Recently a family discovered not one, but seven rare baseball trading cards of Ty Cobb in their grandfather’s attic. The cards are more than a century old and may be worth a million dollars. Wow, if all discoveries were this financially rewarding.
Not as financially rewarding, but still generating amazement were the discoveries of Dr. Beth Barr’s HIS 1307 students as they examined the archives of the archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon. Dame Kenyon was instrumental in excavations in the Holy Land and her work excavating the mound in Jericho resulted in a book which “largely rewrote the history of ancient
civilization in Palestine” (ONDB). The photographs in the collection record the first digs of the most recent layer of civilization in the area and the artifacts found there.
Among these photos, students also discovered the history of Dame Kenyon’s scholarship. They saw the various stages of a book from her handwritten manuscript to the typescript with her corrections, through to the publishers galley copy sent back to Dame Kenyon for her review. The box containing the handwritten manuscript also included the slips of paper on which Dame Kenyon hand recorded the notes for the index to her book (long before Microsoft Word and its tools).
One student, Kevin Malone, discovered a copy of a book contract proposal sent to Dame
Kenyon for a school textbook. Kevin’s comment reflects the joy and amazement that comes from discovering the traces of other lives and occupations: “seeing these made me glad I changed my major to history!”