Broadsheet Announcement of a Mummy Unwrapping


Broadsheet Announcement of a Mummy Unwrapping  [ edit ]

This proposal was printed for George Gliddon in order to solicit ticket sales for a series of lectures on “The Art of Mummification in Ancient Egypt” being given at Tremont Temple in Boston, during which Gliddon would unwrap a “black mummy” (so called because of the black cases). The number of sales was limited to three hundred at $5 per sale, which entitled the subscriber to four tickets for each of the three proposed lectures. Gliddon hoped that the proceeds of these sales would offset the cost of obtaining the mummy, which he set at $1500.

The first page has highly detailed illustrations of the mummy and coffin of Anch-ph *** (the rest of the name being illegible on the coffins), as well as the mummy and coffin of another mummy, Got-Mut-As-Anch, which could be seen at the exhibition of Gliddon’s Panorama of the Nile. Gliddon proposed unwrapping Anch in Boston, and would later unwrap the other in Philadelphia. The mummies were described in the announcement as “unopened.” Further details include a bit of the history of each mummy and its probable age. Anch was described as the “daughter of the high priest of Thebes—Got-Thoth-I—who lived between B.C. 1200 and B.C. 1500—say about the time of Moses, or above 3,000 years ago.” Got was pronounced to be the “daughter of a priest and scribe of Thebes—who lived between B.C. 650 and B.C. 1000—say about the time of Solomon, or above 2, 900 years of age.” A brief description of the difficulties Gliddon faced in obtaining the mummies was also on the first page, in order to justify the cost of the tickets and also to titillate the interest of Bostonians in these relics.

The second page of the proposal lists the order and contents of each lecture as well as their terms and conditions, noting that it would take at least two sessions to completely unwrap the mummy. Included also was a note that if the requisite number of subscribers was not obtained, the mummy would not be unwrapped. Reporters for each of the Boston daily papers, and a desk close to the stage were to be furnished with free tickets. After the subscriptions were filled, the general public would be admitted at the cost of 50 cents per lecture.

The third page lists the names of persons who had already subscribed to the lectures and contains space for additional names to be added. Many notable Bostonians were among the first subscribers, including Dr. James M. Warren, Dr. Samuel Parkman and Prof. Louis Agassiz. Ministers, scientists, socialites (including ladies), lawyers, and political personages also appended their names to the subscribers’ list, making up what would be a diverse audience for the shows. Doubtless the inclusion of these names would entice others want to be among the semi-elite crowd and thus be able to get a good close look at the wondrous spectacle of a genuine ancient Egyptian woman who would be unwrapped and explained before their rapt gazes.




H. 10 5/8in, W. 16 1/2in




American Antiquarian Society

Accession Number

BDSDS 1850 (Record ID 210780)