Artifact Collection, circa 500 BC -- 1980


Title: Artifact Collection
Dates: circa 500 BC -- 1980
Creator: Digital Collections and Archives
Call Number: AC
Size: 27.2 Cubic Feet, 215 Artifact(s), 2 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): The majority of the items in this collection, where they bear text, are in English. There are also some items in German, Hebrew, Latin, Italian, Flemish, and French.  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


The artifact collection is an artificial collection of ephemera, memorabilia, and texts, related to Tufts University, notable figures, or ancient cultures. It was created in 2001, and it was assembled from materials dating from approximately 500 B.C. to 1980. Much of the collection is related to Tufts University and Jackson College history, and includes items such as trophies, pins, certificates, elephant-themed memorabilia, Peter Tufts' shirt, Charles Tufts' watch, a sampler and shawl belonging to Hannah Tufts, other Tufts and Jackson textiles, a piece of wood from Alonzo Ames' birthplace, an "Order of the Coffee Pot" medallion, architectural plans for the medical building, and the original deed for the site of Tufts Universalist College. The collection also contains a number of relics from the ancient world, including coins, papyrus fragments, and cuneiforms. They represent a variety of ancient cultures, such as Egypt, Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Greece. Finally, the artifact collection includes a number of letters, prints, and memorabilia related to notable figures or events. Memorabilia includes a plaster cast of Jack London, stamps dating to the Stamp Act, maps of the Boston area and abroad, a puzzle, a cigarette case, pins, a flute, busts, friezes, and engraving plates. Letters, prints, portraits, and autographs include materials by or about William Thackeray, William Faulkner, Booth Tarkington, Charles Dickens, Edwin Markham, the Columbian Exposition, Albert Einstein, Ina Donna Coolbrith, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, William Prince of Orange, Theodore Thomas, Francis Parkman, Henry David Thoreau , Giuseppe Mazzini, Vannevar Bush, Jack London, Thomas Hutchinson, Henry James, John Hancock, George Fox, George III, Christopher Columbus. The collection also contains a large number of manuscript leaves, in various languages, including English, Hebrew, Latin, German, Italian, French and Flemish. These are mostly from educational or religious texts.


No order has been imposed on this collection.


Digital Collections and Archives is the Tufts University steward for all archival records and materials of significant and historical relevance to the college.

The collection began as the University Archives, which were incorporated in 1965 by the Tufts University Board of Trustees (Annual Reports 1965-1988). Previously, the position of archivist was loosely created in 1959 as a means of processing and acquiring important university and student records for preservation. This role was filled by Tufts history professor and historian Russell L. Miller, who also wrote the Tufts University history "Light on the Hill." The archives were considered a department of the University Library (known as Eaton and then Wessell at that time), overseen by the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

The university's archives were first kept in Eaton Library, but moved to the Wessell Library building in 1965. Originals of some records were sent to vaults in Ballou Hall for storage. In 1991, due to budget issues, the university archivist was laid off. When the office was reopened in 1997, it was as the University Archives and Special Collections, also located as a department within the Tisch Library.

In July 2001, Digital Collections and Archives was created when the University Archives was tasked with developing a Tufts Digital Library. The department moved from the College of Arts, Science and Engineering to the Central Administration, directed by the University Provost. The Special Collections department remained under Tisch Library.

DCA is currently physically housed in Tisch Library building.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is processed.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Cuneiform
  • Coins
  • Artifacts
  • Textiles
  • University history
  • Maps (documents)
  • Portrait busts

Series Description

  1. Artifacts, circa 500 BC -- 1980

    This collection is an artificial collection that contains ephemera and artifacts generally relating to Tufts and Tufts History. It was created in 2001. Items include trophies, certificates and the like, as well as Charles Tufts' shirt, Hannah Tufts' shawl, and a piece of wood from Hosea Ballou's birthplace. Non-Tufts material includes a small collection of coins from the ancient Mediterranean, and other artifacts from the ancient world.

View Online Materials

Some of the materials from this collection are available online. Not all materials have necessarily been digitized.