Artifact Collection, circa 2150 BCE -- 2007 CE


Title: Artifact Collection
Dates: circa 2150 BCE -- 2007 CE
Creator: Digital Collections and Archives
Call Number: AC
Size: 27.2 Cubic Feet, 215 Artifact(s), 2 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): The majority of textual item in this collection are in English. There are also some items in Akkadian, Egyptian, Flemish, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, Italian, and Sumerian.  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


The artifact collection is an artificial collection created in 2001, which consists of materials relating to Tufts University and people associated with Tufts University; artifacts from ancient cultures and modern; and manuscripts, prints, and other texts, all dating circa 2150 BCE – 2007 CE. Material relating to Tufts University includes plaques, trophies, and medals; jewelry; textiles; papers and printed materials; and other objects belonging or relating to Tuft University and people associated with Tufts University. Artifacts from ancient cultures include examples of papyrus, cuneiform, scarabs, memorial slabs, a tomb figure, and coins representing varied cultures such as Egypt, Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Greece. There are also examples of coins from modern cultures. Artifacts in this collection include sculptures, a bamboo flute, and a cannon ball. Texts and printed materials include autographs and correspondence; illuminated and early manuscripts; leaves from early printed books, some with woodblock illustrations; governmental documents; maps; painting and prints; Illuminated and early manuscript leaves and leaves from early printed books are mainly from educational or religious texts and are in various languages, including English, Hebrew, Latin, German, Italian, French and Flemish.


This collection is arranged into six series: Tufts materials; Coins; Cuneiform, scarabs, memorial slab, and tomb figure; Manuscript, printed, and book history materials; Portraits, paintings, and sculptures; and other artifacts.


Biographical / Historical

Digital Collections and Archives is the Tufts University steward for all archival records and materials of significant and historical relevance to the college, and compiled the artifact collection.

The collection began as the University Archives, which were incorporated in 1965 by the Tufts University Board of Trustees (Annual Reports 1965-1988). Previously, the position of archivist was loosely created in 1959 as a means of processing and acquiring important university and student records for preservation. This role was filled by Tufts history professor and historian Russell L. Miller, who also wrote the Tufts University history "Light on the Hill." The archives were considered a department of the University Library (known as Eaton and then Wessell at that time), overseen by the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

The university's archives were first kept in Eaton Library, but moved to the Wessell Library building in 1965. Originals of some records were sent to vaults in Ballou Hall for storage. In 1991, due to budget issues, the university archivist was laid off. When the office was reopened in 1997, it was as the University Archives and Special Collections, also located as a department within the Tisch Library.

In July 2001, Digital Collections and Archives was created when the University Archives was tasked with developing a Tufts Digital Library. The department moved from the College of Arts, Science and Engineering to the Central Administration, directed by the University Provost. The Special Collections department remained under Tisch Library.

DCA is currently physically housed in Tisch Library building.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Preferred Citation

Artifact Collection, circa 2150 BCE – 2007 CE. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection was processed by Archives and Research Assistant Rose Koven under the supervision of Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt in 2019. Materials were intellectually organized into 6 series of related materials, and two of those series were broken down into subseries. Titles on some objects were modified to reflect current archival standards and to better describe the objects, and dates were added or correctly when applicable.

Subjects and Genre Terms

Series Description

  1. Tufts materials, circa 1700 -- 2007

    This series contains artifacts and printed materials dated circa 1700 -- 2007 that are associated with Tufts University in general and as well as with people associated with Tufts University. Artifacts include jewelry such as pins and watches; plaques, trophies, and medal; textiles such as Tufts apparel and clothing belonging to the Tufts family; materials gathered from Alonzo Ames miner's birthplace; and other objects such as elephant figurines and copper engraving plates for Tufts diplomas and certificates.

    1. 1.1. Alonzo Ames Miner materials, circa 1700 -- 1927

      This sub-series contains materials gathered from the birthplace of Alonzo Ames Miner, Tufts's second president (1862 – 1875), as well as stamped envelopes addressed to him and a silver spoon engraved with his name, circa 1700 – 1927.

    2. 1.2. Jewelry, circa 1818 -- 1968

      This sub-series contains jewelry, including class, fraternity, and Tufts pins; a medallion; World War I Liberty Loan and Victory buttons; and watches dating circa 1818 – 1968.

    3. 1.3. Other objects, circa 1815 -- 1979

      This sub-series contains objects relating to both Tufts University and people associated with Tufts University dating circa 1815 – 1979. These objects include elephant figurines, engraving plates, and commemorative objects.

    4. 1.4. Papers and printed materials, circa 1767 -- 1969

      This sub-series contains papers and printed materials related to Tufts University and people associated with Tufts University dating circa 1767 – 1969. This includes matriculation books; the original deed for the land Tufts on which Tufts stands; maps and building plans; a codicil to the will of Rebeccah Davidson; and other Tufts printed documentation. More maps can be found in Series 4, Sub-series 7: Maps.

    5. 1.5. Plaques, trophies, and medals, circa 1893 -- 1973

      This sub-series contains plaques, trophies, and medals presented to Tufts University and members of its community dating 1893 – 1973. These include sports trophies and plaques; debate trophies; and medals presented to Tufts alumni Vannevar Bush (1890 – 1974) and John T. Blake (1901 – 1987) for their achievements in the sciences and engineering.

    6. 1.6. Textiles, circa 1782 -- 2007

      This sub-series contains textiles related to the Tufts University and people associated with Tufts University dating circa 1782 – 1970. These include clothing belonging to the Tufts family; clothing worn by Tufts students and alumni; and banners made for Tufts classes.

  2. Coins, circa 335 BCE -- 1995 CE

    This series contains coins from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas dating circa 338 BCE -- 1995.

  3. Cuneiform, scarabs, memorial slab, and tomb figure, circa 2150 BCE -- 0100 CE

    This series contains examples of cuneiform writing, scarabs, and a tomb figure of a pharaoh dating from circa 2150 BCE – 1924 BCE, as well as a Roman memorial slab dating circa 0100 CE.

  4. Manuscript, printed, and book history materials, circa 0100 -- 2007

    This series contains manuscripts, prints, and book history materials dating circa 0100 – 2007. Manuscripts includes documents written on papyrus, illuminated manuscript leaves, leaves from religious texts, corresondence, and speeches. Printed material includes governmental records from the US, Britain, and Russia; leaves from religious texts as well as early printed books, some with woodblock illustrations; correspondence; and newspapers. There are also hand-drawn and printed maps, as well as illustrative and photographic prints. The book history material consists of type-writers and book binding material.

    1. 4.1. Autographed letters collection, circa 1812 -- 1965

      This sub-series contains correspondence and photographs signed by notable figures dating circa 1812 – 1965. People of note represented in this sub-series include Albert Einstein, Charles Dickens, and Jack London.

    2. 4.2. Book history materials, circa 1819 -- 1960

      This sub-series contains typewriters and book binding materials dating circa 1819 – 1960.

    3. 4.3. Ephemera, circa 1893 -- 1898

      This sub-series contains printed ephemera dating circa 1893 – 1898. This includes a postcard and ticket from the World's Columbian Expositions dated 1893; four Apache playing cards dated circa 1898; and stamps illustrating the Stamp Act, undated.

    4. 4.4. Governmental records, circa 1600 -- 1945

      This sub-series contains governmental records from Great Britain, Russia, and the United States dating circa 1600 – 1945. These records include royal declarations and proclamations from Great Britain; a Russian military order; American WWII bond posters and WWI military envelopes; a Massachusetts treasury certificate; American documents describing land ownership; and a complaint and warrant filed against David Kelly in Kingston, New Hampshire.

    5. 4.5. Illuminated and early manuscripts, circa 0900 -- 1600

      This sub-series contains illuminated and early manuscript leaves from religious texts dating circa 0900 – 1600.

    6. 4.6. Manuscripts, circa 1698 -- 1999

      This sub-series contains manuscripts written circa 1698 – 1999. These manuscripts mainly consists of correspondence dating circa 1698 – 1891. Also included in this subseries are a Fourth of July speech dated 1813; fragments of a journal dating 1774 and a report dating 1860; an "I owe you" document dating 1772; two handwritten lists dating circa 1780 – 1860; a copy of a prophecy by Mother Shipton (1488 – 1561) dating circa 1862; and a page from a Patrick family Bible dating circa 1775 -- 1809. There is also a Megillah scroll written in Hebrew from the 19th or 20th century.

    7. 4.7. Maps, circa 1586 -- 1947

      This subseries contains printed and hand drawn maps dating circa 1586 – 1947. Most of the maps date from the 1800s and depict European countries. These maps also depict the African, Asian, European, North America, and South America continents as well various islands including the British Isles and East Indian Islands. Some maps of European and American cities can be found in this subseries, including printed and hand-drawn maps of the Tufts campus and the surrounding areas dating 1852 – 1947.

    8. 4.8. Papyrus, circa 0100 -- 0850

      This sub-series contains papyrus dating circa 0100 – 0850.

    9. 4.9. Printed materials, 1478 -- 1893

      This sub-series consists of printed texts dating circa 1478 – 1893. Most of the materials in this series are printed leaves from religious, some with woodblock illustrations, or early texts as well as facsimiles of the same. There are also correspondence, newspapers, and speeches in this series.

    10. 4.10. Prints and painting, circa 1741 -- 2007

      This sub-series contains illustrative and photographic prints as well as a painting on canvas dating circa 1741 – 2007. The prints include reproduction and original art prints; portraits; and prints depicting citiy scenes.

  5. Portraits, paintings, and sculptures, circa 1863 -- 1970

    This series contains portraits, paintings, and sculptures dating circa 1863 – 1970. Items depict notable men and literary figures including Francis Parkman (1863); Jack London (1913); and Moby Dick (circa 1970).

  6. Other artifacts, circa 1600 -- 1950

    This series contains artifacts dating circa 1600 – 1950 accrued by Digital Collections and Archives over time. These artifacts include a bamboo pipe flute, a cannon ball, memorabilia from the National Congress for the League of Nations, research notes on the history of apples, and a silver cup.