Descendants of the Capps Family Visit the ASCSA
The Capps family tree runs like the Parthenon frieze! Thanks to Deborah Barkley Hill, whose mother-in-law was Priscilla Capps Hill (the daughter of Edward Capps), the Archives owns a copy of the family's extended tree. On the occasion of Joshua Lister's visit I taped a copy of the family tree in the corridor outside the School's Archives. (It was supposed to be temporary but I still have not taken it down because I like to study the various branches of the family every time I go by.) For the School, Edward Capps is an iconic figure. He was described as the School's "Second Founder" in Louis E. Lord's History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Cambridge Mass.1947, p. 270). He will always be appreciated for creating the School's endowment (the School did not have one until the 1920s), for raising funds for the construction of the Gennadius Library and Loring Hall, and, most importantly, for launching the Athenian Agora excavations. A staunch advocate of Greece, Capps founded The American Friends of Greece and for many years edited The Philhellene. He is also famous for his antagonistic relationship with Bert Hodge Hill, director of the School from 1906 to 1926. Today Capps and Hill, the two "mutually antagonistic philhellenes,' stare at each other from their bronze palques at the entrance to the Blegen Library. At the School we also remember Capps's daughter Priscilla and her philanthropic endeavours, as well as her passion for Greek folk art. Finally, in memory of Edward Capps's great achievements, the School established the Edward Capps Society in 2009 "to recognize and honor, during their lifetime, those individuals who have provided for the future of the School... ." No wonder we always get excited when we hear that a member of the Capps family wants to visit the School. Joshua Capps Lister, descendant of Alfred T. Capps (one of Edward Capps's eight siblings), shared with us information gleaned from a number of documents that he has retrieved from the family archive. Since most of Capps's papers at the School are related to his professional activities, ASCSA director Jim Wright and I enjoyed hearing Joshua reading excerpts from letters that revealed Capps's personal side. I would also like to mention the recent visit (2011) of Daniel W. Capps Jr. (also a descendant of Alfred T. Capps), whom I did not meet because I was away on leave; Daniel and his wife were shown the Agora Excavations by Irene Romano, then Administrative Director of the School. Finally, in 2009, Jack Davis, then Director of the School, and I enjoyed the visit of Mary Scranton, daughter of Robert (Bob) Scranton, excavator of Kenchreai, and Louise Carleton Capps (whose father was Stephen Reids Capps III, another sibling of Edward Capps). We look forward to meeting more members of the extended Capps family. Joshua, please spread the word!