And the countdown begins with 10


The Tenth Most Embarrassing Moment of Ohio History is…

10. Ohio Antiquities are Treasured in London

Chillicothe (January 1864). Edwin Davis, Chillicothe physician and co-author with Ephraim Squier of Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (the first publication of the Smithsonian Institution), after being unable to interest the Smithsonian or any other American museum or historical society, sold his fabulous collection of antiquities to the English entrepreneur William Blackmore for $10,000.  The collection included more than a thousand artifacts from Mound City, including a remarkable set of effigy platform pipes, which now can be viewed only by going to London, the British Museum having purchased the collection from the Blackmore Museum in 1931.

Cast of Human Head Effigy Pipe from Davis Collection. Cast is from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society.

Further Reading: Barnhart, Terry A. 2004 In his own right: Dr. Edwin Hamilton Davis and the Davis collection of American antiquities. Journal of the History of Collections 16(1):59-87.

Squier, Ephraim and Edwin H. Davis. 1848 Ancient monuments of the Mississippi valley. Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge 1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Ohio History Central: Edwin Davis

Ohio History Central: Animal effigy pipes

Ohio History Central: Human effigy pipe

Ohio History: Mound City Group

Ohio Memory: Cast of human effigy pipe from the Davis collection


Come back tomorrow for more from The Most Embarrassing Moments of Ohio History!



Posted March 3, 2010

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