Chautauqua NY, Chautauqua University

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The Chautauqua Assembly, New York, was a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers founded in 1874. The institution taught a variety of Biblical languages including Hebrew and Assyrian and attracted intellectuals, politicians, and entrepreneurs. William Rainey Harper, before he was president of the University of Chicago taught here and James Henry Breasted, eventually a professor at the University of Chicago, was a student.

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The selection originally sent amounted to 456 items including lamps, bronze figurines of gods and goddesses, coins, scarabs, statuettes, mosaics and bronze lattice-work. These had been secured for the Assembly’s ‘Oriental House’ by the Rev. Kittredge, regional secretary for the EEF and head of the Chautauqua Archaeological Society, whose own vision for the Assembly was to illustrate or corroborate the geography of the Middle East and to help to interpret the text of the Bible.  The objects were first displayed Chautauqua’s Newton Hall but this was torn down in 1929 and no record exists of what became of the majority of the items, with one exception: a statue of an Egyptian official called Menepthah, which lay forgotten, boxed-up for decades in the corner of a trolley station, until it was stumbled upon in 1979 and sold at Sotheby's to a private collector.

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