Brooklyn Museum/Egyptian Department

Wilbour (middle) meets with fellow Egyptologists, including his teacher Gaston Maspero (right), in the Temple of Luxor, where he often docked to study the temple’s inscriptions.

In 1893, he obtained papyri from “3 separate women at different times,” according to his journal. After Wilbour’s death, these papyri, packed in tin biscuit boxes and placed in the bottom of a trunk, were shipped to a New York warehouse where they remained until 1947, when Wilbour’s daughter bequeathed them to the Brooklyn Museum. Only then did scholars realize that Wilbour had unwittingly acquired the first Elephantine papyri. Most of Wilbour’s documents constituted the family archive of Anani, a minor official of the Elephantine temple.