University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Robert L. Scranton Papers 1961-1977

© 2014 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Scranton, Robert L. Papers




3 linear feet (6 boxes)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Robert L. Scranton (1912-1993) was a University of Chicago professor of Fine Arts and Classics and Chair of the Art Department from 1969 to 1973. He was the director of excavations at Kenchreai, the port of Corinth from 1963 to 1968. Scranton published widely on the topics of Classical and Medieval Greek art, archaeology and architecture. He was also involved with construction and early operations of the Isthmia Museum, where some of the finds from the Kenchreai excavations are now displayed. The collection contains mostly financial material connected to the excavations at Kenchreai and the construction of the Isthmia Museum. It also contains correspondence relating to Scranton’s professional activities, field reports from the Kenchreai excavation, donor information, and publications. Materials date between 1961 and 1977.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research, with the exception of material in Series VI. This series contains restricted financial reports and correspondence with donors. Materials are restricted for 50 years from date of record creation.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Scranton, Robert L. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

Robert L. Scranton was born on June 13 1912, in Alliance, Ohio, to Homer Scranton, a physician, and his wife Mary. He remained in Alliance for his elementary and high school education and graduated from Mt. Union College in 1932.

Scranton received his M.A and Ph.D. degrees, in 1934 and 1939 respectively, from the University of Chicago, having studied Greek Architecture. He secured a position as professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at Emory University in 1940 and remained there until 1961, when he was offered a position in the Art department at the University of Chicago. He served as Chair of the Art Department from 1969 to 1973 and retired in 1977.

He was a long term associate of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. He was a fellow there from 1934 to 1938 while completing his dissertation on the chronology of Ancient Greek walls. After the Second World War he returned to the American School from 1946 to 1947 in order to conduct investigations at Corinth. In 1999 the annual Robert L. Scranton Lectureship at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens was established in his memory. Scranton was a member of both the Archaeological Institute of America and the American Philological Association.

He was a dedicated field archaeologist alongside his teaching career. During his graduate studies he had assisted in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens excavations in the Athenian Pnyx. He was also involved with excavations in Greece, Cyprus, and Georgia. An active advocate of University of Chicago involvement in field projects, in the early 1960s Scranton pushed for university funding of a Greek excavation, to replace the recently completed excavations at Isthmia. He was successful in instigating and directing five seasons of excavations at the port of ancient Corinth, Kenchreai, from 1963 to 1968. In Kenchreai, he discovered fine glass mosaics that were part of the decoration of a 3rd or 4th-century church. The artifacts are now on display in the Isthmia Museum, Greece.

Scranton published widely on the topics of archaeology and Greek history. He authored several books, including Monuments in the Lower Agora and North of the Archaic Temple (1951), Mediaeval architecture in the central area of Corinth (1957), and Aesthetic Aspects of Art (1964).

After retiring from the University of Chicago, he moved to Decatur, Georgia, teaching courses at Emory and Agnes Scott College. He died on January 31 1993.

Scope Note

The Robert Scranton Papers are organized into six series: Series I: Personal; Series II: Correspondence; Series III: Publications; Series IV: Kenchreai and Isthmia Administration; Series V: Kenchreai and Isthmia Finances; and Series VI: Restricted.

Series I, Personal, contains Scranton’s passport and bank book covers.

Series 2, Correspondence, contains outgoing and incoming mail filed chronologically from 1963 to 1967. This correspondence relates primarily to the excavations at Kenchreai and the Isthmia Museum, with some material relating to Scranton’s travel, published works, and other academic activities.

Series 3, Publications, contains materials relating to the published excavation finds from Kenchreai. This series includes correspondence with publishers, publication plans, and drafts, and is organized by publication volume.

Series, 4, Kenchreai and Isthmia Administration, contains administrative materials concerning the organization and management of the Kenchreai excavations and the early operations of the Isthmia Museum. It includes excavation and site operation reports, correspondence with Oscar Broneer regarding the construction of the Isthmia Museum, the initial exhibit installation, and materials relating to the erection of a commemorative plaque for Broneer in 1971.

Series 5, Kenchreai and Isthmia Finances, contains materials documenting the financing of the excavations at Kenchreai and the construction and opening of the Isthmia Museum. This includes donor correspondence, materials relating to fundraising, grant applications, University of Chicago Transactions, raw financial data, accounting materials, and receipts from the Kenchreai excavations. It also includes limited accounting materials from the Isthmia Museum.

Series 6, Restricted, contains restricted financial materials. Materials are restricted for 50 years from date of record creation.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Adkins, Arthur. Papers. 1948-1996.

Subject Headings


Series I: Personal

Box 1    Folder 1

Passport and Bank Book Cover

Series II: Correspondence

Box 1    Folder 1

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1964 [1/2]

Box 1    Folder 2

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1964 [2/2]

Box 1    Folder 3

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1965 [1/2]

Box 1    Folder 4

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1965 [2/2]

Box 1    Folder 5

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1966 [1/2]

Box 1    Folder 6

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1966 [2/2]

Box 1    Folder 7

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1967 [1/2]

Box 1    Folder 8

Correspondence - Kenchreai, 1967 [1/2]

Box 2   Folder 1

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1968

Box 2   Folder 2

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1969

Box 2   Folder 3

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1970

Box 2   Folder 4

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1971

Box 2   Folder 5

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1972

Box 2   Folder 6

Correspondence – Kenchreai, 1973-1975

Box 2   Folder 7

Correspondence – General, 1968-1972

Series III: Publications

Box 2    Folder 8

Publications – Vol I. Topography and Architecture, 1975-1976

Box 2    Folder 9

Publications – Vol II. Opus Sectile 1975-1976

Box 2    Folder 10

Publications – Vol III. Pottery, Ivory, Veneers 1975-1976

Box 3   Folder 1

Publications – Vol IV. Coins 1975-1976

Box 3   Folder 2

Publications – General 1975-1976

Series IV: Kenchreai and Isthmia Administration

Box 3   Folder 4

Kenchreai Field Operations and Excavation Reports, 1961-1962

Box 3   Folder 5

Kenchreai Field Operations and Excavation Reports, 1962-1963

Box 3   Folder 6

Kenchreai Field Operations and Excavation Reports, 1966-1967

Box 3   Folder 7

Isthmia Field Operations and Excavation Reports, 1960-1962

Box 3   Folder 8

Isthmia Museum – Broneer Correspondence, 1966-1972

Box 3   Folder 9

Isthmia Museum – Construction, 1970-1971

Box 3   Folder 10

Isthmia Museum – Plaque, 1971

Box 3   Folder 11

Isthmia Museum – Installation 1973-1975

Series V: Kenchreai and Isthmia Finances

Box 3   Folder 12

Kenchreai Insurance, 1962-1964

Box 3   Folder 13

Kenchreai Accounting, 1963-1964 [1/2]

Box 3   Folder 14

Kenchreai Accounting, 1963-1964 [2/2]

Box 4   Folder 1

Kenchreai Fundraising, 1963-1964

Box 4   Folder 2

Kenchreai University Transactions, 1963-1964

Box 4   Folder 3

Kenchreai Accounts Ledger, 1963-1964

Box 4   Folder 4

Kenchreai Raw Data, 1964

Series VI: Restricted

Box 4   Folder 5

Kenchreai Raw Financial Data, 1965

Box 4   Folder 6

Kenchreai Accounts Ledger, 1965-1970

Box 4   Folder 7

Kenchreai Accounting 1965-70

Box 4   Folder 8

Isthmia Donor Correspondence, 1965-1977

Box 4   Folder 9

Kenchreai Accounting, 1966

Box 4   Folder 10

Kenchreai Raw Financial Data, 1967

Box 4   Folder 11

Kenchreai Accounting, 1966-1967

Box 4   Folder 12

Grant Applications, 1966-1972

Box 5   Folder 1

Ibrahim Accounts, 1966-1967

Box 5   Folder 2

NEH Funding, 1966-1970

Box 5   Folder 3

Kenchreai University Transactions, 1966-1976

Box 5   Folder 4

Kenchreai Receipts, 1967

Box 5   Folder 5

Kenchreai Accounting, 1967-1969

Box 5   Folder 6

Ford Foundation Transactions, 1967-1974

Box 5   Folder 7

Kenchreai Receipts, 1968

Box 5   Folder 8

Kenchreai University Transactions, 1968

Box 5   Folder 9

Kenchreai Donor Correspondence, 1968-1970 [1/2]

Box 5   Folder 10

Kenchreai Donor Correspondence, 1968-1972 [2/2]

Box 5   Folder 11

Kenchreai Accounts Ledger, 1968-1977

Box 5   Folder 12

Kenchreai Receipts, 1969-1970

Box 5   Folder 13

Kenchreai Accounting, 1969-1973

Box 5   Folder 14

Kenchreai ASSA Transactions, 1970

Box 6   Folder 1

Isthmia Museum Construction, 1970-1971

Box 6   Folder 2

Kenchreai Receipts, 1970-1971

Box 6   Folder 3

Isthmia Museum Accounting, 1970-1973

Box 6   Folder 4

Kenchreai Receipts, 1972-1973

Box 6   Folder 5

Isthmia Museum Accounting, 1972-1975

Box 6   Folder 6

Kenchreai Accounting, 1972-1975

Box 6   Folder 7

Kenchreai Receipts, 1973

Box 6   Folder 8

Kenchreai Accounts Summaries, 1974-1977