All Scholars

PEARL, Orsamus Merrill, III

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  • Date of Birth: May 15, 1908
  • Born City: St. Johns
  • Born State/Country: MI
  • Parents: Orsamus Merrill & Margaret Armour P.
  • Date of Death: May 25, 1992
  • Death City: Ann Arbor
  • Death State/Country: MI
  • Married: Cynthia Mallory, 10 Jan. 1931; Mary Jane Forsyth, 2 May 1965; Patricia Mary Cobb, 28 Nov. 1975.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. Michigan, 1929; law sch., 1929-30; Ph.D., 1938, study at Paris, 1934-5.

  • Dissertation:

    "Fragments of Tax Rolls from Karanis" (Michigan, 1938)

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Lat. Sweet Briar, 1936-7; res. asst. Inst. Papyr. U. Michigan, 1938-9; instr. & res. asst. Mus. Art & Arch, to asst. prof. Gk. 1939-65; prof. Gk. lang. & lit., 1965-78.

  • Publications:

    Michigan Papyri, vol. 4: The Tax Rolls from Karanis, I: ed. H. C. Youtie, with the collab. of V. B. Schuman & Pearl (Ann Arbor, 1936); II: ed. Youtie & Pearl (1939); "Note on P. land. VII, 141," AJP 57 (1936) 465-9; "Varia Papyrologica," TAPA 71 (1940) 372-90; "0. Mich. I, 154," with H. C. Youtie, AJP 62 (1941) 80-3; "Notes on Papyri," with H. C. Youtie, AJP 63 (1942) 294-307; Papyri and Ostraca from Karanis, ed. with H. C. Youtie (Ann Arbor, 1944); "Oxyrhynchus Papyri 2182," CW37 (1943-4) 7-10; "A Late Receipt for Syntaximon," TAPA 82 (1951) 193-5; "'Ἐξάθυρος: Irrigation Works and Canals in the Arsinoite Nome," Aegyptus 31 (1951) 223-30; "Transport Charges in Egypt in the Era of Inflation," TAPA 83 (1952) 74-9; "Census Documents from Karanis," CE 28 (1953) 335-55; "Short Texts from Karanis," Aegyptus 33 (1953) 3-29; “Ἀργαῖτις and Μοῆρις," Aegyptus 34 (1954) 27-34; "The Inundation of the Nile in the Second Century A.D.," TAPA 87 (1956) 51-9; "A Michigan Papyrus with Musical Notation," with R. P. Winnington-Ingram, JEA 51 (1965) 179-95; "Excerpts from the Minutes of Judicial Proceedings," ZPE 6 (1970) 271-7; "Part of a Daybook of Payments in Kind," ZPE 10 (1973) 55-62; "The 94 Klerouchies at Karanis," Akt. des XIII. Intern. Papyrologenkongr., ed. E. Kiessling & H. A. Rupprecht (Munich, 1974) 325-30; "List of Lessees and Summary of Seed Loans by Klerouchies," Collectanea Papyrologica. Texts Published in Honor of H. C. Youtie, ed. A. E. Hanson (Bonn, 1976) 1:361-70; "Rules for Musical Contests," ICS 3 (1978) 132-9; "Official Correspondence," Papyri. . . in honor of E.G. Turner (London, 1981) 114-9; "Document on the Apiskepsis at Karanis," Actes XVe Congr. Papyr. II (Brussels, 1979) 75-85; "Apprentice Contract," BASP 22 (1985) 255-9.

  • Notes:

    Orsamus Pearl's first appointment at the University of Michigan was as research assistant in papyrology, and thus began his collaboration with H. C. Youtie—a collaboration that initiated publication of papyri and ostraca from Karanis, the agricultural village in the Egyptiari Fayum that had been the target of excavations by the university between 1925 and 1935. In the years following the excavations, the meticulous publications of Youtie and Pearl revealed the Michigan papyrus collection to be one of the world's most important, and together they drew attention to the papyri as rich sources of socio-historical information on Egyptian peasants, as well as on wealthy landowners, about taxpayers and tax collectors, about village administration and Roman administration of Egypt, about irrigation and maintenance of canals. In short, their work explicated many aspects of peasant life in Greco-Roman antiquity, although social history was not yet a very attractive pursuit for ancient historians, nor the vagaries or popular orthography and syntax of interest to classical philologists, accustomed to the canon of Greek stylists. First to appear was the two-volume Tax Rolls from Karanis, followed by Papyri and Ostraca from Karanis, both published by the University of Michigan Press in its Humanistic Series. The names of Youtie and Pearl are linked in the minds of successive generations, wherever papyrology is taught, wherever ancient historians and classicists study the original documents from the sands of Egypt.For the Department of Classical Studies, Pearl taught undergraduate and graduate courses in both Greek and Latin, and his course in mythology, offered to generations of enthusiastic undergraduates, was famous. Perhaps most important, however, was Pearl's capacity for friendship, for he invariably went out of his way to help a student, a new faculty member, a colleague of many years' standing, or even a stranger. He personified the amicitia papyrologicorum, the friendship that unites all those who carry out research in papyrology. Pearl thus left a deep mark on the many students he taught, on the Department of Classical Studies in Ann Arbor, and on the worldwide community of papyrologists.

  • Sources:

    APA Newsletter (December 1992) 21; WhWh 1980-1: 2585.

  • Author: Ludwig Koenen