Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum

Copy of a Letter About University of Melbourne Papryi sent by J Enoch Powell to Hugh Last in 1939

This is the text of a letter about the Melbourne University papryi sent by J Enoch Powell to Hugh Last in 1939. A copy was kindly forwarded by the Secretary of the Egypt Exploration Society in June 1998:

28 April 1939

My dear Last,

You asked me to find out what had happened to the five papyri which were distributed in 1922 to Sydney University and to Melbourne University. This I have now done as far as I can.

The five sent to Sydney were handed over in the condition in which they arrived by my predecessor Professor Woodhouse to the Librarian, with the request to keep them. They remained in a drawer in the Librarian’s room until this month, when I had them mounted and placed on exhibition with full details in the Nicholson Museum which is incorporated in the University.

About the five sent to Melbourne Mr H.W.Allen, Vice-Master of Ormond College in that University, has been good enough to ascertain that the Librarian handed them on receipt to the Professor of Classics, Professor Scutt. Professor Scutt is this year on leave, but the papyri are not to be found in his department, and the eldest classical lecturer, Mr Kery, who has been at Melbourne for a great many years, has no knowledge of their whereabouts. From this and my knowledge of Professor Scutt I reluctantly conclude that these papyri must be regarded as mislaid, if not lost.

I am afraid that these facts speak for themselves about the practice of distribution, and in particular of distribution of unmounted papyri.

Yours sincerely,

J Enoch Powell

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