Hetty Goldman: The Potentate of American Archaeology in Greece

In 1924, Hetty Goldman (1881-1972), who was directing an excavation at the site of Eutresis in Boeotia, hired architect Piet de Jong to draw some of the finds she had unearthed during the season.  To beat the dullness of the evenings, De Jong, who worked for American and British excavations in Greece, made pencil caricatures of his fellow archaeologists which he later turned into striking Art Deco watercolors. The majority of these caricatures once in the possession of Sinclair and Rachel Hood, are now in the care of the Ashmolean Museum. Published by Rachel in Faces of Archaeology in 1998, they constitute visual biographies of American and British archaeologists working in Greece in the 1920s and 1930s.

Hetty Goldman’s caricature by Piet de Jong, 1924. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

De Jong’s caricature of Goldman depicts her “holding a Neolithic pot of which she was particularly proud. The object behind Hetty’s head is a seated archaic statue found up in a Roman villa which was excavated at some distance from the mound [of Eutresis]… There is the mound itself surmounted by the shelter to protect the diggers from the heat of the sun… The horse, Kappa, on the road below the hill to the right draws the cart containing Hetty herself, Hazel [Hansen], Dorothy [Thompson] and Mitso the driver, on their way to work… a sailing boat or caique refers to the expedition organized by the foreman, George Deleas, to try and row across the Gulf of Corinth from Creusis, the harbor settlement of Eutresis.  On the left of the picture at the foot of the mound two village girls with long plaits carry on their heads baskets of washing… Below them is a temple which probably refers to classical architectural findings at Hetty’s previous dig at Halae…” (Hood 1998, p.51).

Goldman herself is depicted “as a powerful, determined woman with square chin, sensible clothes, furrowed brow and large brown hornrimmed spectacles” looking sideways and smoking a cigarette, another indication of her willfulness.  In 1924, Hetty was in her early 40s and in the middle of her long archaeological career. Another woman of her time might have contemplated retirement, at least from strenuous field work, as other pioneer women archaeologists had done before her, but not Hetty, who 10 years after Eutresis would start her most ambitious project, the excavation of Tarsus in Cilicia. She would also become the first woman, in 1936, to hold a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Thirty years later, in 1966, when she received the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, only the second recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America’s highest award, she would be lauded “as an excavator, author, mentor of archaeologists… [and] a pioneer in many fields and in many lands.” (Mellink and Quinn 2004, p. 337).

De Jong chose to title his portrait of Goldman The Popentate, Hetty’s nickname, not without significance, since it resonates with the Latin Potentate, meaning powerful. (Jack Davis tells me that Popentate also resonates with Pope –perhaps a joke since she was Jewish?). With pioneering people, especially women competing in fields dominated by men, it is always tempting to look into their early years for the first signs of assertiveness.

One of four children of Julius and Sarah Goldman, Hetty was born in a house that valued both wealth and education. Her paternal grandfather, Marcus Goldman, had founded the investment house of Goldman, Sachs, and Company together with two brothers, Julius and Samuel Sachs. Her maternal line included many university-educated men. The Sachs family, bound to the Goldmans through intermarriage (two of the Goldman sisters married two Sachs brothers), was also prominent in the promotion of education, having founded the Sachs School for Boys in 1871 and the companion School for Girls in 1891, which Hetty and her sisters Agnes and Bertha attended. Julius Sachs, who established these schools, had studied classics in Germany and practiced classical scholarship throughout his life. His son and Hetty’s cousin, Paul Sachs (1878-1965), would become Assistant Director of Harvard’s Fogg Museum and Professor of Art History at Harvard College. He is also credited with the development of the earliest museum studies program in America. Sachs, through the Fogg Museum, would support several of Hetty’s projects in Greece and Turkey.

“Some Share in the Field Work of the School”

After attending the Sachs School for Girls, Hetty received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1903 where she double majored in English and Greek. Not sure about her scholarly interests, she would spend the next six years trying to decide whether to pursue a career in writing or to enroll in graduate school for classics.  She finally did the latter. In 1910, after having received her Master’s degree from Radcliffe, she went to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or the School hereafter), as the recipient of the Charles Eliot Norton fellowship — the first woman to receive it (one of the many “firsts” in Goldman’s academic year). In Athens she found eleven students, five of whom were women. She would immediately strike a friendship with Alice Leslie Walker (later Cosmopoulos), with whom she would excavate the site of Halae. Other students included Carl W. Blegen and William Bell Dinsmoor. Bert Hodge Hill was the School’s Director with Cyrus Ashton Rollius Sanborn performing the duties of Secretary (much later Sanborn would marry Hetty’s younger sister Agnes).

“I first went to Greece in the golden age before the [Great] War, when visas were unknown, and travelers were not yet corrupted to an unholy joy in depreciated currencies. I had a Harvard fellowship which assured me two years of study at the American School in Athens, and in my heart a great desire for that experience which up ‘till then had been denied women: some share in the field work of the School” reminisced Goldman in 1923.

Even though Harriet Boyd and Edith Dohan had conducted excavations on the independent island of Crete (thus outside the jurisdiction of the American School) in the early 1900s, the American School continued to discourage women from engaging in field activities. Hill, however, was willing to meet half-way Goldman’s desire to excavate in Greece. Goldman and Walker wanted to excavate the mound of Eutresis but they were advised “to choose a site nearer to where the men of the School were working that year, so that we should not be left to meet unaided the many difficulties, both practical and archaeological, which our inexperience was certain to encounter,” Goldman recalled in “Archaeological Excavation: A Profession and an Adventure” (Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin, June 1923, pp. 7-8).

Either Hetty or Alice Leslie, most likely Alice Leslie, at Halae, ca. 1911. If the latter, it is the only photo we have of her in the School’s Archives. ASCSA Archives, Excavation Records, Halae Excavations.

The site which the School chose for Hetty and Alice Leslie was the coastal city of Halae in Locris, not far from Atalante where the School was digging to find Opous, the capital city of ancient Locris. Years later Goldman jokingly would tell friends “that she and Walker were permitted to excavate at Halae only because the director of the School wished to locate them as far from Athens as possible” (Mellink and Quinn 2004, p. 303).

Workmen at Halae Excavations, 1911-1914. The bearded man on top is Angelis Kosmopoulos, foreman on many American excavations in Greece. Alice Walker would marry his son, George. Photo: ASCSA Archives, Excavation Records, Halae Excavations.

Too Small to Admit One’s Faults?

It is also ironic that the School had to give up Opous after the first season because of poor results, while Goldman and Walker would ask Hill to apply to the Greek State for land expropriation at their own expense. At a time when excavation permits were issued within the day, the expropriation of the land where the acropolis of Halae once stood took more than a year. I cannot help but wonder whether Hill’s “laissez-faire” way of managing the School’s affairs was responsible for the delay in the negotiations with the Greek State or a subconscious refusal on his part to prioritize women’s business. In the end it was through the intervention of an important family in Athens, the Coe von Berlans, and their connections with the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, that the expropriation of Halae was achieved.

“In their eagerness to help us they went to no less a person than Venizelos, and they represented the situation so ably –the fact that although the Greek government had promised the American School to act promptly, we were still waiting after three months of excavation –that he was immediately interested… and personally wrote a letter to the general secretary of the Ministries… telling him to see that the expropriation be attended to immediately. I need not go into details, but suffice it to say that it took three weeks of telegraphing in the name of the Prime Minister to locate the papers… gathering dust in the office of a small local official in Lamia…” only to find out that in the meantime the owner of the land had not only tripled its price but he was also threatening to dig wells and plant trees, not to mention that he kept sending his wife to throw stones at the workmen (Bert H. Hill Papers, box 3, folder 6).

The excerpt above comes from a fourteen page letter that Goldman addressed to Hill on August 31st 1912 from Switzerland. Of great interest, and also indicative of Goldman’s quest for fairness, is that in the same letter she did not hesitate to accuse Hill of negligence and moral smallness.

“The losses of time, energy and money of this season are irreparable and into the question of whether they were inevitable, it is perhaps futile to enter now. One thing alone my self-respect will not allow me to pass over is silence. When I saw you for the last time in Athens you said to me ‘I consider that there has been absolutely no neglect in connection with the Halae expropriation’ and I, by keeping silence, may have seemed to acquiesce in this. Mr. Hill, I would have to give up every conception of duty I have ever held, if I were to believe that the Director of an archaeological school was justified in personally attending to a thousand and one nerve racking and trivial household details, and not himself enquiring… into so important a matter as the expropriation of an ancient site.”

To strike her final blow a few lines later: “I have known many people too small to admit an error but none too big to do so. I have never counted you among the former. After all, to a person of ambition and an independent way of thought opportunity means more than anything else, and I still remember with gratitude that very opportunity to excavate came from you; everything else, unless you yourself should again bring it up, I should prefer to let lapse into silence.”

We don’t have Hill’s reply to know whether he admitted his negligence, thus acting “big,” or followed her suggestion not to raise the matter again. The next time she wrote to him was in early November 1912, a month after the outbreak of the First Balkan War. She shared with him the good news that Venizelos had signed the Halae expropriation papers the day before the troops were mobilized and “that [she] felt as if [she] were in possession of an historic document.”

When Hill in a subsequent letter to her tried to undermine her Athenian friends, the Coe von Berlans, she wrote back that [she] “had to smile at [his] suggestion that the Coe von Berlans might have angered the officials, as I received with the same mail a glorious account from Athens of the relief work they have undertaken and the way in which everybody including royalty and prime minister, attended a sale for the benefit of the soldiers that Miss Coe von Berlan arranged” (Bert H. Hill Papers, Box 3, folder 6, Goldman to Hill, December 20, 1912). In fact, she managed to annoy him further by reiterating that “…the only thing I have heard is that all the foreign schools except our own have aided the Greeks, and that we have been rather sharply criticized in consequence.”  And to make up for the School’s lack of interest in participating in any relief work, she raised money among her friends in New York and sent it “to the Coe von Berlans to give to the Red Cross in the name of our excavations.”

In the Service of the American Red Cross

Machteld Mellink and Kathleen Quinn in their  thorough biographical essay about Goldman refer to her serving as a nurse in a Greek hospital in the course of the Second Balkan War (June 29-August 10, 1913), based on personal communication with Hetty’s aged sister Agnes. From Goldman’s letters to Hill in 1913, however, it appears that she spent most of her summer at the museum in Thebes working on the finds from the previous year. Her sister might have conflated Hetty’s later work, in 1918-1919, with the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers that took her to Northern Greece (Thessaloniki, Serres, and Kavala), Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Jack Davis has retrieved in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C. Goldman’s final report, titled “Investigation of the Needs of the Jewish Communities of Greece, Southern Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria,” to Lieutenant Colonel Capps, the American Red Cross Commissioner to Greece. Regrettably, her work has gone rather unacknowledged, since Edward Capps, Chair of the School’s Managing Committee, who took extra care to publish in book form reports of the other six (male) members of the ARC Greek Commission, did not include hers.

“With The Spade in Greece”

Goldman and Walker worked for four seasons at Halae (1911-1914), unearthing the remains of an ancient Greek city from the Late Classical/Early Hellenistic period with its houses, public square, fortification walls, and graves. From a well they also dug out archaic figurines and building fragments associated with an earlier sanctuary to Athena. WW I brought to an end their field work at Halae; both women, however, took advantage of their free time in America to write their dissertations in the excellent libraries of Harvard and Berkley: Hetty Goldman on “The Terracottas from the Necropolis of Halae,” in 1916, and Alice Walker on “The Pottery of the Necropolis of Locrian Halae,” in 1917.  Moreover, in 1916, the two women contributed $1000 each toward the purchase of land in Athens so that the American School could build its first hostel for women.

Pottery and terracottas from the Halae Excavations. Photo: ASCSA Archives, Excavation Records, Halae Excavations.

By the end of the Great War, however, Hetty and Alice Leslie had parted ways, with Walker concentrating on fieldwork at Corinth and marrying the excavation’s foreman, George Cosmopoulos, in 1918, while Hetty, “a person of ambition and an independent way of thought” (as she had described herself to Hill), after some supplementary work at Halae, would go on to dig the site of Colophon in Asia Minor in the summer of 1922, together with Carl Blegen. War, however, would interrupt her plans once more.

Colophon 1922. From left to right: Benjamin Meritt, Franklin P. Johnson, Lulu Eldridge, Kenneth Scott, Leicester Holland, Hetty Goldman, and Carl Blegen. ASCSA Archives, Excavation Records, Colophon Excavations.

On September 11, 1922, Smyrna was destroyed by fire. “We had closed down the excavation before [the fire], thinking to continue after a short interval, but when we returned all the antiquities we had gathered by careful work… had disappeared. All that remained was a single iron bedstead on which a local policeman was found taking his noon day siesta,” recalled Goldman thirty years later in 1955 in an essay titled “Golden Moments in Greece.” The disruption of her work at Colophon brought her back to Greece, where, at last, she was able to dig Eutresis in 1924, her very first site, the one that the School would not allow her to dig in 1911.

Outside the Thebes Museum, 1924. Wooden box with archaeological supplies, and Goldman peeking from behind the box. ASCSA Archives, Excavation Records, Halae Excavations.

An Aunt’s Advice

De Jong’s Popentate knew that she owed part of her success to her personal wealth, which gave her the independence to pursue her desires. Yet, it must have seemed unfair to her to have to pay for what her male colleagues were getting paid to do. In 1933, writing to her niece, Elizabeth Gutman, who also wanted to become an archaeologist, Goldman advised her against spending from her own purse.

“May I play the old Aunt and give a little advice? First of all be sure, for the success of your own career, that they do not get the impression in Athens that you are in the same position as myself and can work without pay. When I took to the special kind of archaeology I pursue, that is field work—I had a clear understanding with your Grandad that I would not be earning my living, and I asked him whether he was sufficiently interested in the results of such a career to finance me. It was only with his consent that I embarked upon it, for otherwise I should have turned to teaching or museum work” (Doreen Canaday Spitzer Papers, box 3, folder 8, Goldman to Gutman, Jan. 31, 1933).

In 1936 Goldman was the first woman to be invited to join the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton, with the understanding that she would spend half her time in the field and half at the Institute. She accepted, knowing that she would lose some of her valued independence, but it was time to settle down.  She did have an occasional regret. “The excavation is my first love and fundamentally I fear I am a wandering spirit,” she would write to Simon Flexner, brother of Abraham Flexner, the founding director of IAS, from her dig at Tarsus in 1938. A year later, war would interrupt her excavations a third time, as with Halae in 1914 and Colophon in 1922.


References

Goldman, H. “Archaeological Excavation: A Profession and an Adventure,” Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin, June 1923, pp. 7-10.
Goldman, H. “With the Spade in Greece,” Radcliffe Quarterly 2, 1918, pp. 34-36.
Hood, R. Faces of Archaeology in Greece. Caricatures by Piet de Jong, Oxford 1998.
Mellink, M. J. and K. M. Quinn, “Hetty Goldman (1881-1972),” in Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists, ed. and G. M. Cohen and M. S. Joukowsky,  Ann Arbor 2004.

Note
I had hard time finding any information about the Coe von Berlan family, other than that Mary Anna von Berlan Seward Coe died in Athens in 1917. She and her daughters were also thanked by Walker and Goldman in the first published report about the Halae excavations in AJA 19 (1915), p. 418.

 


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Blending Two Cultures: The Gennadius Library Dedication in 1926


Posted by Maria Georgopoulou

Inspired by the recent inauguration of the new Makriyannis Wing, Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, here contributes an essay about the festivities that took place during the dedication of the Library in April 1926.


The new Ioannis Makriyannis Wing at the Gennadius Library

On June 2, 2018 the American School inaugurated the new Makriyannis Wing of the Gennadius Library. During the preparations for the opening, I was tempted to look back at the festivities for the inauguration of the Gennadius Library itself in 1926. As with other momentous moments in his life, John Gennadius was keen to keep in his scrapbooks as much information as possible about the events (Opening Exercises of the Gennadius Library, preserved in Scrapbook Φ38, p. 36).

The dedication ceremony of the Gennadeion took place on April 23, 1926 at 4.30 pm, after extensive preparations in America and Athens. The letters exchanged between John Gennadius and Bert Hodge Hill, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or the School hereafter), in November and December 1925 deal not only with significant matters, such as guest lists, but also with smaller details like the duration of the blessing (αγιασμός).

On the day of the event the dignitaries marched into the Gennadius gardens in an academic procession. Inside the Library, they listened to various speeches and a lecture by John Gennadius. Due to limited space, admission to this event was by ticket only.  An additional tour of the Library and “a great garden party” was held in the gardens of the School, on the following day. The blessing (αγιασμός) had taken place a day earlier followed by a reception in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Gennadius hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Woodward, Director of the British School of Archaeology.

The dedication of the Gennadius Library, April 23, 1926. Photo: Gennadius Library, John Gennadius Scrapbook 38.

Greek and Foreign Dignitaries

The inaugural ceremony was a momentous event that attracted many important visitors. Edward Capps (1866-1950), Chairman of the Managing Committee of the American School, and an instrumental figure in accepting the gift of John Gennadius’s precious library on behalf of the American School in 1922, reached Athens in March of 1926. Although the School put on a good face for the inauguration of the Gennadeion, Capps’s early arrival may have had something to do with serious internal strife at the School; Director Bert Hodge Hill, who had served in this position since 1906 had been just terminated.  A ‘civil war” was about to break out in the American School that would cause a deep rift in the School’s foundations for several decades. Yet, the two men appeared side by side on many social occasions during the inauguration of the Gennadius Library, keeping the conflict within the School’s boundaries. [1]

John and Florence Gennadius arrived in Athens on April 13 and stayed on campus, in the newly built house for the Librarian of the Gennadius Library, Dr. Gilbert Campbell Scoggin.

The dedication of the Gennadius Library as seen in the Greek press. Photo: Gennadius Library, John Gennadius Scrapbook 38.

Among the 104 dignitaries who came from the U.S. we should mention: Dr. Henry S. Pritchett and Mrs. Pritchett of the Carnegie Corporation, the organization that had funded the construction of the Library [2]; seven members of the School’s Board of Trustees, including the President of the Board (1911-1928), Judge William Caleb Loring; the Vice-President, Frederick P. Fish (who was also representing M.I.T.); the Secretary (1920-1949), A. Winsor Weld (1869-1956), who had first come to Greece with the American Red Cross in 1918; and the Treasurer (1914-1933), Allen Curtis, who was also a member of the Building Committee supervising the construction of the Gennadius Library. John Van Pelt and W. Stuart Thompson, the architects who had designed and constructed the building, were also present of course. (On Weld’s involvement with the Greek Commission of the American Red Cross, see “Athens 1918: “In Every Way a Much More Attractive City than Rome”; and  about W. Stuart Thompson’s career in Greece, see also “’The Best Laid Plans… Often Go Awry’: A Tale of Two Museums”.)

The American School was not the only one facing problems. Greek President Theodoros Pangalos (1878-1952), who had taken over the government of Greece by staging a coup in June 1925 was to be deposed a few months later in August 1926.  Pangalos attended the inauguration accompanied by his wife, Major Zervos, Captain Laskos, and Captain Gennadis, aides to the President of the Republic. The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Loucas Kanakaris Roufos (1878-1949), and the Minister of Religious Affairs and Education, astronomer Demetrios Aiginitis (1862-1934), the Mayor of Athens, the British Minister and Lady Cheetham, the Austrian Consul General and Madame Walter, and the American Consul General Mr. and Mrs. Garrels.

The dedication of the Gennadius Library. Judge Loring (1), General Pangalos (2), and Captain Gennadis (3). Photo: Gennadius Library, John Gennadius Scrapbook 38.

“A true Greek Renaissance”

Part of the planning had to do with entertaining those who came from America. In addition to visiting the museums and monuments of Athens, one of the Annual Professors of the American School, Dean Walter Miller of the University of Missouri, met a group of them in Patras on April 6 and took them on tours of Olympia and the Argolid and also of Boeotia and Delphi. (On Walter Miller, see also J. L. Davis, “Archives from the Trash: The Multidimensional Annie Smith Peck-Mountaineer, Suffragette, Classicist.)

The Greek experience of the foreign dignitaries was enhanced by a special presentation of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women (Λύκειον των Ελληνίδων). On Thursday April 21, 1926 the Lyceum organized an impromptu reception in their honor, a preview of the annual Festival of the Stadium that was being planned for May 9. The girls of the Lyceum dressed in traditional Greek costume danced folk dances. What attracted the admiration of the guests, however, were the tableaux vivants that recreated a historic panorama of all the periods of Greek civilization from prehistory to the present: “a true Greek Renaissance (Μια αληθινή Ελληνική Αναγέννησις).” (Scrapbook Φ22, p. 12, newspaper clipping, Πολιτεία, 27/4/1926.)  Particular praise was reserved for the reenactment of the frescoes of Knossos by the Greek archaeologist Anna Apostolaki, who put a lot of care into the creation of eleven Minoan costumes, which cost 20,000 drachmas, almost 1/10 of the entire festival’s budget. [3]. Mrs. Hill, the wife of Bert Hodge Hill, was enthused, and the director of Near East Relief referred to the presentation as a most beautiful work of national pride. Rightfully then, did Kallirrhoe Parren (Καλιρρόη Παρρέν) report at the end of 1926 that “Arthur Evans had excavated Knossos, a site that revealed Minoan civilization, but thanks to Anna Apostolaki the Lyceum girls revived Minoan culture and made it accessible to thousands of people.” (About Apostolaki, see also V. Florou, “Anna Apostolaki: A Forgotten Pioneerof Women’s Emancipation in Greece“.)

Greek women clad in copies of Minoan dress for the celebrations of the Lyceum in 1926. Source: Photographic Archive of Lyceum Club of Greek Women.


“All the comforts”

A different kind of feast was planned by John Gennadius and his wife Florence to thank the American School for all their hard work: a formal dinner in the best hotel in Athens was held on Saturday April 24, 1926 (Lazarus Saturday) at 8.45 pm. While the Grande Bretagne hotel was being remodeled (1923-1933), it had taken over the hotel Le Petit Palais (or Μικρόν Ανάκτορον) located on the corner of Panepistimiou Street and Kephissias Avenue (now Vasilissis Sophias) next to the Megaron Demetriou.

Advertisements stressed the prior history of the building, which had served as the residence of prince Nikolaos (e.g. in the Parisian newspaper Le journal des Hellènes, 1926). In 1923, this small luxury hotel of 60 to 70 beds prided itself that it “could be compared to the best of Europe as it had all the comforts sought by the most demanding European guest.” (Much of the staff of 250 people consisted of Asia Minor refugees.) Indeed, the hotel was not only a point of reference for the Athenian elite, but was praised by foreign guests as well. [5] It was in this chic Athenian establishment that Ambassador John Gennadius decided to throw a dinner party to thank the dignitaries of the American School for completing the construction of the Gennadius Library and fulfilling the lifelong dream of this adamant book collector.

Petit Palais, ca. 1920s.

The Menu

The menu consisted of six courses according to the trends of the times. In the interwar period upper-class Greek cuisine underwent a significant change in favor of a more European kind of cooking; the famous Greek cookbook of Nikos Tselementes, first published in 1910, had europeanized Greek cuisine by introducing butter and cream to its recipes. It comes to no surprise that the menu at the Petit Palais featured a five-course meal with dishes influenced by American and French cuisine. (On the changes in Greek cuisine during the early decades of the 20th century, see also: N. Vogeikoff-Brogan, “Expat Feasts in Athens on the Eve of the Balkan Wars“.)

The first course was barley velouté soup with pailles (“straws”) of Cheshire or Chester cheese. It was followed by lobster Newburg, ham mousse with ginger, roasted chicken with lettuce salad and asparagus with sauce hollandaise. For dessert there was bombe plombières [5], friandises (various sweets) and a basket of fruit.

The total cost of this dinner for 38 people was quite substantial: 16,159 drachmas. The dinner itself was set at 300 drachmas per person, drinks amounted to 1,721 drachmas (including the huge expense of 425 drachmas for Evian water); the cost of flowers was 1,000 drachmas and that of cigars and cigarettes 805. There was a service charge of 10% in the amount of 1,233 drachmas.

The Banqueters

The 38 guests were seated in one u-shaped table; they were mostly Americans associated with the School or the U.S. Embassy, and several Greek friends of John Gennadius. (Seating chart available in Scrapbook Φ22, pp. 14-15.) Many of the Greek officials who were invited sent their regrets as on that Saturday they had to attend the celebration of the centenary of the sortie of Missolonghi. John Gennadius had been careful (letter of December 29, 1925 to Bert H. Hill) not to plan the inauguration of the Library on the same day as the celebrations at Missolonghi nor on Greek Easter (May 2).

In addition to the representatives of the School’s Trustees and Managing Committee, the Carnegie Corporation and other American officials mentioned above, John and Florence Gennadius extended their invitation to family members of the dignitaries and to senior staff of the American School. For instance, the Chairman of the Managing Committee (1918-1939) Edward Capps of Princeton University, was accompanied by his wife and two children: Edward Jr. and Priscilla (who also headed Near East Industries in Greece), as well as by his brother, the physician Joseph Almarin Capps of the University of Chicago. The Director of the American School Bert Hodge Hill and his wife, Ida Thallon Hill, were joined by Assistant Director Carl William Blegen with his wife Elizabeth Pierce Blegen, Gennadeion Librarian Dr. Gilbert Campbell Scoggin and Mrs. Scoggin, and Mrs. Jennie Emerson Miller (wife of Annual Professor Walter Miller). The British School was represented by Mrs. W. A. Heurtley, wife of the Assistant director, as the Director was away in Sparta. Three Americans from Chicago, School Trustee (1924-1929) Horace S. Oakley, who was also a member of the American Red Cross Commission to Greece in 1918, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Patten were added to the dinner party.

Edward Capps and Gilbert Scoggin with their wives posing on the steps of the Gennadius Library for the Greek press. Photo: Gennadius Library, John Gennadius Scrapbook 38.

Despite the wish of John Gennadius to have with him the highest ranking diplomats, the Minister of the U.S. to Greece does not appear in the correspondence related to the inauguration; he must have been absent from Greece at the time. In his stead two other members of the U.S. legation to Greece were present at the dinner: James Orr Denby (Second (?) Secretary) and Herbert S. Goold.

The Greek guests included General and Mrs. Amvrosios Phrantzis, whose correspondence with John Gennadius betrays a close friendship and mutual respect between the two, probably formed during Phrantzis’s time in London (1917-1922) [6]; Professor Andreas M. Andreades (1876-1935), an eminent economist trained in Paris and London and Member of the Academy of Athens [7]; D[imitrios] Calapothakis from the Press Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Themistoklis N. Marinos, vice-president of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, one of the academic institutions that were highly regarded by John Gennadius; and G. Marinos.

President Pangalos, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Education, the Provost of the University of Athens Simos Menardos, Alexandros Vouros (1871-1959), a high ranking Greek diplomat, and Stamos Papafrangos (1872-1942), a high ranking official in the Director’s Office of the National Bank of Greece [8] declined the invitation; some were going to be at Missolonghi.

The array of guests demonstrates the network of people that Gennadius wanted to honor in this event, as well as his personal connections with Greek dignitaries. As a senior diplomat from London he surely had a heightened sense of protocol exigencies and meant to include Greek ministers and University professors along friends and colleagues, such as Amvrosios Phrantzis and Stamos Papafrangos with whom he had worked in the past.

The juxtaposition of the two events, one at the Lyceum Club of Greek Women, celebrating the continuity of Greek history, and the other, a high class European-style dinner at a posh Athenian hotel offered by John Gennadius, recall the two cultures that were combined in his figure. As his portraits show, this Athenian who spent most of his life in London could choose to appear either as a true Greek or as a Englishman seamlessly blending into the new, host culture depending on the situation.

 

Portrait of John Gennadius by Philip de László, 1925. Photo: Gennadius Library.

Portrait of John Gennadius for Spy Magazine, ca. 1925.


Notes

[1] On the rivalry between Capps and Hill, see also: “Clash of the Titans: The Controversy Behind Loring Hall” and David W. Rupp,” Mutually Antagonistic Philhellenes: Edward Capps and Bert Hodge Hill at the American School of Classical Studies and Athens College,” in Philhellenism, Philanthropy, or Political Convenience? American Archaeology in Greece, ed. J. L. Davis and N. Vogeikoff-Brogan, Hesperia Special Issue, vol. 82:1 (2013), pp. 67-100.

[2] Henry Smith Pritchett (1857-1939) was a Trustee of the Carnegie Corporation and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1906-1930). He was a famous astronomer, former President of MIT, founder of TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association) and had close ties with the American School; about Pritchett and the Carnegie Corporation see N. Vogeikoff-Brogan, “The Carnegie Appropriations to the American School of Classical Studies. Gifts wrapped up in successful social networking,” in Philhellenism, Philanthropy, or Political Convenience? American Archaeology in Greece. ed. J. L. Davis and N. Vogeikoff-Brogan, Hesperia Special Issue, vol. 82:1 (2013), pp. 131-152.

[3] Anna Apostolaki (1881-1958) hailed from Crete and was among the first women to enroll at the University of Athens to study philology. In her professional career she became involved with the nascent field of ethnoarchaeology as well as the National Museum of Decorative Arts. She was particularly keen to organize exhibitions and festivals in order to support organizations like the Weaving Center “Double Axe” in Crete established in 1925. She was a founding member of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women in 1911, where she gave a significant lecture on Knossos in 1911. See E. Bobou-Protopapa and N. Andriotis, «Η Άννα Αποστολάκι στο Λύκειο των Ελληνίδων: το ξεκίνημα [Anna Apostolaki in the Lyceum Club of Greek Women. The Beginning],» in A. Economou and V. Florou, eds., Αντίδωρον στην Άννα Αποστολάκι. Η ζωή, το έργο και η συνεισφορά της, Athens, 2017, pp. 133-150, esp. 142-144.

[4] Aggelos Vlachos, Μεγάλη Βρεταννία: ένα ξενοδοχείο σύμβολο. Eπιμέλεια, σύμβουλος έκδοσης Γεωργία Μ. Πανσεληνά. Athens 2003, pp. 80-81.

[5]  Ice cream made with whipped cream, candied fruit and kirsch in the shape of a bombe or sphere; https://www.maxi-mag.fr/cuisine/recette/plombiere.html. Retrieved on January 20, 2018.

[6] Amvrosios Frantzis (1869-1953), an army officer who participated in the Greek-Turkish War of 1897, the Goudi Military League (1909), and the Balkan Wars. From 1917 to 1922 he served as military attaché at the Greek Embassy in London and in 1926 he was appointed military attaché to Prime Minister Kountouriotis; cf. http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/index.php/archives/Gennadius-Archival-Collections#AmvrosiosFrantzis. Retrieved January 20, 2018.

[7] Andreadis was professor of Political Economy and Statistics at the University of Athens and member of the Academy of Athens since its inception in 1926. In addition to his significant contributions to economic history and public finance, Andreadis also wrote studies about Byzantium, early modern Greece, theatrical reviews, and even literary studies. See M. Psalidopoulos, ed., Ανδρέας Μ. Ανδρεάδης. Ο Πατριάρχης των Δημόσιων Οικονομικών. [In Greek: Andreas M. Andreadis. The Patriarch of Public Finance]. Athens, 2008; P. Giotopoulos, “Andreas M. Andreades [In Greek],” Ionios Anthologia  95-98 (1935), pp. 77-83; and V. Rapanos, “Ο Ανδρέας Ανδρεάδης και οι σύγχρονες απόψεις για τη φορολογία,” in Ανδρέας Μ. Ανδρεάδης. Ο Πατριάρχης των Δημόσιων Οικονομικών (2008), pp. 33-60.

[8] Although his signature is not easily deciphered it probably belongs to Papafrangos who had been sent to the U.S. along with John Gennadius to negotiate a loan to Greece in 1921); cf. L. P. Cassimatis, American Influence in Greece 1917-1929 (Kent, OH, 1988), p. 71.


Phantom Threads of Mothers and Sons

“Dear Mother: How far are we responsible for already inherited faults? That old Sam Hill, by whom folks used to swear when they dared not take greater names in vain, brought over to Vermont at the end of the eighteenth century among his numerous children one son, Lionel, destined to surpass in dilatoriness all the other slow-going Hills of his generation. He married very tardily and begat two sons, both in due time notable procrastinators, the greater of them being the younger, named Alson, who added to more than a full measure of the family instinct for unreasoning delay an excellent skill in finding good reasons for postponing whatever was to be done. Alson Hill was my father…”.  Bert Hodge Hill (1874-1958) addressed these thoughts to his mother from Old Corinth on February 28, 1933 when he was almost 60 years old. Hill, however, never mailed the letter because she had died when he was barely four years old.

Bert Hodge Hill as a young boy and as a middle-aged man. ASCSA Archives, Bert H. Hill Papers.

We will never know what prompted Hill to compose this imaginary missive to a person he never knew. It is the only document, however, that has survived among Hill’s papers that gives us a hint of latent childhood trauma. Just google “mothers and sons” and you will get titles such as “Men and the Mother Wound”, “The Effects of an Absent Mother Figure,” and so forth, with references to a host of scientific articles about the decisive role played by mothers. Hill’s dilatoriness cost him the directorship of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or the School hereafter) in 1926, after having served as the School’s Director for twenty years. Hill never even finished his imaginary letter to his mother. Had she been around when he was growing up, would have she corrected this family defect and taught him how to prioritize and achieve timely and consistent results? Hill must have wondered. Read the rest of this entry »


The Riding Goddess of Mycenae

“In the summer of 1954, while Dr. Papademetriou and I were investigating the new Grave Circle of Mycenae, we removed the fill to the south of that circle; it proved to have been the dump of a previous excavation. Its position seems to indicate that in all probability it was made up of earth removed either by Mme Schliemann or by Tsountas from the dromos of the Tomb of Clytemnestra. Among other objects found in this earth were two carved gems, one of which bears the figure of an animal, and the other a design not only interesting for its excellence of its workmanship but also important because of the subject represented,” wrote archaeologist George Mylonas in the introduction of his book Ancient Mycenae: The Capital City of Agamemnon (Princeton 1957).

Tomb of Clytemnestra, 1953. Photo: ASCSA Archives, Katherine Biddle More Scrapbook.


The Accidental Discovery of Grave Circle B

The Tomb of Clytemnestra had been robbed by Veli Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of the Morea, in the early 19th century; he had, however, missed the dromos. Years later, in 1876, it was cleared by Sophia Schliemann, while her husband Heinrich was digging the shaft graves of Grave Circle A. The Tomb was properly excavated by Christos Tsountas in 1897, who conducted excavations at Mycenae from 1886 until 1902. After WW II, the Greek Archaeological Service undertook the restoration of the Tomb of Clytemnestra, which, by then, was falling apart and needed urgent care. The restoration, which started in the spring of 1951, was completed by the fall of that year. Read the rest of this entry »


“Anything to restrain the reverend father”: Catholic Clergy at the ASCSA, Pt. II

Posted by Dylan Rogers

Dylan Rogers holds a PhD from the University of Virginia, and he has been Assistant Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 2015. This essay, the second of two parts, was inspired by recent research in the ASCSA Archives about the Summer Session program.


In my last post, I began an exploration of members of the Catholic clergy at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or School). My curiosity was piqued by the acerbic comments of Gertrude E. Smith who was not in favor of selecting Fr. Schoder to lead the School’s summer program in 1961. Was the School against admitting Catholic priests and nuns in its programs or was Smith’s dislike of Fr. Schoder personal and exceptional?

Part I examined the figure of Fr. Quinn, an accomplished scholar of Ancient and Modern Greek at the turn of the 20th century. Subsequent to Fr. Quinn ten more priests attended the School’s regular program. In addition, the SS has hosted at least 16 priests and nuns, from 1936 until 1973. The clergy came from a variety of orders, including parish priests, Benedictines (O.S.B.), a De La Salle brother (F.S.C.), a Sister of Mercy (R.S.M.), a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (B.V.M.), a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur (S.N.D. de Namur), and two Sisters of St. Joseph (C.S.J.). But, by far, most of the priests (nearly 18) came from the Society of Jesus (S.J.), or the Jesuit order. And there were a number of interesting figures in this group, such as Fr. Thomas Bermingham, S.J. (1918-1998), a professor at Georgetown University, who had taught William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, Latin at Brooklyn Prep in the 1940s. Fr. Bermingham would later advise Blatty on the filming of The Exorcist, and eventually would play Tom, the president of Georgetown, in the film.

Fr. Thomas Bermingham, student at the ASCSA in 1961-62, as President of Georgetown University in The Exorcist.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Magnificent Mayer House: No Such a Thing as a Free Gift

Dedicated to Ludmila Schwarzenberg Bidwell

“Following a decision by the Board of Trustees at their November 1997 meeting, the U.S. base for School activities since 1974, was put on the market and sold in May for $5,850,000.” This story appeared in the summer issue of the 1998 ASCSA Newsletter (“Mayer House Sold,” no. 41, p. 4). By then, the U.S. base of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or School hereafter) had already been transferred to Princeton. That fall I was invited by Catherine Vanderpool, the School’s Executive Director in the U.S., to visit Princeton for two reasons: to meet Homer A. Thompson who was contemplating the idea of leaving his personal papers to the School (which he did) and to examine a large number of boxes containing the administrative records transferred to Princeton after the sale of the Mayer House. Many of the records had been damaged by flooding that precipitated the sale of Mayer House.

Mayer House, entrance. Photo: Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, 2014.

Built in 1882, the four-story brownstone house was one of nine houses on East 72nd Street from no. 39 to 55. The family of Bernhard and Sophia Mayer had moved into the neighborhood in 1899 after purchasing a pair of brownstones in the row at no. 16 and no. 41. (I draw some of this information from the Daytonian in Manhattan, a blog about the architectural history of New York city.) Two family members were later active in New York’s intellectual and academic circles. Albert Meyer (1897-1981), an architect and city-planner, designed many apartment buildings in New York, as well as the master plan of Chandigarh, the new capital of the Indian Punjab. His older sister Clara (1895-1988) was an educator and associated with the New School for Social Research for more than thirty years. She served as Dean of its School of Philosophy and Liberal Arts (1943-1960), and from 1950 to 1962 also as Vice President of its Board. Read the rest of this entry »