And the countdown begins with 10

The Tenth Most Embarrassing Moment of Ohio History is…

10. Ohio Antiquities are Treasured … in London

Chillicothe (January 1864). Edwin Davis, Chillicothe physician and co-author with Ephraim Squier of Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (the first publication of the Smithsonian Institution), after being unable to interest the Smithsonian or any other American museum or historical society, sold his fabulous collection of antiquities to the English entrepreneur William Blackmore for $10,000.  The collection included more than a thousand artifacts from Mound City, including a remarkable set of effigy platform pipes, which now can be viewed only by going to London, the British Museum having purchased the collection from the Blackmore Museum in 1931.

Cast of Human Head Effigy Pipe from Davis Collection. Cast is from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society.

Further Reading:

Barnhart, Terry A. 2004 In his own right: Dr. Edwin Hamilton Davis and the Davis collection of American antiquities. Journal of the History of Collections 16(1):59-87.

Squier, Ephraim and Edwin H. Davis. 1848 Ancient monuments of the Mississippi valley. Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge 1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Ohio History Central: Edwin Davis

Ohio History Central: Animal effigy pipes

Ohio History Central: Human effigy pipe

Ohio History: Mound City Group

Ohio Memory: Cast of human effigy pipe from the Davis collection

Come back tomorrow for more from The Most Embarrassing Moments of Ohio History!

This entry was posted in archaeology, collections, Curators, sites. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to And the countdown begins with 10

  1. Dean Alexander says:

    It should be noted that the artifacts had already left Ohio when Dr. Davis moved to New York City and took his collections with him. If I remember correctly, Davis was living New York when he sold the collection-so the dateline should be New York, not Chillicothe.

  2. Bill says:

    A lot of O-H-Uh-O’s

  3. Christina says:

    Why is the Historical Society spending time drudging up Ohio’s foibles and follies? Does the state of Ohio seriously have this big of a inferiority complex that is has to prove we have a history of idiots? How about publishing a list of things to be proud of instead?

  4. conley wolfe says:

    come on have a little fun ,if you dont study history you will repeat it

  5. jeffrey_r says:

    I think this is a worthwhile exercise.

    Honestly, I feel like the positive aspects of Ohio’s history (first in flight, cradle of presidents, Roebling Bridge, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Serpent Mound, etc.) are fairly well documented. In contrast, these are stories I haven’t heard. I say keep ’em coming!

  6. Jenny C says:

    I saw this collection when I visited the British Museum in 2004! I was really surprised to stumble across it.

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