American Egyptomania Search


Ancient Egypt: Her Monuments, Hieroglyphics, History, Archeology, and Other Subjects Connected with Hieroglyphic Literature

New York: Wm. Taylor & Co., 1847

British-born George Robins Gliddon was one of the most important figures in nineteenth-century American Egyptomania. A one-time vice-consul at Cairo, Gliddon was singularly significant in popularizing Egyptology for American audiences: through his lectures, his publications, and his affiliations with both academics and showmen, Gliddon personified the sensationalizing popular intellectual of the middle 1800s. Integral to his fame, however, were his racial politics: his popular Egyptology was a stridently racist one, and he was as committed to popularizing Egyptology as he was to claiming that ancient Egypt was not in any way connected to the “Negro” races inhabiting the African continent. Through his collaborations with famous race scientists such as Samuel George Morton and Josiah Clark Nott, Gliddon was a founding member of the so-called American School of Ethnology, a group of pro-slavery intellectuals who used Egyptology as a tool for arguing that Africans (and by extension African Americans) were inherently, biologically, and permanently inferior to Caucasians. Gliddon was very prolific, and published as much as possible; in addition to his landmark Types of Mankind (co-authored with Nott in 1854), Gliddon published his public lectures, which, like the Types, were very popular and went through many editions. This is the tenth edition of his lecture pamphlet Ancient Egypt, which was originally delivered in Boston in 1842, and which partakes of equal parts history, linguistics, biology, and racism.

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