“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, November 26, 1922, Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt

When he first received the telegram from English archeologist Howard Carter, 48, about a “wonderful discovery” at the site of a pharaoh’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Lord George Herbert, Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, 56, was not overly impressed. In the 13 years Carnarvon has been funding Carter’s adventures, the archeologist has often been wrong about how wonderful his discoveries are. Carnarvon cabled back,

POSSIBLY COME SOON.”

Lord Carnarvon

But the more he thought about it, Carnarvon started to feel as though he should make a point of getting there right away. This is, after all, the tomb of King Tutankhamun, the young pharaoh who reigned in the 14th century BC, dying at the age of 18 after only nine years on the throne.

So he cabled again—

PROPOSE ARRIVE ALEXANDRIA TWENTIETH”

—packed up his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, 21, and took off for Luxor.

They arrived here yesterday, and today Carter is taking them to the site. He shows them the stone step his team unearthed a few weeks ago and begins to break through what is clearly the entrance.

As Carter looks through the hole he has made in the vault’s sealed door, Carnarvon asks him,

Can you see anything?”

Carter replies,

Yes—wonderful things.”

Howard Carter. Lady Evelyn Herbert and Lord Carnarvon at the entrance to King Tut’s tomb

If you now have that song going through your head, click here.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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