[an error occurred while processing this directive] Oriental Institute | Pioneers to the Past | Nasiriya, Mesopotamia
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Nasiriya, Mesopotamia

March 26, 1920

We had hoped to resume our journey toward Baghdad today by railway, going as far as Diwaniyeh or Diwanié. But there proved to be no space available as it has to be reserved in advance, and we shall be unable to get off until tomorrow. We are here something like 200 miles from Baghdad, and Diwaniyeh is near the middle of this 200 mile stretch. When we reach Diwaniyeh therefore we shall be only about 100 miles from Baghdad, and our only other stop on the way will be Hilla or Hilleh, from which place we go to the ruins of Babylon. About three days at Diwaniyeh and four at Hilleh should complete our work on the way to Baghdad—that is, we should be there inside of ten days, arriving not later than April 5th or 6th. You will have received a cable long before reading this, announcing our arrival. Our programme now looks about like this:


In that case we shall be able to finish in Syria and Palestine in ten weeks very easily, thus enabling us to sail from Egypt to Italy about August 1, and from Naples for New York about August 15, reaching home September 1, a little over 5 months from now! That programme certainly does me good to contemplate. Just consider, — it is now six weeks since I have had a word from home! You would not find it easy to imagine how I go about among these new and unfamiliar scenes, thinking always of you all, and wondering how you all are, — not as a group, but each one separately in one little day dream after another. If I told you all I think and how often I yield to these day dreams, you would think me very weak and sentimental, and not made of the right stuff for living the resolute life demanded by such work as I have undertaken. They poured vastly too much of this kind of feeling and emotion into the mould when the rather unsuccessful job of casting your humble servant was being done, and the sacrifices entailed by this long exile cut cruelly deep. Evidently I am not a hero. If I write many pages of purely external doings and affairs, I could always write you many more of what is going on inside, but it would not be good for us if I did. I am sorry my typewriter is not with me all the time. Perhaps I burden you with hastily worded and badly written annals of our doings, — showing only too evident traces of the weariness in which they were written. I am keeping only an exclusively technical journal, and even if you do find this rather heavy and poorly written stuff, please file these letters to serve as a more personal journal of our expedition.

After concern and anxiety for my family, my chief trouble now is my official finances in Egypt, and I look anxiously for a cablegram from President Judson relieving me of the present uncertainty. I have always lived within my budget, and to have gone so far beyond it is distressing. When all this is settled what a joy to take the ship home again! I have done what I could to serve my university and my science, and now comes the joyous return to home and family and work and friends! Good-bye, dearest boy. Kiss the dear mother and the little folks and don’t forget to write to

Your loving Pater.

For the full story of my exciting trip you should come to the special exhibit “Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919-1920,” at the Oriental Institute!

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