The Acquisitions Table: Egyptian Mummy

Egyptian mummy. To be exhibited at the house of [     ]. Ithaca, NY: Mack and Andrus, [between 1825 and 1828]

Only known copy, previously unrecorded, of this 8-page promotional pamphlet. Early in 1826, two Egyptian mummies cleared customs in New York on their way to Peale’s Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts on Broadway. One mummy proved sufficient, however, and the other was sold the next year to three men from upstate New York. Placed on exhibition at Ithaca, it was then trundled around New York, Vermont, and western Massachusetts for the next year and a half, drawing crowds wherever it stopped. Outside of Albany, however, the mummy was stolen by a group of over-zealous medical students, never to be seen again in whole or in part. This pamphlet, with full-page woodcut on the first page, was distributed by the promoters at each stop to drum up business—a blank space was left for the exhibition venue to be added in manuscript—and handed to paying customers. AAS has another Ithaca-printed pamphlet, with identical woodcut but partly variant text, which presumably predates this one. Purchased from Steve Finer. Henry F. DePuy Fund.

Published by

David Whitesell

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

2 thoughts on “The Acquisitions Table: Egyptian Mummy”

    1. Yes, this is the mummy I talk about in my book. It was originally purchased by Henry Barclay, who sold it and another on to Rubens Peale. Peale sold this to a consortium of gentlemen from upstate New York who exhibited it in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. However, I did not know at the time I wrote the book that “Blockhead” had toured Western Massachusetts before going to its demise. I am currently pursuing further information about the mummy’s peregrinations in Massachusetts.
      SJ Wolfe

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