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Letter from Joseph Lindon Smith to Corinna Putnam Smith, Pages 1, 2 and envelope front
Letter from Joseph Lindon Smith to Corinna Putnam Smith, Page 3, back of envelope
S.S. Serapis
Tuesday February 26
Shellal 1908

Dear Ones,
This morning, we left Assouan, and came up through the locks to Shellal, arriving about luncheon time and then visiting poor old Philae - now quite flooded out so that even the floor of the Hypostyle Hall is now under the water and one can only go up on the pylons - it is a pathetic sight and my only pleasure today was meeting Amam and some others of the old friends and remembering how much work I had done on the lovely isle when it was lovely and being thankful I had seen it then and that we all had too.
Hundreds of men are now at work again here - preparing to raise the dam - and there is great blasting three times a day and the constant and steady rise of pick and chisel all the time - it is the death knell to what remains of Philae - though there are rumors of a wall being built around it which I cannot believe in.
Tomorrow morning we start off and soon I shall see the great Kings - with their wonderful placid gaze - out across the river into the East and I shall get to work at once, as soon as I set foot in that delicious yellow sand. I shall write to you again when I arrive there and the letter will be posted at Halfa - I shall have the tent pitched, and not go up to Halfa as I want all the time I can get, to paint.
It is possible that we may get camels, and make a five days desert trip - into the country west of Abu Simbel - to visit a cute temple of Thutmoses IV there, which will be a very pleasant and unusual experience and there is a strong probability that Bronson Cutting will decide to go in April to Jerusalem. Damascus and PETRA and if he does, he wants me to go with him - what a splendid chance that would be - think of going to Petra in a caravan.
Mr Bayard Cutting, Bronson's brother has a Consular appointment in Milan - and he has to go back within a couple of weeks - and Lady Sybil goes to Palermo - Dr Bishop must go back to Varenna on the lake of Como, where he has a practice - he cannot longer leave - and the other man - Mr Genoux is going home - so Bronson is left alone - unless he follows some of these relations or friends [Mr Gordon Gardner goes to Europe also].
They all want him to stay on in the East and I believe he wants to very much - and will do so if I will promise to take the trip with him.
There is only one drawback that I can think of which is that I could not get home until June -
Of course it would be an exceptional opportunity for me - one not likely to occur again - and I suppose it would be the greatest foolishness not to go.
My next letter will probably give a definite report to you, concerning this matter. If I do it - we should come to Paris - via Constantinople, and I should make a study of that early sarcophagus in the museum there - a detail from it.
Meanwhile, I shall work like a slave at Abu Simbel and start three pictures there. An early morning - morning and afternoon picture -and I have six planned to do in Luxor - and three at Sakkarah. I am living in the greatest possible luxury - such good things to eat and such good care taken of me. I have grown fat and am feeling splendidly well. If only we were all together - I do so miss you all - I keep thinking that you are at Luxor - or on the river coming up.
I have had one letter from Corinna and that was written four days after I left New York and there is a chance that something may come to-night otherwise I shall get nothing for a week. I hope you have been getting my letters all right - I have written you eight times- [including this and some postals sent to the kiddies from Naples].
The fascination of the Nile and of Egypt is as strong over me as ever. It will allways exert a wonderful power over me. It seems more beautiful than ever before.
Lots and lots of love to you dear ones.
and to Auntie and that household.
And to Pa Pats.


3 page letter from SS Serapis, Abu Simbel


Joseph Lindon Smith


American Archives of Art, reel 5115




open source

Original Format




Joseph Lindon Smith, “1908-2-26 Letter by Joseph Lindon Smith to Corinna Smith,” The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project, accessed April 21, 2024,


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Item: Lindon Smith, Joseph wrote This Item