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James Teackle Dennis collection of artifacts

Identifier: MS-GAR-032
James Teackle Dennis (1865-1918) was a volunteer assistant on several archeological digs in Egypt and traveled extensively through Europe. This collection consists of a wide variety of artifacts collected by Dennis and dating from the ancient world to approximately 1914.


  • approximately 950 BCE - 1914

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.


1.3 Cubic Feet (2 card file boxes (10.75 x 8.75 x 12 inches))

Biographical / Historical

James Teackle Dennis was born in Baltimore in 1865 and died in Woodbrook, MD, in 1918. He attended Lafayette College and pursued graduate studies in Semitic Languages at Johns Hopkins from 1896-1898 and from 1899-1903, although apparently without receiving a degree. He worked as a volunteer assistant on several archeological digs in Egypt and published several books on his travels and studies, including The Burden of Isis, a translation of a set of hymns to Isis. He also traveled extensively through Europe.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a wide variety of artifacts dating from the ancient world to approximately 1914. Some artifacts include fragments of Roman villas, ammunition from the American Civil War, a piece of the USS Constitution, and a piece of molten lead from Baltimore fire, 1914.

Other Finding Aids

A more complete legacy online finding aid for this collection is available:

Custodial History

The artifacts were were formerly stored at the Evergreen Museum & Library and were transferred to Special Collections in 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

It is not clear how the present objects came to the university.

This collection was exhibited at Southeast Missouri State University in the late 1970's, and the accompanying catalogue (a copy of which is in the department's vertical file) features an informative essay on Dennis’s life and archeological work. The essay states that much of Dennis's personal collection was donated to JHU in 1918, but had 'dwindled considerably' by 1977. Ellen Reader Williams' The Archaeological Collection of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore: JHU Press, 1984) notes Dennis' activities and illustrates some fragmentary reliefs that JHU received as a result. Significantly, however, she identifies one of them as "probably" part of a shipment from Dennis, implying that records about the receipt of the objects are not complete.

Related Materials

The majority of Dennis' papers are deposited at the Maryland Historical Society as MS 233, and a copy of his 1916 will can be found in the J. Appleton Wilson papers, MS 83, also at the Maryland Historical Society. The Griffith Institute, part of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, has some papers of his relating to his work in Egypt. In addition, a small collection of Egyptian artifacts belonging to Dennis is in the Malden Historical Society in Missouri.

Processing Information

The artifacts were stored in separate small (about 3" x 5") manila envelopes, except for a few larger items, which were loose. Accession numbers and descriptions of each object were written on the envelopes (larger items had taped labels, which were removed). Also included with the collection was a registry of the objects on several 4" x 6" cards. Discrepancies between the registry and the objects received from Evergreen are noted in the inventory.

Repository Details

Part of the John Work Garrett Library (Evergreen Museum and Library) Repository

4545 N. Charles Street
Baltimore MD 21218 USA