John Henry Haynes
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John Henry Haynes
John Henry Haynes
John Henry Haynes 001.jpg
John Henry Haynes (Copyright UPenn)
First American Consul in Baghdad

Personal details
Born27 January 1849 (1849-01-27)
Rowe, Massachusetts
Died29 June 1910 (1910-06-30) (aged 61)
North Adams, Massachusetts
Spouse(s)Cassandria Artella Haynes

John Henry Haynes (27 January 1849 - 29 June 1910) was an American traveller, archaeologist, and photographer, best known for his archaeological work at the first two American archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia at Nippur and Assos. Haynes can be regarded as the father of American archaeological photography and his corpus remains an important record of numerous archaeological sites across Ottoman Anatolia.


The eldest son of John W. Haynes and Emily Taylor, Haynes came from humble beginnings. Haynes' father died when he was still young - he put off his education to care for his younger siblings.

Early life

In 1870 at the age of 21 Haynes enrolled in Drury Academy in North Adams, and in 1872 he began at Williams College in Williamstown. He worked his way through college - nicknamed 'Daddy' by his younger classmates. In 1880 a chance encounter with Charles Eliot Norton, the first president of the American Institute of Archaeology, led to a position on an archaeological expedition to Crete. Arriving in Crete he met the photographer, William James Stillman, from whom he began to learn the basics of photography, assisting in Stillman's work documenting the Acropolis in Athens.[1]

Excavations and the arts

From Athens, Haynes joined an American archaeological excursion to Assos, where he worked under Joseph Thacher Clarke as an archeological photographer. At the end of 1881 he travelled to Istanbul where he was hired as a tutor at Robert College. In Istanbul he befriended the epigrapher John Robert Sitlington Sterrett. The two travelled to Cappadocia, and later in 1884 Haynes resigned his post at Robert College to join the Wolfe Exhibition, which travelled south into Mesopotamia, and then back through Syria, stopping at Erbil, Mosul, Nippur, Palmyra, and Dura-Europos, looking for a suitable site for an American Excavation in Babylonia. In 1887 Haynes set out again, this time with William R. Ware, revisiting Anatolian sites like Eflatunpinar, Cappadocia and Kayseri, and heading for the rock-cut monuments of Phrygia. On the way he made important records of the ruins at Binbirkilise. Gertrude Bell would later record the site, but there appears to have been an earthquake before her arrival.[2]


In 1888, the Babylon Exploration Fund at the University of Pennsylvania launched an archaeological expedition to Mesopotamia, in Nippur. Haynes was appointed field manager and photographer for the expedition and first American Consul in Baghdad. The expedition was led by John Punnett Peters and Hermann Volrath Hilprecht. The expedition was delayed waiting for a permit until 1889. Almost immediately it disintegrated due to clashes between Hillprecht and Peters. The following season (1889-90) Peters and Haynes returned to the excavation whilst Hilprecht remained in Istanbul. After two seasons Peters left the excavations and Haynes was left in charge. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, Haynes continued to work at the site, losing a close friend and assistant to dysentery along the way (Mr.Joseph A. Meyer, a young graduate student in the department of architecture at MIT, died December 20, 1894 at the house of the United States Consul in Baghdad).[3]

In 1896 Haynes returned to the United States for a period of rest. In 1898 he returned to Mesopotamia, with his new wife Cassandria Artella Smith; their relationship deteriorated amongst the mudflats. However in 1900, Haynes discovered what was alleged to be the Temple Library of Nippur. 23,000 tablets were extracted from the excavation. Much of what we know about Sumerian literature comes from this discovery. Almost immediately Hilprecht returned to the site 'rescuing' it from Haynes alleged incompetence. His quick action would make him a famous man, the hero of the dig at Nippur.[4]

Retirement and death

Haynes left Nippur a broken man. He had come away empty handed, his marriage was failing. He returned to Massachusetts in 1900 and in 1905 had a mental breakdown and was institutionalised. His obituary of 27 June 1910 called him 'Broken in Body and Spirit.' He is buried in North Adams, Massachusetts, his tombstone a replica of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.[5]


Haynes career was largely ignored by the academic establishment until 2011, with the publication of John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire by Robert G. Ousterhout, Professor of at the University of Pennsylvania. The Pera Museum in Istanbul and the University of Pennsylvania have also organised exhibitions of his photographs.[6]

See also


  1. ^ p. 10-17, John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire
  2. ^ p. 38-43, John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire
  3. ^ p. 116-117, John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire
  4. ^ p. 118-119, John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire
  5. ^ p. 119, John Henry Haynes. A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire
  6. ^ Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans

Further reading

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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