Griffith Institute Archive
Description of material
This description is based on the General International Standard Archival
1. Identity statement
Reference code n/a
Title Petrie W. M. F. MSS.
Dates of creation of the material 1880 to at least 1929.
Extent 10 boxes, 1 album, and 2 folders.
Name of creator Petrie, Sir William Matthew Flinders (1853-1942).
Administrative and biographical history
British Egyptologist. Born, Charlton 1853. Died, Jerusalem 1942. Not formally educated, was first introduced to ancient Egypt after reading Piazzi Smyth's publication of the Great Pyramid. Began his archaeological career excavating and surveying prehistoric sites in Britain, which included a survey of Stonehenge with his father William Petrie. Surveyed the Pyramids, 1880-2. Excavated sites for the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1884-6 and 1896-1905. From 1887 he led his own excavations with the financial support of several patrons. Founded Egypt Research Account, 1894, which then became the British School of Archaeology in Egypt. Appointed the first Edwards Professor (the first chair in Egyptology in Britain) at University College London, 1892-1933. Emeritus Professor, 1933-42. Married Hilda Urlin, 1897. Pioneered archaeology in the Near East, excavating many important monuments. Developed the method of sequence dating based on pottery analysis. The Petrie Museum, University College London, was formed from his own substantial private collection which was bought from him in 1913 by public subscription. A prolific author, he published a huge number of archaeological reports, monographs, articles and reviews.
See Who Was Who in Egyptology (3rd ed. 1995), 329-32.
Custodial history 1. Journals and notebooks in the possession of Miss A. Petrie, presented in 1970. 2.
Photographic album compiled at the Griffith Institute from photographs in the possession of the Griffith
Institute in 1954, original possession unknown. 3. Copies of the negatives of the Italian and Gîza
photographs were made from 660 nitrate negatives, presented by the Petrie Museum, University
College London in 1985 (the nitrate negatives were subsequently destroyed).
Immediate source of acquisition 1. Journals and notebooks, Miss A. Petrie. 2. Photographs in the
possession of the Griffith Institute, method of acquisition unknown. 3. Negatives, Petrie Museum,
University College London.
3. Content and structure
Scope and content Diaries, journals, photographs (one set of the Italian Museum photographs
originally catalogued as Griffith Institute photographs), and two notebooks (copies of the journals with
additions made by Mrs Kate Griffith covering the periods February to May 1893, November 1893 to
March 1897, and November 1897 to Feb. 1901). Modern copies of the journals at the Petrie Museum,
University College London, comprising of a set of microfiche and a CD-ROM.
System of arrangement Mainly kept as received. One of the sets of Italian Museum photographs have
been mounted into an album, another set has been mounted onto loose sheets.
4. Access and use
Legal status Property of the Griffith Institute.
Access conditions No restrictions.
Copyright conditions Copyright Griffith Institute, Oxford.
Language of material English.
Physical characteristics No problems.
Finding aids Preliminary catalogue.
5. Allied materials area
Location of originals These are originals.
Existence of copies Some of the
prints in Petrie's albums have been re-photographed for Dr Y. Harpur. Set of
modern negatives made from the Italian Museums and Gîza photographs,
and some negatives made from the photographs
of the Faiyûm (kept with the original photographs). Facsimile copies
of the journals exist on a CD-ROM which was presented by the Petrie
Museum. A complete set of photocopies made from Petrie's Journals exists in
the Petrie Museum in London.
Related units of description See notes made by Petrie amongst Professor Sayce's papers.
Associated material The papers of Sir W. M. F. Petrie including 113 notebooks are in the Petrie
Museum, University College London.
Publications Not published.
(June 29, 2007)