, April 6, 1882. No minutes of this meeting are preserved, but it is of record that White was continued as Chairman, Ludlow was made Secretary, and De Peyster, Treasurer. Favorable answers to the letter of December 20, 1881, were reported from nine colleges: Harvard, Yale, Amherst, Brown, Johns Hopkins, College of the City of New York, Columbia, Princeton and Wesleyan. Trinity had declined, five were yet to be heard from. Semi-annual meetings of the Managing Committee were appointed for the third Friday of November in New York and the third Friday of May in Boston.
Cooperation from the first nine colleges was not, in every case, easily secured. President Barnard of Columbia proved most unsympathetic. De Peyster was moved to write Norton, bitterly denouncing President Barnard’s lack of sympathy and breadth of vision. The New York Times (March 31, 1882) indulged in a sarcastic comment on President Barnard’s attitude:
We sincerely hope that the ardent but mistaken Hellenists who are trying to establish an American school of classical studies at Athens will take counsel of their good sense before it is too late and abandon the project. Greek is a good thing, no doubt, whether taken plain from the grammar or in history, archaeology, or literature. But, as President Barnard has very sensibly pointed out, it is wholly unnecessary to go clear to Athens to get it.
“It certainly seems to me,” says this experienced educator, “that if only classical knowledge is to be acquired, students can be instructed fully as well in Greek history, Greek mythology, and Greek literature in this country as in Athens.” We are glad to have this utterance of a cool-headed and conservative college President to temper and check the unthinking enthusiasm of the younger Fellows, like Mr. F. J. de Peyster, Prof. Goodwin, Dr. Potter, and Prof. White, before our colleges are fully committed to the foolish undertaking.
The intentions of these young gentlemen cannot be questioned, of course. They were doubtless inspired by a sincere zeal for the cause of sounder classical education. But their scheme of an American school for the study of the language and literature of Greece on the very spot where that language and literature reached their highest development is manifestly absurd. Why should our young men go to Athens to study Greek? Is not American Greek good enough for Americans? If the time has come when an American boy can no longer sit on a wooden bench in New Haven, Cambridge, or Amherst, and put the oration on the crown into English, or analyze the metres of a chorus of Sophocles with the same profound unintelligibility and painstaking misunderstanding that have characterized the class-room work of our colleges for the past century, then Greek is no longer a fit study for the youth of this Republic. Will the advocates and intending patrons of this classical school give us their views on the teaching of Greek? What it there, and what can there be, in it but the learning and application of the inflexible rules of the grammar, the memorizing of paradigms, of conjugation systems, and of the laws of versification? If a boy can infallibly distinguish an augment from a reduplication, can decline substantives without blundering over the duals, and can answer the frequent and crucial question, “Why mê not ou?” say three times out of five, is that not Greek? That, at least, is Greek as it has been taught in this country by generations of gifted instructors, and it would be evidently wholly foolish to reject the system these venerable men found good, under which so many of our public men in the State and Nation have acquired that wide and accurate acquaintance with the Greek authors, whose wit and wisdom is perpetually on their lips in apt citation or ready reference.
The detestable spirit of innovation is no doubt at the bottom of this project. There are, unfortunately, even in the ranks of our public educators, not a few discontented men who are never willing to accept anything as settled. We suppose Mr. de Peyster, Prof. Goodwin, and the other agitators who are moving in this matter have become disturbed as to their minds by too much pondering upon the way they do these things in Europe. France and Germany have classical schools in Athens where their professors of Greek are trained.
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It is not to the Orient that we must go for our Greek, but to the free and boundless West. Go to Chicago, not to Athens, for your Professors of Greek, gentlemen. In such matters sit at the feet of men of ripe experience like President Bartlett, of Dartmouth. He knows a good Grecian when he sees him as surely as President Barnard knows a hawk from a handsaw, and when he wants anything in the Greek line he orders it from Illinois.
The organization of the Managing Committee with White as Chairman, April 6, 1882, and the appointment of Goodwin as Director of the School brought to fulfillment Norton’s dream. What followed for the next five years (1882–1887) was the hard, dreary work of preventing the dream from dissolving.
A circular signed by the committee of twelve was at once issued, soliciting students. It stated that the School would open October 2, 1882, that Goodwin would be in charge of the research that each student was expected to conduct, that there would be no regular classes, graduate students would be admitted from the cooperating colleges if their qualifications were approved by the Managing Committee, students must pursue their studies for at least eight months in Greece and for four months in addition in order to secure the School certificate, which was to be signed by all the members of the Managing Committee and the president of the Archaeological Institute, theses submitted by the students might be published in the “Bulletin of the School.” [In 1886 this regulation was relaxed, the signatures of only the director, the president of the Archaeological Institute of America and the chairman and secretary of the School Managing Committee were affixed.] It was further hoped that the School would “cooperate with the Archaeological Institute of America, as far as it may be able, in conducting the exploration and excavation of classic sites.” The Institute was the “mother fair” that was to assist her “fairer daughter” in exploring sites of Hellas. Time would bring the daughter to maturity and a full assumption of her responsibilities for this work.
During the years while White was Chairman (till May, 1887), Goodwin, Norton, Harkness and Sloane, in addition to the Secretary and the Treasurer, Ludlow and De Peyster, were faithful attendants at the semi-annual meetings of the Managing Committee. In fact, after his return from Athens, Goodwin was present at every meeting while White was Chairman, and out of twenty-six meetings till 1896, when the records of the Committee fail, he had missed but five meetings. Of the other twelve members of the original Managing Committee, Gurney—as has been said—soon withdrew, Packard died in 1882, Gildersleeve was able to attend only one meeting, Palfrey came only five times, and Drisler but six. The seven men on whose interest and labor the success of the School depended were White, Norton, Goodwin, Harkness, Sloane, De Peyster and Ludlow.
Membership on the Managing Committee has always been a prized distinction. At an early meeting (May, 1883) the Managing Committee expressed the opinion that “it is not advisable to establish a precedent under which all institutions which may hereafter extend their support to the School can claim to be represented on the committee.”
Among those who were later elected to membership, and whose service was notable during Seymour’s chairmanship (1887–1901), were Van Benschoten (1882–1902), of Wesleyan University; Ware (1885–1915), Merriam (1885–1895) and J. R. Wheeler (1896–1918), of Columbia; Fernald (1886–1902), of Williams; and Baird (1886–1896), of New York University. Of the original committee, Goodwin, Norton and Harkness attended with very great regularity. Drisler and White (who was giving a great deal of time to the Archaeological Institute) were usually there. De Peyster and Ludlow were faithful attendants till the former gave up the treasurership in 1895, and the latter died in 894. During his term as chairman—fourteen years—Seymour missed only one meeting.
It has been noted that White and Norton had elected to open the School at once, depending on contributions from cooperating colleges instead of waiting till a permanent endowment could be secured. It was decided to begin as soon as ten colleges could be found willing to contribute two hundred and fifty dollars each for ten years. As a matter of fact, the School had no other income for the first six years. In 1888–1889, $554.53 was received as interest from endowment, and $3,650 from cooperating colleges. It was not till 1907–1908 that the interest from endowment exceeded the colleges’ contributions ($4,583.72 as against $4,340), and the support received from the colleges has always been an important part of the School’s income. In 1929–1930 it reached ten thousand dollars, but that year the income from endowment was $79,445.14. In 1938–1939, the last year of Mr. Capps’s chairmanship, these amounts were respectively $8,237.60 and $53,732.98.
Nine colleges, including reluctant President Barnard’s Columbia, almost immediately agreed to cooperate in the support of the School. To these Cornell was added. Of those ten “founding colleges,” as they might be called, all except the College of the City of New York continued to support the School through all its first sixty years. The City College ceased its contributions in 1886 and did not rejoin till 1920.
In 1882 the University of California and the University of Virginia also accepted White’s invitation, but only two payments were made in each case, and they both withdrew in 1884. Twelve colleges thus contributed to the expenses of the first year. In 1883 the University of Michigan began its contribution, continued throughout the School’s history. In 1884 the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth were added. Dartmouth’s contributions were at first somewhat irregular, and the payment was a cause of anxiety to the Committee. These additions compensated for the loss of California and Virginia, making a total of thirteen for the second and third years. The University of Pennsylvania failed to contribute for 1885–1886, reducing the number for the fourth year to twelve. But this was more than offset by the addition in 1886 of New York University, Trinity College, Wellesley and Williams, and the return of the University of Pennsylvania. Thus, at the close of White’s chairmanship, there were seventeen cooperating colleges. [Only fifteen paid for 1886–1887, but Pennsylvania was regarded as a cooperating institution without further payment, because of the contribution of $1,378.09 which had been received from the performance of the Acharnians by its students, and New York University (University of the City of New York) was given a similar status because of one thousand dollars it had contributed.]
Since then there have never been fewer than that number.
In 1931 there were fifty-two cooperating colleges; in 1942, forty-four. In all, fifty-nine different institutions have cooperated in the support of the School. Thirteen of the colleges have established funds of five thousand dollars or more, deposited either with the treasurer of the School or with the treasurer of the college concerned, the incomes of which guarantee the perpetual participation of that institution in the support of the School.*
The names of institutions that were invited to participate in the establishment of the School during the first few years throw an interesting side light on the status of classical studies. In November, 1885, invitations were sent to Kenyon College, Tufts, Lafayette, Boston University, Rochester and Vermont. None of these accepted that invitation, but Vermont joined in 1891 and has been a member ever since. The University of Rochester was a contributing institution from 1928 till 1940. In May, 1889, Clark University was invited to cooperate, and in May, 1891, Rutgers and Leland Stanford. None of these answered favorably at that time, but since 1910 Stanford has been a contributing institution. Adelbert College of Western Reserve University sent its first contribution in 1889. After the University of California discontinued its contributions in 1884, Adelbert College, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and (from 1887 to 1890) the University of Missouri, were the only supporting colleges not located on the Atlantic seaboard until the University of Chicago was added in 1893. Nor had it apparently seemed worth while to invite other inland colleges, except Rochester, Union and Kenyon.
One of the problems that the Managing Committee faced in the early years was that which has tormented school executives through all the history of American education—“how to increase the enrollment!”
The first year there were seven students registered, but when the Managing Committee met in May, 1883, to face the second year, there were in prospect but three applications. As a matter of fact, there were that year (1883–1884) but two students. In November, 1883, the Committee faced the “possibility of there being no students at some future time.” A circular letter was sent out to the presidents, faculty and Greek departments of the cooperating colleges, explaining the advantages afforded by the School, offering free tuition and urging the establishment of traveling fellowships to facilitate attendance.
A year later (November, 1884) the advisability of advertising the School in a number of leading newspapers was discussed. Professor Sloane had inserted the following description of the School’s work in the Princeton catalogue:
This College, in connection with others, assisted in establishing, and contributes to the support of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. This school affords facilities for archaeological and classical investigation and study in Greece, and graduates of this College are entitled to all its advantages free of tuition. Professor Sloane represents Princeton in its Managing Committee.
Secretary Ludlow was instructed to request “such colleges of the United States as he may deem advisable” to extend to the School the courtesy of a similar notice.
The next year five hundred copies of the first bulletin of the Committee were sent out to a selected list of influential people, urging that an effort might be made “to find pupils for the School. . . . in view of the favorable effect upon the public mind which must be produced by a numerous attendance.” In May, 1886, provision was made to extend the privileges of the School to “special students”—such Americans traveling in Greece or resident there as might, in the judgment of the director, be qualified to benefit by the association. These measures seem to have been efficacious, for the attendance, after falling from seven the first year to two the second and one the third, rose to five for the fourth and seven for the fifth and sixth years.
The question of admitting women to the School never caused serious difficulty. In 1884 Miss Julia Latimer applied for membership. She was referred to Article VIII of the regulations. This informed her, in effect, that admittance was based on academic standing, not on sex. The first woman to enroll as a regular student was Miss Annie S. Peck, A.B., University of Michigan, 1878, Professor of Latin at Purdue University. She became a student in the School in 1885–1886 under the directorate of Frederic De Forest Allen and returned to teach Latin at Smith College. Later she urged the Managing Committee to appoint a “lady director.” When she renewed this suggestion in November, 1888, she was told that “any question of male and female assistant must be decided on consultation with the permanent director” (Waldstein). It was not till ten years later (1898–1899) that the first woman, Miss Angie C. Chapin, of Wellesley, was sent to serve on the staff of the School.
The question of inviting Wellesley to become a cooperating institution was the cause of considerable debate, which resulted in a unanimous vote favoring that action. Wellesley’s President, Alice E. Freeman (Mrs. George H. Palmer), was the first woman to become a member of the Managing Committee (1886–1887). She was succeeded by Miss Angie C. Chapin, who served till 1924.
The publication of results of research conducted by students of the School was also much discussed at the early meetings of the Managing Committee.
At the second meeting of the Committee (the earliest of which the minutes are preserved), in November, 1882, a committee on publications was appointed, Professors Packard and Gildersleeve and Mr. Ludlow, to arrange for the publication of the Bulletin of the School. A year later (November, 1883) it was decided to publish two bulletins each year and a volume of papers, the latter to contain the results of the research conducted the preceding year by the director and students. At the same time the publication of the report of Goodwin on the first year’s work was authorized. This Was Bulletin I.
The following spring (May, 1884) this rather ambitious program was modified to provide for the publication of an annual bulletin in November, containing the report of the director of the preceding year and other pertinent matter.
In 1885 the second Bulletin, a memoir of the second director, Lewis R. Packard, of Yale, was published. That same year Goodwin was appointed the first permanent chairman of the Committee on Publications. As a matter of fact, the idea of issuing bulletins at regular intervals was gradually abandoned. Their place has been taken by the regular annual reports published continuously from the inception of the School in 1882 to the present time. Only five Bulletins were issued, the two already mentioned, the brief report on the excavations at the Argive Heraeum by Waldstein (Bulletin III, 1892), White’s careful report on his year as Annual Professor, 1893–1894 (Bulletin IV, 1895) and Seymour’s History of the First Twenty Years of the School (Bulletin V, 1902).
The publication of the Papers of the School caused even more discussion in the Managing Committee than the question of the Bulletin. At first the problem seemed easy of solution. The results of the work each year of the director and the students were to appear in a volume of Papers the succeeding year. The first year all went well. The theses written by six of the seven students were in hand. The contribution of John M. Crow was extracted from him some years later and appeared in Volume IV (1885–1886). The papers contributed by Sterrett, Wheeler, Bevier and Fowler were selected for publication, and to these was added the epoch-making article on the Battle of Salamis by Professor Goodwin. This made Volume I of the Papers.
But with the Papers for the second year the troubles of the Publications Committee began. Professor Packard’s fatal illness had inevitably caused confusion in the work of the School. It was decided to combine the papers of the year of his directorate (1883–1884) with those of the next year. But the following year there was but one student. Much to the disgust of the Managing Committee it was reported (May, 1886) that “letters from” the two members of the School for 1883–1884 “gave no evidence that papers from them would be ready within any definite time and also that nothing was to be expected from” the member for 1884–1885. These gloomy expectations were fully justified. No contributions from those students were ever printed by the School.
Moreover, the spirit of J. R. Sitlington Sterrett was beginning to trouble the waters. Sterrett had already received his doctor’s degree from Munich when he enrolled as a student of the School under Goodwin. The following year, during the illness of Packard, he had been made Secretary of the School and had rendered real service by taking much responsibility for the conduct of the program. He was one of the first American scholars to appreciate the importance of inscriptional evidence and one of the most indefatigable in searching for new material. In the summer of 1884 he made a journey through Asia Minor in quest of inscriptions. The results of this were contained in a Preliminary Report published by the School with financial assistance from the Archaeological Institute. In 1885 Sterrett again visited Asia Minor as a member of an expedition to Babylonia sponsored by Miss Catharine L. Wolfe. An account of this Wolfe Expedition, written by Sterrett, was published in 1888 as Volume III of the School Papers (1884–1885). This was financed in large part by Miss Wolfe and the Institute.
The publication of the remarkable epigraphic material in these volumes brought great credit to the School, and Sterrett’s work has won increasing recognition. But these results were not achieved without travail. As early as November, 1884, the Managing Committee had voted to publish Sterrett’s contributions if he would consent to moderate the language in which he had denounced certain French scholars. In the final vote authorizing publication, in November, 1886, it was recognized that competent revision of the manuscript was necessary but that “the need for such revision was unfortunately not clear to Dr. Sterrett . . . . It was clear that Dr. Sterrett must be protected from himself.” Goodwin, as Chairman of the Publications Committee, was consequently placed in a “somewhat unpleasant position,” a position from which he was rescued by his own ability and tact and not by the Managing Committee, who, like the companions of Job, merely voted that it was “the duty of the Committee [on Publications] to make an effort to secure the publication of Dr. Sterrett’s report in a creditable form . . . . and as soon as possible.”
The volumes of Papers, II and III, were actually published in 1888. That same year appeared Volume IV “(1885–1886). This volume contained the results of the School’s fourth year. More than half of it was devoted to an article on “Greek Versification in Inscriptions” by the Annual Director, Frederic De Forest Allen, a work of profound scholarship well illustrating Allen’s meticulous accuracy and his fine sense of proportional values. It contained also the belated paper on the Pnyx by Crow.
Two other volumes of Papers were published by the School, Volume V (1886–1890) in 1892, and Volume VI (1890–1897) in 1897. The articles in these volumes by their variety and their scholarly character testify to the increasingly valuable contribution which the School was making to classical scholarship in these years.
In 1897 an arrangement was made with the American Journal of Archaeology by which the School was to elect an associate editor of the Journal to represent the Managing Committee, and the Journal was to give preferential consideration to the articles contributed by members of the School.
At the fourth semi-annual meeting of the Managing Committee, November, 1883, the question of raising an endowment for the School was taken up. A committee was appointed to make a preliminary survey of the situation, with authority to appoint trustees for the endowment when it should be raised. This committee, of which General Palfrey was chairman, reported the following May that the time for raising an endowment was not propitious. A similar report was rendered the following November (1884).
It was not till 1886 that an active campaign for endowment was inaugurated. At that time New York University subscribed a thousand dollars. The students of the University of Pennsylvania gave in Philadelphia and in New York a performance of the Acharnians, the proceeds, $1,378.09, going to the endowment fund. [A very interesting account of this is contained in the Autobiography of Senator George W. Pepper (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1944), p. 39. Senator Pepper took the part of Dicaeopolis.] Three musical societies of Harvard—the Glee Club, the Pierian Sodality and the Banjo Club—gave a joint concert presenting “with excellent effect” a program of “great variety.” The proceeds, $718, were donated to the permanent endowment of the School. [This is White’s statement made in the Fifth and Sixth Annual Reports, p. 22. In the records of the Managing Committee, p. 55, for May 20, 1887, it is stated that this turn, “about $700,” was included in the amount, $24,500, subscribed toward the twenty-five thousand dollars needed for the School Building. In view of the care with which the overdraft of the Building Fund on the Permanent Endowment was repaid, it teems likely that the $718 eventually found its way into the endowment.] Three hundred dollars was added during the winter of 1886–1887 from lectures given by Dr. Waldstein and Professors Gildersleeve, Goodwin and Merriam. To this Mr. Henry G. Marquand added five thousand dollars, making a total endowment of over eight thousand dollars at the time of White’s retirement from the chairmanship of the Managing Committee in May, 1887. In May, 1890, the endowment fund had reached $46,276.
During the first year (1882–1883) the School’s income amounted to three thousand dollars, all of which, and more, was expended. [This is the amount given in the audited report of the treasurer, Fifth and Sixth Annual Reports, p. 41. In the Records, p. 6, the amount given is $2,762.92, as of May 18, 1883. It seems probable that $250 received from the University of Virginia was included in the Treasurer’s final report but had not been received at the time of the meeting, May 18.] The college contributions for the next few years were as follows: second year, $3,200; third year, $3,150; fourth year, $2,900; fifth year, the last of White’s chairmanship, $3,650. These amounts represent practically the entire revenue of the School for that period.
While the lack of a permanent endowment did undoubtedly hamper the School during its early years, this disadvantage was more than offset by the increased interest in the School’s survival and welfare among the faculties of the cooperating colleges. The necessity of exerting themselves in the School’s behalf had a stimulating effect. It was no easy task to secure this cooperation: witness the opposition of President Barnard and the flickering allegiance of Dartmouth. To have succeeded under all the difficulties that beset him was no small tribute to the tact and perseverance of White. And as Professor Seymour, White’s successor, pointed out over forty years ago, “For no other object have the institutions of higher learning in our “country been so long and so closely associated.” And this has become increasingly true with the passing of the years. For this is the first, one of the most important and the longest continued intercollegiate enterprises entered into by the colleges of the country. The management of the School—always in the hands of the classical teachers of the colleges—has been a source of inspiration and a bond of union that has been one of the potent factors in creating a sense of solidarity among American scholars interested in Greek culture.
One of the most important problems faced and solved—correctly, as is now evident—during White’s chairmanship was the location of the School in its own building on a site owned by the School. The desirability of having such a permanent home for the School was spoken of by Goodwin at the meeting of the Managing Committee in November, 1883—the first meeting that he attended, for he was in Athens during 1882–1883—and emphasized by him in his report In May, 1884, Professor Van Benschoten, who was to have charge of the School during the next year, its third, was asked to make an early report on the possibility of obtaining a site for “the permanent establishment of the School in Athens.”
One incidental advantage accruing from this early discussion about a permanent site was the moderating effect it had on the demands of the landlord in Athens for an increased rent for temporary quarters. During the first year Goodwin had paid four thousand francs (drachmae) for the rooms occupied by the School. For the next two years this was raised to 4,400. The owner of the property attempted to advance this again for 1885–1886 to five thousand francs. He further issued an ultimatum to the effect that a decision must be reached by March first. Van Benschoten was given authority to cope with the situation, but there was a general feeling that five thousand francs, the maximum he was empowered to pay, was too high. He did succeed in renewing the lease for the succeeding year at the former rate, which was the amount paid for the following year (1886–1887) also. That was the last year the School occupied the quarters originally rented by Goodwin on ‘Oδòς ‘Aμαλíας.
On his arrival in Athens in the fall of 1884 Van Benschoten lost no time in interviewing the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Trikoupis, regarding a permanent site for the School. The Prime Minister expressed his interest in the School and at once stated that the Greek Government would be pleased to present the School with a tract of ground on the south slope of Mount Lycabettus, adjacent to the site already given the British School.
Although the Managing Committee had enjoined prompt action on Van Benschoten, they were somewhat embarrassed by the dilemma presented them by Trikoupis’ immediate acquiescence to his request. At their meeting in November, 1884, when the result of his negotiation was reported, they expressed themselves as opposed to “undue haste [they had instructed him to act as soon as possible after his arrival in Athens] in acquiring a site before any prospect appeared of attaining a building fund.” On further inspection of the mouth of this gift horse it was noted with regret that the proposed site was “remote from the centre” [of the city] and exposed to winds.” On the other hand it was said to be “healthy (sic) and would command a magnificent view.” The Committee were especially anxious not to offend the Greek Government by a refusal and so lose even this windy location. Accordingly, Van Benschoten was instructed to extend the Committee’s thanks to the Greek Government and to inquire whether their inability to build immediately Would result in a withdrawal of the concession. On his own part Van Benschoten was admonished to send the Committee a plan of Mount Lycabettus with the proposed location plainly marked.
The following May (1885) the matter was again brought up in the Committee. It was felt that, in spite of the “present temporary organization” of the School, the Committee would be justified in going ahead with the erection of a I School building as soon as funds were on hand.
When the fall meeting was held that year (November 20, 1885) the courage of the Committee had increased. Moreover, the building of the British School was so far advanced that it would be ready for occupancy during the winter. The success of the British in their undertaking and the result of a preliminary canvass in Boston and Philadelphia which had netted $4,600, together with the fear that the Greek Government might withdraw its offer of a site, prompted the appointment of a Building Committee consisting of Norton and Ware to take the matter in hand with the optimistic provision that if more money was subscribed than was necessary for the building, the amount of the surplus might be applied to the beginning of an endowment fund.
As the meeting progressed enthusiasm increased. The Building Committee was enlarged by the addition of White (as chairman), De Peyster and Goodwin. The chairman was authorized to collect funds. A special meeting was provided for in case the building fund should be completed before February.
And now a most important step was taken. It was clearly stated that
Now when the School is on the threshold of a new period of its history, during which it is hoped that it may be at once more independent and ever more widely useful, it should be clearly understood that the ultimate authority in the administration of the School must rest with this Committee, by which, under the auspices of the Archaeological Institute of America, the School at Athens was created. It might, however, for obvious reasons, be wise to leave the business management, pending the collection of the fund, to outsiders.
To hold the property which the School was about to acquire, it was imperative that a Board of Trustees should be constituted.
This important resolution was due to the foresight of Chairman White. He wrote to Norton on the day following the meeting:
You will observe that I should insist on the management of the affairs of the School being left in the hands of the Committee, and I hope you will agree with me. The care of the funds should be in the hands of Trustees, and the Council of the Archaeological Institute should have control over the constitution of the Committee, but a committee there should be, and this should consist largely of representatives of the colleges.
This is the Managing Committee’s Magna Charta. The “Bill of Rights” was adopted in May, 1887:
A statement was made with regard to the Board of Trustees and its relation to this Committee; and the relation of this Committee to the Archaeological Institute of America. The Trustees are custodians of the permanent fund; while this Committee is in no way responsible to the Archaeological Institute for the use of the funds in our hands, contributed for the current expenses of the School.
The experience of sixty years has proven conclusively the wisdom of the independence of action reserved to the Managing Committee by these resolutions. No one thing has contributed so much to the success of the School at Athens as has this arrangement made during White’s chairmanship and adhered to ever since—the arrangement by which the affairs of the School have been controlled by the Managing Committee.
The collection of funds for a building made necessary the appointment of trustees. The necessity of having such a board to hold and manage the funds of the School—as soon as there were any funds beyond the annual contribution of the cooperating colleges—was recognized from the beginning. It was mentioned in November, 1883, at the time when a committee was first appointed to solicit gifts to an endowment.
The Trustees of the School were appointed in the Articles of Incorporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 23, 1886. They had been carefully selected by committees appointed at meetings held in New York and Boston in the interest of the building fund during the winter of 1885–1886. They were a notable group. The incorporating trustees of the School were: Martin Brimmer, Henry Drisler, Basil L. Gildersleeve, William W. Goodwin, James Russell Lowell, Henry G. Marquand, Charles Eliot Norton, Frederic J. de Peyster, Henry C. Potter, William M. Sloane, Samuel D. Warren, John Williams White, Theodore D. Woolsey.
At their first meeting, March 9, 1886, they elected the following officers: President, James Russell Lowell; Treasurer, Samuel D. Warren; Secretary, William Watson Goodwin. These officers and Charles Eliot Norton formed the executive committee.
Lowell, writing to Walker Fearn, United States Minister to Greece, speaks with satisfaction of his election:
Christmas Day, 1886
Dear Mr. Fearn:
I am much obliged by your very friendly remembrance of me, and glad to be assured by yourself (I had heard it from others before) of the interest you take in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. In order to hold and manage any funds that might come to our address, we have had ourselves incorporated under the Massachusetts law, and I am president of the Corporation. . . . .
Yes, I have been at Athens—et ego in Arcadia—and shall never outwear the impression I brought away. Pardon what looks like a pun when I say that as I stood gazing at the Acropolis, many new sensations were born in me by a very natural parthenogenesis. Perhaps what comes back to me oftenest when I think of Greece is the outline of the mountains, inexplicably graceful as if modelled by Pheidias, and the color of the sea. I am glad to hear that you are happy there. It is good to be so anywhere, but in Athens must be best of all!
You speak of the pleasant people you see. This is one great advantage of Athens, that, being a little harder to get at than Rome, fewer of the wrong kind of people get there. You must find much to interest you also in your other posts, especially of late. You are the very Cerberus of ambassadors—three rolled into one!
I was pleased to hear of your appointment, and should have written to say so had I known just where you were. It is not too late to say so now.
J. R. Lowell
As might have been expected, this Board of Trustees discharged its duty conscientiously. The early meetings, recorded in Goodwin’s flowing hand, were largely of a routine character. Elections of officers were held with somewhat vacillating regularity. Often but three Trustees were present, and on two occasions (July 6 and 9, 1909) only one Trustee answered the summons to the offices of Lee, Higginson and Company at 44 State Street, where the meetings were frequently held. On the latter occasion, there being no alternative, the faithful Mr. Lane was compelled to adjourn himself, and it is dutifully recorded that, “Mr. Gardiner M. Lane was the only Trustee present. The meeting was ad journed by him until Tuesday, July 13th. . . . .”
The Managing Committee was now fairly launched on its canvass for funds. Mr. Henry G. Marquand was made chairman of the local New York committee, and Mr. Lowell of the committee in Boston. Twenty-five thousand dollars was asked for, and subscriptions were to be returned if the total did not reach that amount. When White sent out his circular letter in February, 1886, seventeen thousand dollars had already been subscribed in Boston alone. At the May meeting in 1886 the Trustees had on hand over twenty thousand dollars for the building.
One year later, May, 1887, the Managing Committee was informed of the completion of the task entrusted to the Building Committee as a result of White’s letter of February, 1886. As chairman of that Building Committee, White could report that nineteen thousand dollars was on hand, mostly subscribed in Boston, and that $4,500 had been promised in New York. The Pierian Sodality of Cambridge had given a concert netting about seven hundred dollars, and a dinner given in behalf of the School had produced three hundred dollars. The total was $24,500. The remaining five hundred dollars had been underwritten by Mr. Henry G. Marquand and Mr. de Peyster.
Professor Rodolfo Lanciani, the distinguished Italian archaeologist and senator, had that winter been visiting the United States. In New York he had lectured under the auspices of the New York Society of the Archaeological Institute. The lectures had proved most successful, and after paying the honorarium to the lecturer there remained a balance of eight hundred dollars. This amount was turned over to the School as Senator Lanciani’s gift toward furnishing the new building, a graceful gesture of international friendship and cooperation.
The selection of the permanent site for the building was the subject of long debate.
It has already been mentioned that the site on the slope of Mount Lycabettus offered by Mr. Trikoupis, acting for the Greek Government, to Van Benschoten, as agent of the Managing Committee, was not altogether an alluring prospect. In spite of the objections raised, the Building Committee reported in May, 1886, that they had instructed the Director (Frederic De Forest Allen) to enlist the aid of the American Minister to Greece, the Honorable Walker Fearn, in complying with the formalities necessary to the acceptance of this site by the Trustees of the School. Delays had arisen as a result of one of those waves of political excitement to which modern, as well as ancient, Greece is so passionately addicted.
The whole matter was then debated at length by the Managing Committee at the request of the chairman, May, 1886, with the understanding that the debate was to be “followed by a formal, final, and decisive vote on the subject.” Allen in his report had expressed in “moderate terms” his doubts about locating the School in so remote a locality. Seymour later noted that it was convenient only to a hospital and the summit of Lycabettus. The lot was about an acre and a half in extent (.6145 hectares), partially covered with debilitated olives. Along one side was a rather deep ravine filled by a raging torrent whenever a rain fell on Lycabettus, undermining the wall subsequently built about the School. Even as late as March, 1889, after the building had been occupied for nearly a year, $250 was contributed to the School by Mr. H. W. Farnam for the purpose of filling up “the hole between the porch and street,” the residue, if any, to go to the endowment. The shops were half a mile distant, the Acropolis was well over a mile. There was no public conveyance accessible except the temperamental horsecar which, under favorable circumstances that rarely existed, ran once every half hour.
In view of all these disadvantages which beset the proposed site, offset only by certain salubrious and scenic qualities and its proximity to the British School and the aqueduct built by Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, which offered a good supply of water for irrigating the gardens, it seems surprising that after a debate participated in by every member of the Committee present except the secretary pro tern (Francis Brown) it was unanimously voted to accept the “lot on Lycabettus offered by the Greek Government for the site of the School.”
The following November (1886) the Managing Committee were so pleased with their decision in this matter that, inspired by a combination of courtesy and autohypnosis, they requested the Minister of the United States at Athens to thank His Majesty, the King of the Hellenes, for his munificent gift of a “noble site” for the School’s building. The record of the actual transfer of the land was reported to the Managing Committee in May, 1887.
Before the completion of the building fund in May, 1887, plans for the School building had been drawn. William H. Ware, Professor of Architecture in Columbia University, had been elected a member of the Managing Committee in November, 1885. At the next meeting (May, 1886) he was asked to draw plans for a school building to be erected at a maximum cost of twenty-five thousand dollars, and Mr. S. B. P. Trowbridge was appointed to take charge of its erection. Ware’s plans were accepted at the May meeting in 1886.
These plans called for a two-story structure built in the regular Athenian manner, stone laid up with cement and covered with a concealing layer of plaster. The basement, half above ground, contained quarters for the servants, the kitchen, laundry and some rooms that were suitable for photographic work. The first story contained seven bedrooms and two “chambers.” Four of these bedrooms were for students, and the other three might be assigned to students if the director did not need them. The larger “chambers” were for the use of the director and his family. On the second floor were the director’s dining room, connected with the kitchen, two stories below, by a dumb-waiter; the drawing room and the office. These two rooms opened on a pleasant loggia which faced south, affording an excellent view of Hymettus and of the hospital whose fortunate proximity Seymour had noted. On the second floor was also the library, a pleasant and commodious room about thirty feet square, well lighted with six windows and heated, or at least warmed, by a large fireplace.
On the third story there were two rooms immediately over the director’s quarters at the west end of the building. These were reached by a winding stairway that began in the basement and continued to the roof, with doors opening at each floor. These two rooms were intended as guest chambers. They had small covered loggias north and south that gave access to the flat roof of the second story. Awnings were provided so that the roof might be an attractive place to sit of a summer afternoon.
The cornerstone of the building was laid with appropriate ceremonies (including the slaughter of a cock by the cook) on March 12, 1887. The American Minister, the Honorable Walker Fearn, was present and publicly stated that the site commanded a “View of unequalled loveliness, even in this land of beauty.” The occasion was honored by the presence of M. Dragoumis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Horace Rumbold (the British Ambassador), the Rector of the University of Athens and representatives of the Greek Archaeological Society, the German Institute and the British School.
It had been hoped that the building could be occupied in the fall of 1887, and the quarters first rented by Goodwin and used for five years abandoned. But the inevitable unexpected delays intervened, temporary quarters were secured by the Director for 1887–1888 (Professor Augustus C. Merriam, of Columbia) at Σπíτι M&ecgr;λα, at the corner of Aeolus and Sophocles Streets, and the actual installation of the School in its present home did not take place till April, 1888.
The final estimate of the probable cost of the School building, made by Ware, was $24,500. Five hundred dollars was appropriated for rugs and curtains. But when the actual construction was begun, many gifts of material and furnishings were made—a considerable number of them as a result of solicitations by Ware himself—a fireproof stairway, mantels for the library and dining room, hardware etc., valued at fifteen hundred dollars. The generous gift of Senator Lanciani has already been noted. The Greek Government remitted its import duty on all material sent from the United States.
In November, 1887, Ware reported that the cost of the building would fall within the estimated twenty-five thousand dollars and that there was twenty-seven thousand dollars in the building fund, the extra two thousand dollars being available for furnishings. Yet a year later (November, 1888) the Treasurer’s report showed that $4,100 had been borrowed from the permanent endowment to complete the building. The unexpectedly high cost of masons’ work and the large freight bills had upset the estimate. Trowbridge wrote on September 5, 1888: “The cost of the building is about $20,800 in addition to what was spent in New York. . . . . The freights were nearly all paid in Athens. . . . . The greater part of the Greeks were honest. If I ever got into the hands of a knave at first it was only to be helped out by a hundred good men [The workmen] would no more have cheated me than they would have cut off their hands and they were just as careful not to let others cheat me.” The harassed treasurer was thereupon instructed to provide for the completion of the building, its furnishings and the grading of the lot “by a loan in the name of the Executive Committee or in any other way he may judge expedient.” At the same time there was received from Mr. Martin Brimmer a gift of five hundred dollars for blinds and shutters, and from Mr. W. J. Macpherson a fine decorated window for the main staircase. The loan was subsequently (November, 1889) negotiated from the Trustees of the School at five per cent and amounted to only $3,800, of which at least six hundred dollars was to be repaid each year.
It is a real pleasure to record that the custom so common among educational institutions of depleting and often exhausting endowment funds by spending them on alluring temporary projects was not followed in this case. The regular repayments of six hundred dollars per year were more than made, and finally, in May, 1892, the balance of the debt of the School to the Trustees was discharged.
The final cost of the building was $29,689.06. In addition to this, when Professor Ware visited Greece in the spring of 1890, the Executive Committee authorized the expenditure under his direction of one thousand dollars on the buildings and grounds. Professor Seymour is therefore conservative when he states that the cost of the School Building, exclusive of gifts of material, was rather more than thirty thousand dollars.
The British Archaeological School was not founded at Athens till 1884. The conveyance of the land to the British School is dated November 3, 1884, but their building was completed and ready for use in 1886. In 1887 the facilities of their library were offered to the American School, pending the completion of the School Building, as has been noted.
The founding of the British School suggested to the Managing Committee that cooperation between the schools was desirable, and in May, 1885, White was authorized to correspond with the British Committee, suggesting that the mutual interests of the schools might be promoted by such cooperation. It was especially hoped by the American committee that a common library might be established though organic union of the schools would be impossible.
The following November, White reported that he had written to R. C. Jebb. The President of the Institute (Norton) wrote to F. C. Penrose as follows:
One of the most important means of usefulness of each School will, of course, be its Library. It would be unfortunate should either School be compelled to duplicate, in any large measure, the works contained in the Library of the other. The Library of the American School now contains about fifteen hundred volumes carefully selected for its object; and it regularly receives most of the important journals of Archaeology and Philology. [The manuscript leaves the number of volumes blank. It is given here as fifteen hundred from the Fourth Annual Report (1884–1885), p. 25.] It is increased annually by means of an appropriation usually of one thousand dollars. The Committee of the American School hope to be able to proceed before long with the erection of a building for its permanent occupancy. They have learned that you have prepared a’ plan, or plans, for a building for the British School. It seems to them that it would be desirable that the two buildings should stand, if possible, near each other, and that it would be well to consider whether it would not be also desirable to erect at joint expense, and in joint ownership a building for a common library, reading-room, and lecture hall. The American Committee would be glad to place the library of the American School at the service of the members of the British School. Should this suggestion seem worthy of adoption to the Committee of the British School, it would probably lead to some modification of the plans for building. May I beg you to take this matter into consideration, and to lay the subject before your Committee?
The reply from the British Committee was most cordial, but their building had already progressed so far that “the plan of a library wing in common was no longer feasible.”
The desirability of avoiding duplication of expensive books was recognized, and steps were taken to avoid such unnecessary outlay. This policy of friendly cooperation has meant much to the students of the American School, who have always had access to the British School Library. They have also been allowed to draw books from the British School Library, whereas that privilege has usually been denied them in their own.
The relations of the two schools became later a subject of exalted international interest. The German Emperor, Friedrich Wilhelm, suggested to the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) that cooperation between these two educational institutions was most desirable. Edward, on February 21, 1895, sent for Charles Waldstein, of Cambridge University, who had been Director of the American School from 1888 to 1892 and was then serving the School as Professor of Art. The Prince told Waldstein that he proposed to take steps during the following summer to support the British School, that the Emperor had suggested to him cooperation between the schools, that he thought highly of the idea and desired to know what Waldstein (and presumably the American Committee) would think of it. Waldstein quotes the Prince as saying, “As in our churches, charitable institutions, etc., American and English interests have combined in such places as Rome and Athens, why should there not be a union, federation or confederation of the two schools at Athens? The buildings adjoin; the grounds are the same.”
No action on this imperial and royal suggestion was taken, and the only union of the schools ever achieved was the close and cordial informal cooperation that has always prevailed and the “international tennis court” that lies partly on American and partly on British grounds.
Almost from the beginning it was recognized that the School could not flourish under the care of successive annual directors.
On his return from Athens, Goodwin at the first meeting he attended (November, 1883) pointed out that the “Annual Director was compelled to leave Athens just as he was gaining local knowledge indispensable for carrying on the School to the best advantage—but which he could not, of course, leave to his successor.” The only result of this recommendation at the time was the appointment of a committee to consider raising an endowment to make possible the employment of a permanent director. This committee took no constructive action.
The Managing Committee, however, never gave up the ideal of a permanent directorship, and matters were finally brought to a head by a discussion at the November meeting in 1886.
Norton had informally approached Charles Waldstein, of Cambridge University, and he had shown considerable interest in the matter. Waldstein was a native of New York City, educated at Columbia and Heidelberg. He was at this time Reader in Archaeology in Cambridge University and Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. He was receiving a salary of three thousand dollars. He was naturalized as a British subject in 1889 and remained on the Cambridge staff till 1911. He changed his name as a result of anti-German feeling during the first World War to Walston. He had become known as a promising archaeologist and had already had experience as an excavator. It was thought that his connection with the School would attract many American students. It was voted that the School should be placed in charge of a permanent director, and the Executive Committee was authorized to secure, if possible, the services of Waldstein and actively proceed to raise an endowment.
The following May (1887) Norton reported that he had had a conference with Waldstein, who had expressed himself as willing to accept the appointment, provided an endowment of one hundred thousand dollars could be raised by the opening of the School in 1888. Considering the fact that the endowment fund at that time totalled $8,488.73, the acceptance of this condition would have indicated a tolerably active year in prospect for the Managing Committee.
It was at this meeting that White’s resignation was reluctantly accepted.
In February, 1882, the Committee of the American School had offered the directorate for the first year to Professor Goodwin, and in March he had accepted. He embarked soon after the close of Harvard for England, where he was cordially received by Poole and Percy Gardiner, of the British Museum. They offered to secure for the School Library, gratis, the catalogues of coins, vases and other antiquities issued by the Museum. He visited Jebb in Cambridge and arranged to go with him later to Troy, Assos and Lesbos. Jebb was much less ready than Goodwin to recognize the value of Schliemann’s excavations at Troy. Goodwin was deeply interested in the work of Clark and Francis Bacon at Assos, where among other things Clark had found an archaic inscription written βoυστρoφηδóν. Goodwin hoped it “may be genuine and that it may not take all Germany to read it.” He reached Athens in September, 1882.
The Athens which Goodwin saw on his arrival was not the brilliant city of today. Lowell, who had visited Athens four years earlier, has left two letters which convey his appreciation of the squalor of the present and the glory of the past—the striking fulfillment of Thucydides’ prophecy, “Whereas, if the same fate [i.e., destruction of Sparta] befell the Athenians, the ruins of Athens would strike the eye, and we should infer their power to have been twice as great as it really is.”
To Mrs. E. Burnett:
Athens, May 17, 1878
Here we are in Athens, and just come in from a visit to the Acropolis, which has served to balance our first impressions, which were rather depressing. For to drive from the Piraeus through a dreary country, in a cloud of dust, drawn by two wretched beasts, that ought to have been in their graves long ago, and unable to stop the driver from lashing, because we could speak no tongue he could understand, and then to enter a shabby little modern town, was by no means inspiriting. I was for turning about and going straight back again, but am getting wonted by degrees, and I dare say shall come to like it after a while. I was stupid enough to be amused last night at hearing the boys crying the newspapers in Greek—as if they could do it in anything else—and fancied I caught some cadences of the tragic chorus in the bray of a donkey, the only “Attic Warbler” that I have heard “pour his throat.”
* * *
The position of the Parthenon, by the way, is incomparable, and, as mamma said, the general sadness of the landscape was in harmony with its ruin. It is the very abomination of desolation, and yet there is nothing that is not noble in its decay. The view seaward is magnificent. I suppose the bird of Pallas haunts the temple still by night and hoots sadly for her lost mistress. There was a strange sensation in looking at the blocks which Pericles had probably watched as they were swung into their places, and in walking over the marble floor his sandals had touched. . . . .
To C. E. Norton:
Athens, May 21, 1878
. . . . On the day of my arrival I was profoundly depressed, everything looked so mean—the unpaved and unsidewalked streets, the Western coat and trousers, and what costumes there were so filthy! And yet I was in luck, for the town is filled with Thessalian insurgents, so I see more that is “characteristic” than I had a right to expect. They are dreadful ruffians to all appearances, and reminded me of Macaulay’s Highlanders. In consequence of them I refused to go out to Marathon with Jebb, who is here, and who, after all, went and came safely. But for my official character [United States Minister to Spain] I should have gone. I could not afford the time to be sequestered (as we call it in Spain), and the Minister of State thought it risky. The returning patriots are of a class who are quite indifferent whether they learn the time of day from a Moslem or a Christian time-piece, and to whom money from whatever pocket is orthodox.
In the afternoon of the day of my arrival I walked up to the Acropolis, and turned my nerves and mind to a manlier key. It is noble in position and sublime even in ruin. The impression was all I could wish—profound beyond expectation and without artificial stimulus. You know I prefer Gothic to Grecian architecture, and yet (I cannot explain it) the Parthenon was more effective in its place than a shattered cathedral would have been. But imagination plays such tricks with us. . . . .
Quarters for the School were secured by Goodwin in the second floor of a sizable building opposite Hadrian’s Arch, a convenient and satisfactory location which served the School till, after a few months at Σπíτι M&ecgr;λα in the fall of 1887, it was transferred to its permanent home in 1888.
Goodwin had been given a thousand dollars by the Managing Committee to buy books for the School in England arid Germany. These, a very careful and useful selection, were placed on the shelves of a large room about twenty-three by twenty-nine feet, which, equipped with chairs and a large table, made an excellent working library. This room and the living quarters of Goodwin and his family occupied the entire second floor of the building. Nearby was the EΥAΓΓEΛIKH EKKΛHΣIA, where the Reverend M. D. Kalopothakes held services. He was frequently of great assistance to Goodwin and the succeeding directors of the School, and the relations between his family and the students were often intimate and helpful. On Goodwin’s motion the Managing Committee passed a vote of thanks to him in May, 1883, for his kindness. Later he was presented with copies of all the School publications and in May, 1892, with a copy of Smith’s Bible Dictionary bound in half calf.
The members of the Managing Committee had felt that Goodwin’s position in Athens as Director of the School needed to be reinforced by some official connection with the United States Government. Accordingly, Norton and Sloane entered into correspondence with the Department of State at Washington with this end in view. The result was that on December 12, 1882, Norton was officially notified by the Commissioner of Education that Goodwin had been appointed an Agent of the Bureau of Education in the Department of the Interior, and that notice of his appointment had been forwarded to him. The salary was not specified. Although” Goodwin found this official status quite unnecessary because of the great courtesy extended to the School by the Greek Prime Minister, Trikoupis, a similar appointment was offered to Packard the next year, and a notice of the appointment was sent to him at Yale, June 14, 1883.
No one who has not actually experienced the difficulties of managing a house in Athens can have any idea of the vexatious delays that hinder the performance of the simplest task even today. In 1882 Goodwin found this even more true. He wrote Norton from London in May, 1883:
As I look back on the time I have spent here, I regret chiefly the immense amount of time which I had to spend in getting this house ready and in keeping it running. Every little thing about a house, which at home would require only a word, here takes careful thought and often spoils half a day. When Packard comes into the house, dismantled as it will be after we remove our own property, he will never know what it was to come here as we did last October without even the house itself secured. I hope I have not given up too much time to society and festivity. I am not generally a sinner in this direction; but this winter I have felt that it was a good thing for the new school to make it felt as a social power in Athens; and we have been everywhere recognized, at court and in the best society here, as an institution to be respected and treated with attention. If we had come here and simply gone to work quietly with our students and books, letting society alone, we would have been no more regarded than one of the missionary schools. Now we are known, for better or worse, all over Athens, as well as either of our distinguished predecessors.
During the winter Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin devoted two evenings each week to meetings of the School. Tea and cakes were served. The American residents in Athens were always welcome at these meetings. Twenty or more were usually there on Wednesday, and a smaller number on Friday, when the enthusiasm for the “loaves and fishes” was somewhat abated by the necessity of listening to a paper prepared by some member of the School. Goodwin writes that he did not ask any but Americans to come regularly because “our discussions were often necessarily rather elementary for the ideas of our German friends.” With that genuine modesty that characterized this great scholar he adds, “I feel that this year has been in great part experimental, and that the School is really just ready to start next year with the road opened and many obstructions removed.”
That these meetings were more significant than might be gathered from Goodwin’s description is shown by a letter written from Berlin by Mr. Allan Marquand to Norton, March 31, 1883:
I had a very interesting visit in Athens and took great satisfaction in the School. Professor and Mrs. Goodwin were kindness itself to us. They have secured an attractive and pleasant house with a large comfortable library. The selection of books appeared to be admirably adapted to the purpose. I was particularly pleased to find the School from the start dealing with archaeological questions and not expending all its energy on language.
While we were there we listened to a very interesting discussion concerning the site of Marathon and the position taken by the Greek Army. Dr. Schliemann was present and took some part in the discussion. On another occasion Dr. Sterrett read a very able paper on the Asclepieion.
The paper on Marathon here referred to was written by Fowler.
In June, 1882, Harold North Fowler called at the home of Professor Norton, where he was a frequent guest, to register for membership in the School at Athens. Norton said, “Harold, you are the first one to register.” [See Fowler’s account of the first year of the School in Appendix I.]
Professor Goodwin’s acceptance of the office of director for the first year was largely responsible for the success of the School. His reputation attracted eight excellent students, and so significant was the work done by them that the Managing Committee was able to publish the results as Volume I of the Papers of the School. [Because Bevier was not in residence for the whole school year he was not registered as a regular student. The official registration for the year was seven.]
The students were a notable group; they were all later distinguished classical teachers and scholars. Louis Bevier, of Rutgers and Johns Hopkins, became Professor of Greek in Rutgers; John M. Crow, of Waynesburg College and Syracuse University, became Professor of Greek in Iowa College; Harold North Fowler, of Harvard and Bonn, became Professor of Greek in Western Reserve University; Paul Shorey, of Harvard and Munich, became Professor of Greek in the University of Chicago; J. R. Sitlington Sterrett, of Munich, became Professor of Greek in Cornell; Franklin H. Taylor, of Wesleyan, became Instructor in Classics in the Hartford High School; James R. Wheeler, of the University of Vermont and Harvard, became Professor of Greek Archaeology and Art in Columbia; and Frank E. Woodruff, of the University of Vermont and Union Theological Seminary, became Professor of Greek in Bowdoin College.
It is interesting to notice how Goodwin treated this group of young students. None of them except Sterrett was trained at all in archaeology. They had had little graduate work—one (Taylor) was still an undergraduate—yet Goodwin organized no formal courses for them. They were left to the Greek scenery and their own devices. They were soon led by their own curiosity to investigate the monuments about, to prepare papers and to invite Goodwin to preside at their discussions. The result of this was the series of Friday evening meetings at the School and Volume I of the School Papers. This course of action was deliberate on Goodwin’s part and found approval in his own sight later, for he writes to Norton (November 25, 1907) à propos of a note prepared by Norton and read at a dinner given in Boston in 1907 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the School:
I hardly know how I can express to you the feelings with which I heard the kind expressions regarding my year as Director of the School which you commissioned Wright to read to the meeting. Though I cannot admit that these were deserved by me, I must say that such commendation, coming from you, gave me especial pleasure and satisfaction. I have always felt that my year’s work in Athens was far from being a success; but I have thought that I followed the only course which was possible under the circumstances, in leaving each student to choose his own subject of study and to follow it independently. This certainly provided a more valuable volume of papers at the end of the year than we should have had if I had attempted to direct their studies in definite lines.
No formal trips were taken by the School with the director, but most of the students did travel about Greece. The list of places visited by Fowler is astounding, considering the difficulties of travel by day and the even greater hardships of rest by night. The fear of brigands was no idle fear. Frequently military escorts were forced on the director and the students by a nervous government. Goodwin notes the ludicrous sight his party in the Peloponnesus made “mounted on broken down pack horses and mules creeping along while the mounted dragoons were capering about them on fiery steeds.”
A word should be said about Goodwin’s own contribution to the first volume of Papers. It is a discussion of the tactics of the Battle of Salamis and is the best possible proof of the truth of Seymour’s later claim that for the understanding of Greek history an acquaintance with Greece is indispensable. Stated in its simplest form, Goodwin’s contention was that Xerxes’ navy entered the Straits of Salamis in three columns and that they were attacked on the port quarter by the Greek fleet advancing from behind the shelter of Cynosoura. This follows Aeschylus’ account. In all histories of Greece written before 1882 accounts of the battle describe (following what appeared to be Herodotus’ version) the Persian fleet as drawn up along the Attic shore opposite Salamis, attacking the Greek fleet prow-on as it charged from the shore of the Island.
Goodwin’s paper revolutionized historians’ idea of this famous battle. His conclusions—with only slight individual reservations such as every historian feels compelled to make—are now universally accepted. Since the publication of the first volume of Papers all discussions of the Battle of Salamis start with Goodwin’s paper as a basis.
The high hopes inspired by the brilliant first year at Athens were destined to be disappointed. The director for the second year was Professor Lewis R. Packard, of Yale. He was not in good health when he was elected by the Managing Committee (November, 1882) and had some doubts about the wisdom of accepting the position. He did, however, assume the directorship in Athens in the fall of 1883, though he was far from well.
Only two students were enrolled for this second year, Walter R. Bridgman, of Yale University, and Alexander M. Wilcox, also of Yale.
As a result of his illness Packard was unable to give to these students the assistance which would otherwise have been at their disposal. He was fortunate in being able to secure the help of J. R. Sitlington Sterrett, who was made Secretary of the School for 1883–1884. It was a bitter disappointment to Packard that he was able only once during his stay in Athens to visit the Acropolis. He lived but a few months after his return to America, dying in October, 1884.
For the directorate for the third and fourth years the Managing Committee balloted at the November meeting in 1883, with the result that Professor J. C. Van Benschoten, of Wesleyan University, was elected for the third year, and Professor Basil L. Gildersleeve, of Johns Hopkins, for the fourth. Gildersleeve found it impossible to accept, and the School was deprived of the services of that unique scholar. What his directorate might have meant to the School may be inferred from the three brilliant papers published in The Atlantic Monthly in which he chronicled the events of “My Sixty Days in Greece.” [Volume LXXIX, 1897, pp. 199, 301, 630. There are but two indirect references to the School in these papers: “American explorers have made some noteworthy contributions” to the Museum at Sparta (p. 305) ; and “the trenches which the Americans were digging [at Corinth] had yielded little up to that time” (p. 635). All the director of the School could say was, “It was a pleasure to see Professor Gildersleeve here for a time in the spring.”]
During this third year there was but one student, Thomas H. Eckfeldt, of Wesleyan. The prevalence of Asiatic cholera in the Mediterranean area was one of the charitable reasons given for this decline in attendance. Professor Van Benschoten, in addition to supervising the thesis of Mr. Eckfeldt on the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus, conducted the first of those pilgrimages later known as “School trips.” He devoted the month of May, 1885, to a tour of the Peloponnesus and later went to Asia Minor. Professor Francis W. Kelsey, then of Lake Forest University, was of the party.
The Managing Committee was much worried over the condition of the School. The attendance was a disappointment—three students in two years—and no material that justified publication. Goodwin wrote to Norton (March 25, 1885) that he was fearful that the School “will not endure a third year of ‘adverse circumstances.”’
The directorate for 1885–1886 had been offered to Frederic De Forest Allen, Professor of Comparative Philology at Harvard. Allen was exceedingly reluctant to accept the position. He had little interest in Greek sites. He was urged by President Eliot to accept the post but still refused. White expressed his concern in a letter to Norton (March 17, 1885):
I hope that if you can bring any influence to bear upon Allen, you will do so. He is not disposed to go out next year, although everything has been made easy for him, and his friends are all of one mind. I have told him that he must not give me an answer until he has seen the President. I think if the President told him that he thought it was his duty to go he would not decline. Could you manage to say a word to the President on the matter immediately on his return?
Goodwin avers that “he has no reason worth mentioning: he simply won’t go”—a refusal which reduced Goodwin to the “lowest depth of depression about the poor school.” A few days later Goodwin is much relieved to learn that a night’s reflection has changed Allen’s mind and that he has accepted the directorship.
Allen’s reputation as a scholar and the efforts of the Managing Committee secured for the fourth year five students: William L. Cushing, of Yale; Henry T. Hildreth, of Harvard; J. McKeen Lewis, of Yale; Walter Miller and Miss Annie S. Peck, of the University of Michigan.
In spite of Allen’s lack of enthusiasm for Greek archaeology he proved a most competent director. He met the students for regular exercises more frequently than any previous director—three or four times each week. His interests were largely philological, and his lectures were on the Greek dialects and on inscriptions. One of the students prepared a paper on the phonology of Attic vowels and diphthongs as ascertained from inscriptions. No School trips were made to classical sites under Allen’s direction. But in spite of this philological bias of the director, archaeology would not down. One of the students made a report on Attic sepulchral reliefs, another on the “Temple remains” at Eleusis.
In the By-Laws of the Corporation, the purpose for which it was formed is stated—the study of “classical Literature, Art, Antiquities and subjects germane thereto”—archaeology not being mentioned. In spite of that fact, it was inevitable that archaeology should be one of the subjects studied. Marquand noted with satisfaction that in the first year the students were working on archaeological problems rather than on the Greek language. And during the first year also, Goodwin is pleased by the courtesy of the Ephor of Antiquities, who has extended a unique courtesy to the School in allowing John Crow to explore the “so-called Pnyx,” “at his pleasure with two Greek workmen to dig for him.” The results of this were published in the fourth volume of Papers and, as Goodwin thought, “did much to change opinion in Europe as to the identity of the Pnyx.”
Now the School proposed to conduct a real excavation in the theater at Thoricus. When the question of funds for the excavation was brought to the Managing Committee, Norton spoke in its favor, saying that it would be a great advantage to the Archaeological Institute to have investigators trained by the School who might be useful to the Institute in its periodic excavations. Thus from the beginning the School has had archaeology as one of its recognized branches of study. The School appropriated one hundred dollars for this project, and the Institute two hundred.
Fortunately, we have an account of this excavation by the student who conducted it—the School’s first excavation, described by the School’s first excavator, Walter Miller:
The first excavation undertaken by the American School was conducted at the old theatre in the Attic Deme of Thoricus, about a mile north of Laurium and directly opposite the northern end of the island of Helena. This was in the spring of 1886, at the time when Doerpfeld’s newly announced theory in regard to absence of a stage (in our sense of the word) in the Greek theatre was the subject of discussion everywhere in philological and archaeological circles. The director of the School for that year, Professor Frederic De Forest Allen, was keenly interested in the problem and chose the theatre of Thoricus as a possible monument for confirming or refuting the Doerpfeld theory. The site was conspicuous; for the peculiar circuit wall of the cavea had never been completely covered; it was, therefore, an inviting site for the excavator’s spade.
Sufficient funds were provided by the Managing Committee for the conduct of the work. But Professor Allen was in no sense an archaeologist. He rarely appeared on the Acropolis, although during that winter the marvelous excavation of the whole surface of the hill was taking place, with pre-Persian sculptures and inscriptions rising daily from their resting places—often of more than 2,000 years. He declined to conduct us to Delphi or Olympia. He knew, he said, just how they looked. But he did take us to the mines at Laurium. About the first of April he went there in person, organized a working staff for the excavation at Thoricus, and began the actual work of removing dirt and debris from the cavea. But he soon gave up the task and the work was interrupted for about a fortnight until I should return from my tramp through the Peloponnesus.
On the fifth day of May, 1886, he took me to Laurium and introduced me to the Epistates representing the Greek government, M. Panos. Dr. Allen, who spoke very little Greek and did not get along well with the gentleman, always insisted that Panos was the regularly shortened form of Panourgos (“one who does everything,” sc. bad; “a rascal”). But that was only the professor’s Greek jest. For Panos was the easiest epistates in the world to get along with.
Professor Allen left me with Panos and returned to Athens. Panos engaged the workmen—25 to 30 of them—at the amazing rate of one drachma each per day, and the work began in earnest. The foreman of my gang was one Achilles, a Greek who might have served as a faultless model for a statue of his great ancestor, the handsomest man that fought beneath the walls of Troy. Panos himself found the work tedious and spent most of his time at the coffee shops of Laurium, leaving me to my own devices at the dig.
The first trench was conducted from the middle of the retaining wall at the back of the theatre through the cavea and across the place where the stage would have been, had there been a stage. No trace of any sort of stage building was found. The next trench cleared the entire parados from end to end and from the front row of seats to where the proscenium would have been, had there been a stage. The results, as far as the problem in hand was concerned, were negative. If there ever was any sort of stage building, every vestige of it had been removed.
We next turned our attention to clearing up the rows of seats for the spectators. While this was going on, I had to be constantly on the alert. For those Greek workmen could not be disabused of the idea that I was hunting for buried treasure; and if it was not hidden under one seat, it would surely come to light under the next one; and many a time I had to arrest a pick in the very act of descending to tear a seat from its place!
Dr. Doerpfeld himself took a lively interest in the work and came several times to visit us. His colleague at the German Institute, Dr. Kawerau, made the first drawings for me, as the Institute’s kindly contribution to the excavation.
Thus the work went on, tediously enough, for the month of May, and the excavation was almost completed. It was finished the next year under the direction of Mr. William L. Cushing, and the results were published in the Papers of the American School, Volume IV, pp. 1–34.
Small finds (coins or sculpture or sherds) were practically wanting; such as did come to light were entirely worthless from any point of view.
The first excavation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens contributed nothing to the solution of the then burning question of the Greek theatre. It is interesting only as marking the beginning of the work that has been so splendidly continued through the years since 1886.
Though Miller speaks of this excavation as contributing “nothing to the solution of the then burning question of the Greek theatre,” later writers did not think so. Both this excavation and the work later undertaken by the School at Sicyon and Eretria proved significant in the solution of problems connected with the Greek stage.
The year of Allen’s directorate was rightly counted a success; a creditable excavation and four published papers were the tangible results.
During the fifth year, the last of White’s chairmanship, Martin L. D’Ooge, of the University of Michigan, was Director. There were seven students: Nicholas E. Crosby, of Columbia; William L. Cushing, of Yale; J. McKeen Lewis, of Yale; William J. McMurtry, of Olivet and the University of Michigan; William J. Seelye, of Amherst; S. B. P. Trowbridge, of Trinity and Columbia; and Theodore L. Wright, of Beloit and Harvard. Of these, Cushing and Lewis were spending a second year in the School, a practice which has become increasingly common and has proven highly beneficial, for a student inevitably gains much more from his second than from his first year of residence.
This year saw the excavation at Thoricus completed by William L. Cushing. Weekly meetings were held till March for the presentation of reports. The subjects of these reports show a wide variety of interest, but though the Homeric Question and other literary topics came in for discussion, the great majority of the papers were devoted to archaeological subjects. Regular excursions were made bi-weekly through October and November to sites near Athens. Pausanias was read at a meeting once each week. Two months were given to the study of inscriptions, and during the winter the Acharnians and the Oedipus Goloneus were read. Three public sessions were held, and finally, during March, the director and Dr. Doerpfeld took the School through the Peloponnesus. But this strenuous program was not enough for D’Ooge. In February he visited Sicyon and made arrangements for the excavation of the theater, a privilege which had been granted the School by the Greek Government.
The excavations at Sicyon were carried on during two seasons. During the first year Professor D’Ooge entrusted the excavation to the direction of W. J. McMurtry. Work began March 23, 1887, and was continued till May 10. The site had been selected because the outlines of a large theater were distinguishable, and it was hoped that excavation might throw some light on what was then the most hotly debated archaeological problem—the existence of a stage in the Greek theater of the fifth century. This consideration, as has been said, had motivated the excavation at Thoricus and was to play a part in the selection of Eretria for excavation. Sicyon was also an attractive site for investigation because of its prominence in early Greek history and its importance as a center of art.
The results of the excavation of the theater at Sicyon were interesting and instructive. The lower rows of seats in the cavea were found to resemble those at Epidaurus. Those in the first row were provided with arms. The material was coarse local stone, the workmanship careless. An elaborate system of drains was disclosed. The proscenium was Roman, superimposed on Greek construction. The theater had fourteen aisles dividing the seats into fifteen sections. The diazoma was approached at either end by passages covered by vaults which belonged to the Hellenic part of the theater and were not of Roman construction. North of the theater the stylobate of what appeared to be a stoa was found, also the foundations of a fountain and a small Roman exedra.
The following year Professor Augustus C. Merriam, of Columbia, the Annual Director, continued these excavations. Mortimer L. Earle, a Fellow of Columbia, was in charge. But little time was allowed for the investigation. Work began on December 5, 1887, and was concluded December 30. Little was done save to finish clearing the earth from the orchestra, investigating still further the drainage system and conducting a somewhat desultory and unsuccessful search for tombs. Of the coins found, it is stated only that there were “some thirty-five” of them, all of copper, mostly in bad condition, and that “several were unmistakably Sicyonian.”
There was found, however, during this campaign, a statue of considerable importance, since it is almost the sole representative of Sicyonian art. It is a nude male figure in marble, well preserved. The right arm, nearly all the right leg and the left leg from just above the knee are wanting. Earle discusses this at length in the Papers, Volume V, pp. 27 ff. He concludes that it is a statue of the youthful Dionysus, of local workmanship, of the third century B.C., possibly by Thoinias.
White’s chairmanship ended with his resignation in May, 1887. He had been chairman during the preliminary year, 1881–1882, when the School was brought into being, and during the first five years of its actual operation, 1882–1887. During these early years most of the problems which were to confront the School were solved, and solved with an unerring correctness of judgment that seems almost to have been inspired by Athena.
The income of the School, exclusive of some special gifts made personally to the director in Athens, had been $16,032.67. Of this there remained an unexpended balance at the close of White’s chairmanship of $1,396.95. The rent of the rooms occupied in Athens had cost $4,998.68. The library, which now numbered fifteen hundred volumes, had received $3,403.24. House furnishings had cost $1,442.41; the excavations at Thoricus and Sicyon, $768.84 ($288.30 additional was later spent in Sicyon); and five hundred dollars had been paid to Sterrett for services during the illness of Director Packard. Incidental expenses at Athens had amounted to $367.83 and in America to $517.97. Printing of Bulletins and Reports had cost $557.69, and Volume I of the Papers, $1,494.80. The Archaeological Institute had contributed $250 toward the cost of this volume, thirty-three dollars had been realized from sales, and $96.11 from one hundred copies lost at sea, so that the net cost of Volume I had been $1,115.69. Besides, $983.37 had been advanced toward the cost of Papers, Volumes II, III and IV.
A working procedure for the School had been established. For the next half-century the staff of the School would give to the students courses of instruction on Greek authors whose work dealt with the land of Greece rather than Greek ideals, and courses in Greek art and Greek archaeology. Trips under the direction of the staff would be taken to Greek sites in Attica and elsewhere in Greece. And most important of all, the American School could take its place with the other foreign schools in Athens as an institution devoted to the advancement of our knowledge of the past by excavation and research.
In Athens most excellent relations had been established with the Greek Government, a site for the permanent location of the School had been wisely chosen, funds had been raised, and a worthy building was all but complete, the appointment of a permanent director had been decided on, and a director had been selected.
In America the publication of the Papers of the School had commenced, the beginning of a long series of distinguished studies; a modest permanent endowment had been secured, and there was promise of more gifts to come; a permanent and increasing source of revenue had been discovered in the cooperating colleges, a source of support that provided a sustaining interest as well as financial stability, a distinguished Board of Trustees had been created to hold the permanent funds, and the direction of the School’s affairs and its policies had been definitely placed in the hands of the Managing Committee by a clear pronouncement defining the relation of the Managing Committee to the Board of Trustees and to the Archaeological Institute of America. When these notable achievements are listed it is clear that the course of the School had been well charted. It was the task of subsequent chairmen to steer by that course.