The Rostovtzeff-Welles Inventory

The RW Inventory has 116 designations labeled from 1 through 136, with 24 unused numbers in the sequence, two duplications and one piece without a number. These fragments were already preserved in frames when they arrived in Toronto, two of which are PMMA frames, and the rest are in glass. One frame has since been dismantled due to unknown circumstances and the fragments of RW Inv. 13 are now stored in acid-free paper. Each frame contains between one and four fragments and an attempt has clearly been made to frame related pieces together, but occasionally unrelated fragments do appear in the same frame.
The RW inventory includes some of this collection’s larger papyri, and, although very few pieces are in great condition, they show significant promise for transcription and translation. Indeed, one papyrus in the RW Inventory had already been published when it arrived at the University of Toronto: RW Inv. 135C is the “Logical Exercise” P.Hib. 184 published by E. G. Turner in 1955. The evidence for El Hibeh and the British Library as the source of the RW Inventory is strong, but it is still unclear why these fragments are named after Michael Ivanovich Rostovtzeff and Charles Bradford Welles, who were both faculty at Yale University and both acquired papyri for the Yale University’s Beinecke Library between 1931 and 1935. It is possible that the name arose because of a currently unknown connection that these two men had with the British Library—they were far-ranging academics heavily involved in papyrology, so this is a significant possibility—but in light of this coincidence, a connection between the RW Inventory and Beinecke papyri, although unlikely, should not be entirely ruled out at this point.
With thanks to Clare E. Barker for this collection description.