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Q: Finding a photo or protrait of Alexander Henry Rhind ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Finding a photo or protrait of Alexander Henry Rhind
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: brad09032002-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 17 Mar 2005 10:45 PST
Expires: 16 Apr 2005 11:45 PDT
Question ID: 496235
I'm trying to find a photo or portrait of Alexander Henry Rhind, a
Scottsman (born in Wick, Scotland in 1833) who in 1858 purchased in
Egypt, a mathematical papyrus now known as the Rhind Papyrus
-preserved in the British Museum.  We are searching very hard but
coming up with nothing... one of our last thoughts is that maybe if we
could find out what major newspapers were being printed in 1958-1960
in London, there might be a drawing, or something visual announcing
Rhind's find upon his return to England.

So, barring that you could find a portrait or photo of Rhind, how
could we find out which newspapers were being printed at that time in
England and where they are located for research?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 17 Mar 2005 13:05 PST
I found a fair amount of material that discusses Rhind's arcaeological
work in considerable detail, but very little on Rhind himself.

I searched the London Times, but nothing showed up during his lifetime.  

A Scottish newspaper is also available online, and you might want to
have a look.  You can access the online archives of The Scotsman here:

A search for [ rhind and egypt ] turned up suprisingly little in the
way of contemporary news when Rhind was alive, but it did yield an

The Late A. Henry Rhind, Esq. of Sibster
July 8, 1863

As a rule, newspapers didn't carry pictures back in those days, but I
didn't retrieve the actual article, as there is a fee to do so.

However, you may want to have a look at it yourself, to see if it's of help.

If you want to know a bit more about archive material in the UK (most
of it NOT available online), I can certainly give you some pointers as
an answer to your question.

Let me know.


Clarification of Question by brad09032002-ga on 17 Mar 2005 16:21 PST

Check this out...

I went to (as you suggested) and paid for a
24-hour premium access.  I searched between 1858 and 1863.  This is
when Rhind would have come back from Thebes with the Papyrus, and
right after he died.  An article appeared in the December 2, 1863
issue of the Scotsman posted by the "Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland".  I have already contacted this society through another
referral but have not heard anything back thus far.

HOWEVER, I printed the article and in the last paragraph look what was stated!

"... the meeting cordially adopted a suggestion by Mr. Stuart (this is
a guy who I believe wrote a book about Rhinds life) for procuring a
likeness of Mr. Rhind to be hung in the Museum, and expressed their
deep sense of gratitude for his valuable bequests, as well as their
sorrow for his early death"

(Rhind bequethed his estate to the Society).

SO!  I feel some slight vindication in that I have been searching (and
searching) for days and everyone has told me that nothing exists...
and that may be true, but at least here now is clear evidence that
something was SUPPOSED to have existed!

I searched at the Library of Congress and found they have a copy
of John Stuart's book about Rhind and since I'm in the DC area
I'm going to try and go down and see if there is a picture in the 
book of Rhind. 

Anything else you can come up with would be greatly appreciated
(unless I've used up my $50).


Subject: Re: Finding a photo or protrait of Alexander Henry Rhind
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 17 Mar 2005 16:53 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Terrific...I'm glad to hear that the lead I gave you was worthwhile. 
Hopefully, it will be the key that opens the lock to more informaiton.

On that same topic, I found some additional information that, I hope,
qualifies as a respectable answer to your question.

I suggest you have a look at the website for the Society of Antiquaries in London:

I conducted a search on [ rhind ] in their library cataloge (set the
search parameters to "Keywords"), and you'll find a good list of
publications by -- or about -- A.H.R:*&PID=11886&SEQ=20050318003003&CNT=50&HIST=1&SEARCH_FROM_TITLES_PAGE=Y
[not sure this link will work for you, but give it a try to see the results list]

Here are the Rhind books, including the Stuart book you alluded to:


-- Facsimiles of two papyri found in a tomb at Thebes / with a
translation by Samuel Birch and an account of their discovery by A.
Henry Rhind.    1863

-- Memoir of the late Alexander Rhind, of Sibster / John,F.S.A.,
Scot., 1813-1877 Stuart.  Stuart, John, F.S.A., Scot, 1864

-- Thebes : its tombs and their tenants, ancient and present / A.
Henry Rhind.  Rhind, A. Henry. 1862

-- British archaeology, its progress and demands,/ by A. Henry Rhind. 
Rhind, A. Henry (Alexander Henry),  1858

-- Law of treasure-trove : how can it be best adapted to accomplish
useful results? / by A. Henry Rhind.  Rhind, A. Henry (Alexander
Henry),  1858

Database: Society of Antiquaries of London / Library Catalogue  
 Search Request: Keyword Relevance Search = RHIND


You should probably contact the Society at: 

as they may be able to check these books (or other archives they
possess) for a picture of your man.

Lastly, you mentioned that the Scotsman article mentione a Museum that
may or may not have received an image of AHR.  Do you know what museum
it was?  If you let me know, I can check into that as well.

Hope you consider this all worthwhile info.  But before rating this
answer, please let me know if there's anything else I can do for you. 
Just post a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your service.

And one last thing.  If you haven't used the Library of Congress
services before, you'll need to register as a researcher at the
library -- when I did it(I live in DC...Tenleytown), it took about an
hour.  All you need is a driver's license or other photo ID.

Here's wishing you success in your quest,


Request for Answer Clarification by brad09032002-ga on 18 Mar 2005 08:47 PST

Bingo!  I contacted the Director of the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland and wrote out the last paragraph of the posting in the DFec
02, 1863 Scotsman.  She replied today:

Dear Brad,
It is marvellous to hear of someone researching Alexander Henry Rhind
- his portrait is in fact hanging on the wall of my office. We have a
colour transparency of the portrait and I will see if I can get
someone in the Museum to scan it into digital format to send to you -
do you have any preferred format? The portrait is rather dark, so it
may not be the best of reproductions, but better than nothing! A
donation (at your discretion) to the Society would be very gratefully
with best wishes,

Unbelievable.... this could really be something in that I also received
today the responses from another 5 people (including the Egyptian and
Sudan division of the British Museum) that say as far as they know
nothing exists.  It could be that I can put the Director of the
British Museum together with Andrea and have a copy of Rhind's
portrait placed next to the Rhind Papyrus.
Now how cool would that be for anyone seeking (like I have been) to
have it all together one place... we'd be heroes you and I.

Not sure how to thank you... although I almost gave up poring through
articles in the Scotsman looking for anything that woiuld indicate
Rhind, then finding this paragraph that says John Stuart proposed a
likeness... it was your tip to look there in the first place that
brought it all together.  I can't thank you enough.

BTW, the tip on the L.O.C. is a good one because I need the earliest
edition of De Rerum Natura for this same documentary and found a 1515
edition in  their catalog (whether it's actually there or not remains
to be seen...).
I'm waiting to hear from them if I can bring a small scanner down to
scan the cover and one or two interior plates.  Have you had
experience with being allowed to do that?

Finally, the last "problem child photo" is one of an early German mathematician
named Johannes Widman.  He taught at the University of Leipzig
1468-1486 (approx).  He is credited with including the +, and - signs
for the first time in a math book.  We're really striking out on
this...It's hard to accept that the University of Leipzig (600 years
old) wouldn't have drawings or protraits of ALL their alumni over the
years hanging somewhere.  But we're just not
getting anywhere.

I'm tempted to spend some more money... what do you think the chances
would be of finding something?


Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 18 Mar 2005 09:04 PST
I love hearing that something impossible to find has been found...this
makes my day.  Thanks for the stars and the kind words and keeping me
up to date.

As for the LOC, I doubt they would permit you to bring your own
scanner, but they do have reproduction services available at the
library -- copy machines you can use (but I don't think they actually
function as scanners--an unfortunate omission), as well as a service
desk that will scan copies for a fairly hefty fee, I'm afraid:

As for the Widman image...go ahead and ask.  Several of the GA
researchers are native German speakers in addition to being expert
historical researchers.  If they find an image, then great, and if
they don't, you won't be charged for information unless it turns out
(as mine did) to be worthwhile to you.

Up to you...but I hope you'll give us another shot at these interesting challenges.

brad09032002-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
I wish there were 10 stars!  This is turning into an interesting story
and may have larger consequences....

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