The third annual report of the committee on the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, which has just been published, has been prepared by Professor John Williams White, chairman of the committee, and contains much valuable and useful information about the school and its present condition.
The school was opened on Oct. 2nd, 1882, at Athens. The first director, it will be remembered, was Prof. W. W. Goodwin, and the present director is Prof. Packard of Yale, who will be succeeded by Prof. Van Benschoten of Wesleyan, for the year 1884-85. During the last year the committee in whose hands lies the management of this school has been changed by the addition of Prof. D'Ooge, of the University of Michigan, and by the resignation of Prof. Gurney of Harvard, who was one of the prime starters in the establishment of the school.
The attendance during the first year was much larger than during the second, which the report says "was to be expected, since opportunities for systematic study at Athens under skilled direction was then offered for the first time to American students, and immediately attracted to the school pupils who have subsequently returned to other parts of Europe and to America for the completion of their studies. There is good reason to believe that a number of competent students will be in attendance at the school during the coming year."
Another drawback to the success of the school has been the illness of Prof. Packard, the director, who for a considerable time was too ill to direct the work of the students under his charge. In consideration of the services of Dr. Sterrett, a graduate of the school, who returned to Athens during the illness of the director, and assisted him in the work of the school, the committee made a grant of five hundred dollars, "as an expression of their gratitude for the services rendered by him to the school, and of their interest in, and high appreciation of, the results of his personal studies."
The report contains an interesting account of the director's house and the library of the school. This has recently received large additions, "so that when the books now ordered shall have been received it will number about eight hundred volumes (exclusive of periodicals and pamphlets), illustrating the history, geography, antiquities, and art of ancient Greece. Works of this kind are expensive, and at the end of the second year the books in the library obtained by direct purchase will have cost $2500. Of this sum the committee voted from its funds $2000." The remaining $500 was the gift of a friend, whose name is withheld. A list of the theses which were presented by six of the seven members of the school during the first year, is given, together with the names of the successful candidates. The theses which are recommended for publication will be issued with the reports of the different directors, conforming in general style to the Papers of the Archaeological Institute, and will be known as the Papers of the School.
The need of a permanent endowment of $150,000, to take the place of the present yearly contributions of the co-operating colleges is becoming more and more important, as at the end of ten years all obligations assured by the co-operating colleges will cease. The present method of maintaining the school has been accompanied with good results in awaking a more wide-spread interest throughout the country than could ever have been accomplished with a permanent endowment. "The close union of fifteen colleges in the promotion of a common object is a spectacle unique in this country, where the relations between the colleges are far too slight, and it is a cheering indication of the future successful development among us of classical studies in fields hitherto little cultivated."
Another arrangement which is but temporary, is the annual appointment of some professor from the contributing colleges to the position of director. In a few years it is hoped that a competent instructor may be obtained who will occupy the position permanently. The report, however, points out that this temporary arrangement has been an excellent one for the first few years of the school. "That the presence in various colleges of professors who shall have been resident a year at Athens under favorable circumstances, in practical direction of the school, will do much to increase the interest in the school, must be beyond dispute."
The lack of interest felt in this country for classical archaeology has been conspicuous. By the establishment of the American School at Athens a great impetus has been given to archaeological study which will soon, it is hoped, put our school on a level with the French and German schools now doing such good work at Athens in their peculiar branch.