Ernst Emil Herzfeld (1879 - 1948) was a German archaeologist, historian, and philologist of the Near East active during the early 20th century. His most notable works were the excavations of Samarra in Iraq and Persepolis in Iran. In 1935, Herzfeld was forced into early retirement from his professorial post in Berlin because of his Jewish descent, and immigrated to the United States. In 1943, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a portion of Herzfeld’s personal papers, a larger portion went to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and another group deposited in the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin.
The selection presented here is connected to the material on Tell Halaf held at the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. Herzfeld visited Max von Oppenheim’s Tell Halaf Museum in Berlin as evident in the 14 postcards from the museum. Herzfeld also had a copy of von Oppenheim’s Der Tell Halaf book that he cut apart to produce collages and drawings as a way of analyzing objects and sculptures that came from the excavation site.