Jean-Baptiste Adanson papers
Scope and Contents
The papers of Jean-Baptiste Adanson consists of four volumes, 12 quarto leaves and 8 folio leaves, all previously unpublished. Adanson's manuscripts are devoted to the deciphering of hieroglyphics and were drawn from notes and sketches made during his voyages in Egypt between 1762 and 1782. The volumes are illustrated with 61 full-page pen and ink-wash drawings by the author. The drawings are finely detailed and the holographic writings are completely legible. The writings are in French. From information in the Dictionnaire de Biographie Française, it is known that there were plans to print Adanson's work as early as 1785. The project was never realized, and apparently, the unpublished manuscripts remained with the family until 1995. Other of Adanson's drawings and paintings are part of the collections of the Cabinet des Etampes, Bibliotheque Nationale. In the collection are:"First Book, concerning the Hieroglyphs." An introduction and then are 20 full-page pen and ink-wash drawings offering a general view or details of ancient Egyptian statues and monuments with hieroglyphic inscription located at Alexandria or environs. Of interest is the obelisk of Cleopatra, later removed to New York City where it has remained since 1880. Adanson's drawing must be one of the earliest representations. "Second Book, concerning the hieroglyphs." An introduction and 21 full-page pen and ink-wash drawings including 331 symbolic figures reportedly copied after an ancient manuscript at Thebes. "Third Book, concerning the Amulets and others." 19 full-page pen and ink-wash drawings. Fourth Book, concerning the symbolic figures of the ancient Egyptians." Primarily devoted to the Horus god and his various hieroglyphic representations. 12 quarto leaves, 8 folio leaves: Containing "translation" of further hieroglyphs.
- Creation: 1762-1782
- Adanson, Jean Baptiste, 1732-1804 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
This collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Jean-Baptiste Adanson (1732-1804) was the brother of the well-known naturalist and traveler, Michel Adanson (1727-1806). In 1740 he enrolled in the "Chambre des enfants de langue" which was part of the Oriental annex of the College Louis-le-Grand. There he learned Latin, Arabic, and Turkish and became skilled in draftsmanship, painting, and calligraphy. He was named as an interpreter in Aleppo in 1754 and served as a foreign consulate in Tripoli, Alexandria, Cairo, and Tunis, until his death.
0.23 Cubic Feet (1 flat box (12.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches))
Language of Materials
Jean-Baptiste Adanson (1732-1804) was the brother of the well-known naturalist and traveler, Michel Adanson (1727-1806). This collection consists of unpublished volumes devoted to the deciphering of hieroglyphics and were drawn from notes and sketches made during his voyages in Egypt between 1762 and 1782.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was purchased for the University, December 1998.
The Accession Number is 98-99.15
Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in February 1999.
- Adanson collection
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Repository
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