Much Ado about Mummies

Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Sharf Associate Librarian Rochelle Pienn. Pienn has been processing and cataloging a treasure-trove of rare books, photograph albums, and ephemeral items donated to The Wolfsonian–FIU Library by Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf. Here is her report:

This week, Universal Studios plans to release a new incarnation of the hit movie The Mummy. The concept of a resurrected man turned zombie monster has been scaring paying theater audiences through several separate film franchises since 1932. My favorite version stars Rachel Weisz, who plays a late Egyptologist’s plucky daughter working in the Cairo Museum’s archives. It’s 1926, and the lovely librarian soon encounters a great evil….

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Copyright Universal Studios

In the real, present-day Wolfsonian library, The Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection contains an antique photograph album compiled by a young, vivacious New York socialite who witnesses an unprecedented mass of mummies.

Cover

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

By 1901, Miss Katherine “Kate” Batcheller, daughter of New York State Assembly member Judge George Sherman Batcheller, already enjoys a privileged upper-class education and social status at the age of twenty-one years old. Kate travels with her father, whose post as American Representative in the Court of First Instance in Cairo by President McKinley is followed by President Teddy Roosevelt’s decision to appoint him to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Alexandria, Egypt in 1902.

Father

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Earlier on her trip, Kate visits Tromsø, Norway, where she photographs polar bear skins, reindeer, and Laplanders.

TromsoePolarBearSkins

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Reindeer

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Laps

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

She also captures a glimpse of the S.S. America out to sea with the Baldwin-Ziegler North Pole expedition (which predates Ziegler’s later attempt by two years).

BaldwinZieglerExpedition

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

In July, Kate’s ship passes the German Kaiser’s yacht in the Norwegian fjords, where she opportunistically snaps some shots of the emperor on the gangway.

July21st

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

While taking in Berlin sights, Kate sees a few fast cars.

ParisBerlinAutomobileRace

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Kate arrives at the Port of Suez. In a nearby Arab village she meets Muslims on a religious pilgrimage making their way across the desert.

JeddahPilgrims

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Kate and her father pass through the ancient city of Philae during the construction of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902.

Philae

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Kate’s canine pal reunites with the family, per her cryptic caption. Perhaps the puppy was wary of ancient curses.

Figaro

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Spearheaded by the Egyptian government, the colossal project of transporting and properly housing antiquities from the pyramids reaches an apex of activity in the spring of 1902.

MovingTheMuseum

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

These startling snapshots capture the terrifying pile of uprooted pharaohs and their sentineling sarcophagi.

UnpackingAtTheMuseum

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

A month later, the family finds itself at a more contemporary tomb: Admiral Sampson’s funeral in Washington includes the President of the United States as part of the procession. Sampson’s legacy features a resounding victory at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish–American War.

WashingtonMay1902funeral

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

At the graveyard Kate takes a photograph of this famous Augustus Saint-Gaudens statue. Colloquially known as “Grief,” the ghostly memorial guards the plot of suicide victim Marian Adams.

AdamsMonumentRockCreekCemetery

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

After a stop at home in Sarasota Springs, Kate and her father are soon back at sea. Miss Batcheller seizes an historical moment on deck with this quintessential portrait of President Teddy Roosevelt.

OnBoardLaLorraine

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

To see more of Katherine Batcheller’s exciting tour around the world, visit The Wolfsonian–FIU Library.

~ by "The Chief" on June 9, 2017.

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