This mummified hand is from an Egyptian girl, the daughter of a priest who died in the 13th century B.C.. Dr. John Van Duyn of Syracuse visited Thebes in 1907 and while observing an archaeological excavation, bought this hand. Duyn donated the hand to the OHA collection in 1908.
During the 19th century, and into the early 20th century, Americans were fascinated with Egyptian cultural items. Similar to Renaissance and Gothic revivals, the Egyptian revival sparked a new wave of decorative arts in homes across the United States, though it was mainly for those that could afford such eccentric items.
The Richardson-Bates house, located in Oswego, New York, is a great example of Egyptian revival, mixing in a bit of northern Italian architecture and 19th century artwork, too. Learn more about Egyptain revival, here.
More on Dr. John Van Duyn courtesy of the Syracuse Herald, January 15th, 1934:
“Grand old man” of medical profession succumbs after 60 years’ service in Syracuse; served in two wars
Dr. John Van Duyn, “the Grand Old Man” of the medical profession in Syracuse and Onondaga county, with a record of service in theCcivil War and the World War (I) and nearly 60 years in practice as a physician and surgeon here, died at 1:30 o’clock this morning at his home, 466 James Street.
Duyn was 90 years of age July 21, 1933, and until the end of his life retained noteworthy power over the faculties which gained distinction for him during his active career. He was the oldest living alumnus of Princeton University, where he was graduated in the class of 1862. In service as a United States medical cadet in the Civil War, he gained his first experience as a surgeon at the front.
Past 73 years of age in 1918, he accompanied his son, Dr. Edward S. Van Duyn overseas, in connection with the establishment of Base Hosptiat 31 at Contrexieville, by what was known as the Van Duyn unit, chiefly comprising of Syracusans.
“Dr. John” as he was known among thousands of families in Syracuse, began his medical service in Syracuse as assistant superintendent of the Syracuse State School, where his grandson, Dr. John Van Duyn is now following in his footsteps, the third generation of the family in the healing profession. Dr. Van Duyn is survived by his son, Dr. Edward S. Van Duyn, his daughter Mrs. E. F. Southworth, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mrs. Sarah Faulks Van Duyn died in 1916 and a son, Wilbur Van Duyn died in 1930.”
(Edited for clarity)