Trever’s Photos of the Cave 1 Scrolls Freely Available Online

I’ve written before on this blog about the dispersion of libraries, and I have another instance to report. The Claremont School of Theology has begun the process of merging with Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. As a part of this process, the Claremont library has donated some 250,000 volumes to the Internet Archive. Some of their materials have already been digitized and are available online for download. These include (as the title of the post indicates), the 1972 edition of John Trever’s photographs (taken in 1948) of three of the Cave 1 Scrolls–the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa), The Community Rule (1QS), and the Habakkuk Pesher (1QpHab):

John C. Trever, Scrolls from Qumrân Cave I: The Great Isaiah Scroll, the Order of the Community, the Pesher to Habakkuk (Jerusalem: The Albright Institute and the Shrine of the Book, 1972)

John Trever photographing Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem, 1948; image source: Biblical Archaeology Society

More recent images of these scrolls are available online at The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls, but Trever’s images made in 1948 preserve bits of the scrolls that have were lost during their travels to the United States and back to Jerusalem. The donation to the Internet Archive also includes some important early works in Scrolls studies like John Allegro’s The Dead Sea Scrolls (Penguin, 1956). Additional useful books will no doubt be forthcoming from this venture.

I understand that this donation also included the materials held at “The the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center” formerly housed at Claremont. One part of this collection is of particular interest to me at the moment, namely the “John C. Trever Dead Sea Scrolls Collection” of photographs. I have not yet been able to figure out if this material was included in the donation. An email query to archive.org frustratingly resulted only in a completely uninformative auto-response. It would be good to know what is the fate of this important material.

For the full story of the donation, see the Internet Archive’s blog post.

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6 Responses to Trever’s Photos of the Cave 1 Scrolls Freely Available Online

  1. Thanks for this, Brent. Concerning the “John C. Trever Dead Sea Scrolls Collection”: Have you tried to contact Stephen Reed?

  2. Jeffrey Stackert says:

    Hi Brent,
    We at Chicago did acquire the Trever photos from Claremont and are arranging for their online availability. Please feel free to be in touch: stackert@uchicago.edu

  3. I do not think, that these slides are encluded cause Claremont do not hold the copyright. They had been only deposit there for safekeeping. The copyright holder is James Trever now, the son of John C. Trever.

  4. James Tucker says:

    Hi Brent, I’ve been in conversation with James Trever, the son of John C. Trever. It seems that there is currently some disputes about who owns John C. Trever’s images. James has the original negatives in his possession, and made remastered versions for use in my PhD thesis. I asked for remastered versions because the other versions of the images have been digitally altered (even the DJD 32 images were digitally altered). For best practices in digital humanities and computer vision, I was not able to work with the digitally altered versions.

    In any case, anyone working with Trever’s images should be aware of some very important comments Trever makes about the images in the The Three Scrolls from Qumran volume. These comments reveal important information about the sizing of the images and hence the relative ration of the ruler across the images. This is particularly important for computer vision work.

  5. Pingback: Images of Dead Seas Scrolls – Historias

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