Wilbour, Charles Edwin (1833 -1896)

American journalist and Egyptologist, Charles Edwin Wilbour was one of the discoverers of the Elephantine Papyri. He also produced the first English translation of Victor Hugo’s Les misérables. He was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island, on March 17, 1833, the son of Charles and Sarah Soule He received a classical education and entered Brown University, where he took a prize for proficiency in Greek and was noted for his thorough acquaintance with the ancient and modern languages, but owing to delicate health, he did not graduate. He went to New York City in 1854 and became connected with the Tribune as a reporter. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859. The following eighteen years were devoted to literary and journalistic work. In 1872, he began the study of Egyptian antiquities and visited the principal libraries of the United States and Canada In the early 1870s, Wilbour decided to leave the United States. In 1874, he went abroad and spent much time consulting the archaeological treasures of the British Museum and the great libraries of the continent. Wilbour spent his winters in Egypt, working at sites throughout the country from 1880 until his death in 1896 On a visit to Aswan he purchased some papyri dug up on the island of Elephantine by local people. He did not realise the importance of his find, and when he died in a hotel in Paris his belongings, including the papyri (among these the Brooklyn Papyrus, the Wilbour Papyrus and the Elephantine Papyri), were put in storage by the hotel and not returned to his family for nearly half a century. At the request of his widow, they were donated to the Brooklyn Museum. His wife, Charlotte Beebee, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on March 2, 1830. She instituted lectures on health and dress reform, suggested and aided in preparing entertainments for various purposes, and assisted many women in obtaining public recognition. In 1916, his children donated Wilbour’s collection of objects, his Egyptological library, and personal papers to the Brooklyn Museum. The Wilbour Library of Egyptology today is one of the world’s most comprehensive research libraries for the study of ancient Egypt. With over 35,000 volumes, the Wilbour Library is an important resource for textual and visual information about the history of ancient Egypt
Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Crest: A boar’s head couped tusked impaled by a spear in pale goutty
Heraldic Charges: boar's head, Heraldic Charges: goutty, Heraldic Charges: spear