Diary of Minnie Burton, wife of the archaeologist Harry Burton

Item author: Minnie Burton
Item date: 1922-26
Grant Value: £4,062
Item cost: £8,125
Item date acquired: 2015
Item institution: Griffith Institute, University of Oxford
Town/City: Oxford
County: Oxfordshire

Mrs Minnie Catherine Burton (née Duckett) was born in Folkestone, Kent, in 1876.  She married her second husband in 1914, the British archaeologist and photographer Harry Burton (1879-1940), whom she accompanied on all his travels. She died in Florence on the 30th of May 1957.

Her diary covers the period from the 4th of May 1922 to the 20th of October 1926 and contains daily entries recording social engagements and memorable events, including the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter’s team, of which her husband Harry was a part. The diary details her life and travels with her husband at home in Florence, their stays in Egypt (especially in Luxor, but also in Cairo), the trip they made across the US and to Hollywood in 1924, and various holidays in Europe (London, Salzburg, St. Moritz, etc.).

The acquisition of the diary is only the first step in a wider project entitled, 'The Woman behind the Man behind the Camera: Re-discovering the Tomb of Tutankhamun’, which aims – following in-depth conservation and full digitization of the diary – to make it entirely and freely available online, including a full transcription of its contents. Minnie’s diary will be placed alongside the rest of the Tutankhamun Archive in the Griffith Institute and on our website, making a significant contribution to our understanding and interpretation of this historic event, as well as adding a woman’s first-hand account of the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Luxor December 1922. Image courtesy of the Griffith Institute.
Luxor December 1922. Image courtesy of the Griffith Institute.