By Peg Lourie
Oct 28, 2011
UM Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and former Director of the Kelsey Museum John Griffiths Pedley has written a book about the life and work of Francis Willey Kelsey. Its publication will be celebrated with a book signing by the author at the Kelsey Museum, Thursday, December 1, 2011, 5:00-7:00 pm.
As Professor Pedley's book details, the famously energetic Kelsey was not only professor of Latin at the University of Michigan from 1889 to 1927 and president of both the Archaeological Institute of America and of the American Philological Association, he was also an indefatigable traveler, author, editor, administrator, fundraiser, and advocate for refuges from World War I. He was even president of the University Musical Society.
Kelsey was crucially involved in the founding or growth of major educational institutions. Coming to maturity in a period of great technological change in communications, transportation, and manufacturing, he took full advantage of such innovations in his ceaseless drive to promote education for all, to further the expansion of knowledge, and to champion the benefits of the study of antiquity. As a vigorous traveler around the United States, Europe, and the Mediterranean, Kelsey strongly believed in the value of personally viewing sites ancient and modern and collecting artifacts that could be used by the new museums and universities that were springing up in the United States.
More than half the holdings of the UM museum that bears his name were items that Kelsey obtained in the Mediterranean region--particularly from the site of Karanis in Egypt--and shipped back to Ann Arbor. They form the basis of his lasting legacy to the University of Michigan community as well as to archaeology enthusiasts everywhere.