Presenter: John Adams, independent scholar, author, director emeritus of the Orange County Public Library, and former ARCE Board of Governors member
Description: At the start of the twentieth century, Theodore Davis was the most famous archaeologist in the world; his career turned tomb-robbing and treasure-hunting into a science. Using six of Davis’s most important discoveries—from the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s sarcophagus to the exquisite shabti statuettes looted from the Egyptian Museum not too long ago—as a lens around which to focus his quintessentially American rags-to-riches tale, Adams chronicles the dizzying rise of a poor country preacher’s son who, through corruption and fraud, amassed tremendous wealth in Gilded Age New York and then atoned for his ruthless career by inventing new standards for systematic excavation. Davis found a record eighteen tombs in the Valley and, breaking with custom, gave all the spoils of his discoveries to museums. A confederate of Boss Tweed, friend of Teddy Roosevelt, and rival of J. P. Morgan, the colorful “American Lord Carnarvon” shared his Newport mansion with his Rembrandts, his wife, and his mistress. The only reason Davis has been forgotten by history to a large extent is probably the fact that he stopped just short of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, the discovery of which propelled Howard Carter (Davis’s erstwhile employee) to worldwide fame just a few short years later.
Location: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Rome Auditorium, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Lecture is free and open to the public. Wine & Cheese Reception: 6:30-7:00 p.m. ($5.00/person is requested). Lecture starts: 7:00 p.m.
Meet-the-Speaker Dinner: 8:15 pm RSVP Important ($5.00/person required to defray cost of speaker's dinner) at the Beacon Hill Restaurant, 1615 Rhode Island Ave. NW (across the street from the lecture venue).
Please invite guests.
Visit the ARCE-DC chapter website for more information and to register for this lecture.