From January 14 through April 24, 2015, diaries kept by Kelsey Museum founder Francis W. Kelsey and photographs taken by photographer George R. Swain during their travels in Armenia are on display in the Hatcher Graduate Library’s Audubon Room.
Kelsey and Swain undertook their expedition to the Near East in 1919-1920, during a tumultuous time in its history. As European colonial powers sought to divide up the territory of the multiethnic Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War I, the Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal was fighting a war of independence. Kelsey was determined to collect as many ancient manuscripts as possible, fearing that “unless peace comes soon enough to save the remnants” of Greek and Armenian society, who have “been practically exterminated in certain large regions of Asia Minor,” no record of these Christian communities would remain. As Kelsey’s diaries and Swain’s photographs show, their travels also document a significant moment in twentieth-century history.
Click here and here for descriptions of the exhibition. And visit the website of the Kelsey Museum’s 1990 exhibition “Dangerous Archaeology: Francis Willey Kelsey and Armenia (1919-1920).” The catalogue of that exhibition is available for purchase here.