Portrait of Francis Willey Kelsey

Posthumous portrait of Francis Willey Kelsey by Iris Miller, 1934

Professor of Latin at the University of Michigan from 1889 until his death in 1927, Francis Willey Kelsey was a man of exceptional intellect, great energy, and irrepressible good humor, whose wide-ranging vision helped to build the University of Michigan into an internationally renowned center of learning. He was a man of many parts — educator, scholar, explorer, builder of collections, internationally recognized figure in his profession, humanitarian, lover of music, and devoted family man.

Among his many accomplishments at Michigan, Kelsey built the Department of Latin into one of the most distinguished of its time. His textbooks of Latin and Greek authors became the standard fare in classrooms across the country. His writings on American university and secondary education emphasized his belief that Greek and Roman studies are central to the liberal arts. They had a major impact on the development of research and graduate work in the humanities at Michigan and across the nation. He helped to establish and edit the prestigious University of Michigan Humanistic Series, which planted the seed of what is now the University of Michigan Press. A lover of music, Kelsey championed the Ann Arbor School of Music and served as president of the University Musical Society from 1891 to 1927. As a member of the campus planning committee he helped to plan Hill Auditorium. Kelsey's multiple expeditions to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East laid the groundwork for later Kelsey Museum fieldwork and secured a large part of the museum's artifact collection.

This online exhibition pays homage to the extraordinary man who did so much to shape the University of Michigan and the archaeological profession of today.