From Trace to Text: Highlights from the University of Michigan Papyrology Collection

Curated by Arthur Verhoogt (Professor of Papyrology and Greek, former Acting Archivist of the Papyrology Collection), Adam Hyatt (former Papyrology Collection Manager)


The University of Michigan Papyrus Collection is a premier collection of papyri, recognized worldwide for its great breadth and the excellence in research, teaching, and outreach it supports.  Founded by the visionary Francis W. Kelsey, the Papyrus Collection has been the training ground for many papyrologists and home to many great resident scholars:  Arthur Boak, Campbell Bonner, Henry Sanders, John Winter, Orsamus Pearl, Roger Pack, William Worrel, Elinor Husselman, Herbert and Louise Youtie, Ludwig Koenen, and Traianos Gagos.  This exhibit coincided with a colloquium (October 29-30, 2010) to honor the teaching of Traianos Gagos, who died much too young on April 24, 2010.

The vision and hard work of Traianos Gagos ensured that this papyrus collection was ready for the twenty-first century.  Through his efforts, the documents received the conservation care that they needed, and almost all texts were made available in an online database.  His ambition was to share the results of papyrological scholarship with a wide audience of students and the general public.

This exhibit introduces the visitor to the work that goes into making a papyrus text understandable. It also showcases the texts from the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection that are used most frequently in teaching and research, along with some recent discoveries.