FIELD EXPLORATION COMMITTEE LETTER
2 Pinehurst Avenue #D1
New York, N.Y. 10033
September 19, 2014
Dr. Brian Allen, Vice President and Museum Director
Dr. Valerie Paley, N-YHS Historian and Vice President for Scholarly Programs
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way
New York, NY 10024
Dear Dr. Allen and Dr. Paley,
We are writing to suggest the New-York Historical Society present an exhibit highlighting the work of the Society’s Field Exploration Committee (FEC) and to honor two of its most active members, Reginald Pelham Bolton and William L. Calver.
We proudly note that permanently installed on the Historical Society’s first floor is a brief but welcome account of the Field Exploration Committee’s work and their important contributions to Urban Archaeology. Also, on display are a few examples of their “finds”. But, as we suspect you will agree, this only scratches the surface of their story.
We propose an exhibit opening in 2018, on the 100th Anniversary of the FEC’s creation. Perhaps a suitable exhibition space might be the second floor gallery adjoining the Library.
As you know, the Field Exploration Committee’s importance to the study of New York City history is illustrated in the Society’s Museum Collection of 873 separate catalogued entries related to the FEC. It should also be noted the Library’s Collection includes 55 separate cataloged entries on Bolton, and one entry on Calver’s papers.
To quote just two sources on the FEC’s work:
“New Yorkers owe thanks to pioneering archaeologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as William L. Calver and Reginald Pelham Bolton, for finding and recording evidence of local Native American and European colonial life.” ( The website of the Professional Archaeologists of New York City.)
"The data obtained by Calver, Bolton and their friends is practically the only archaeological record of the Revolutionary War in New York City, where so much once existed. No wonder Calver and Bolton are almost legendary today." ( Starbuck, David R. (1999 "Early Military Sites Archaeology in New York State: An Interview with Richard J. Koke," Northeast Historical Archaeology: Vol. 28 28: Iss. 1, Article 6.)
As we are certain you will agree, the Field Exploration Committee made history matter. This proposed exhibit will offer a timely opportunity to show why.
We, the undersigned, represent various fields of endeavor who share a common interest in the work of the Field Exploration Committee. Our signatures, which follow, were collected through an online service, ipetitions.com.