An Unconventional Union: “Mr. and Mrs. George Kosmopoulos”


“That giant Arcadian mountaineer, servant, foreman and friend, proved the hero of the week-end. I never saw any one more dignified, grave and competent, and as he came from the heights of Arcadia, his physique was impressive, unlike that of the usual wiry little Greek. He brought us tea in the Museum, which we ate sitting among baskets of pottery and fragments of sculpture” (Conway 1917, p. 37).

The passage above comes from Agnes Ethel Conway’s book, A Ride through the Balkans: On Classic Ground with a Camera, and refers to George (Γεώργιος) Kosmopoulos, the son of Angelis (Αγγελής) –both skilled and highly valued foremen of American and German excavations in Greece in the late 19th and early 20th century.[1] Published in 1917, the book is an account of a journey that two young, English women, Conway and her friend Evelyn Radford, made in the Balkan Peninsula in the spring of 1914 as students of the British School of Archaeology. One of their first excursions, while still living in Athens, was to the nearby site of Corinth, where the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA or the School) had been digging since 1895.

Angelis Kosmopoulos, clad in a fustanella, with German archaeologist William Dörpfeld and Mrs. Dörpfeld (?), Tripolis 1937. ASCSA Archives, Richard H. Howland Papers.

Evelyn, “had a friend, an archaeologist, who was taking part in the excavations at Corinth, and invited us to come to her for the week-end.” The friend was no other than Alice Leslie Walker (1885-1954), a graduate of Vassar College (Class of 1906) who had already acquired the reputation of a seasoned excavator, having co-directed with Hetty Goldman the excavations of ancient Halae in Boeotia in 1911-1913. Upon arriving at Corinth the two women went to the excavations, where “our friend had just dug up the oldest piece of pottery ever found in the Peloponnese,” described Conway in her book (p. 36). Eighty years later, John C. Lavezzi, writing a biographical essay about Walker (for Brown University’s online project, Breaking Ground: Women in Old World Archaeology) would describe her discovery “as the largest and probably still the most significant deposit of Early Neolithic pottery from Corinth.” (Also check the comments that John Lavezzi and others added to the post since it went online.)

Alice Leslie Walker, 1906. Source: Vassarion… Vassar College, 1906.

The following day the three women and George drove with a “sousta” (a kind of carriage) to ancient Sicyon to see the ancient theater. On the way back they “persuaded George to sing to us… His grandfather had been in close attendance to Kolokotronis and his pride in the songs was splendid to see. He was very anxious that we should understand all the words in the songs, and assured us over and over again that the circumstances were really historical… George had the remains of a fine voice, and to hear a patriot, full of pride in his songs, sing them in his own country, in the moonlight, was an experience worth having” (Conway 1917, pp. 39-40).

The title page of Agnes Ethel Conway’s book with a snapshot on the left.

Their book is lightly written with archaeology “intentionally suppressed,” because Conway and Radford decided at midpoint during their Balkan journey to “go on strike” as archaeologists and “give themselves over to an orgy of wandering and brisk adventure,” photographing and scribbling notes about the different folk they encountered in their travels (p. 15). Sparing her readers any description of the archaeological site at Corinth, and charmed by the “giant Arcadian mountaineer,” Conway dedicated most of her Corinthian chapter to George, who would later, in 1924, marry their friend Alice Leslie.

On the way to the train station in New Corinth, Conway took a snapshot of what was described to her as rope-making. Source: Conway 1917, p. 41.

I am grateful to Amara Thornton, the author of the innovative Archaeologists in Print: Publishing for People (2018) and a fellow blogger, who alerted me to the existence of Conway’s book and the references to Walker (who is not named in the book) and her “servant, foreman and friend” George. I am also glad because this is the only time that his character comes alive and is larger than we had ever imagined him, almost an epic figure. After marrying “Miss Walker” he was condemned to be a lesser figure in the eyes of the American community of Athens.

The American community’s frame of mind is best described by Charlotte Eleanor Ferguson, a young American teacher at Miss Miles’s girls school at Old Phaleron, who attended an American tea-party on October 23, 1924 at the house of Mrs. Sakellariou, “the Columbia graduate who married the Greek university professor”: …Then along came Mr. and Mrs. Cosmopoulos –she a Vassar graduate of 1902, a famous archaeologist (Miss Walker), very deaf, and with a cherubic face. Last year, she married the man who bossed all her excavations-a man well versed in excavating but without the educational background she has…” (D. L. Aronson, Odyssey of a Learning Teacher (Greece and the Near East 1924-1925), 2005, p. 45; about Charlotte Eleanor Ferguson’s experience in Greece read: “To Know One’s Country as a Foreign Land”).

Some years later, an exchange of letters between Edward Capps, Chair of the School’s Managing Committee, and Rhys Carpenter, Director of the School, implied that George Kosmopoulos had not been included in the guest list for the School’s Thanksgiving party in 1930. “Now that the dinner is over, and I hope you had a jolly time, I do not mind telling you that she appealed to me on the subject… She may not understand, and probably never will, that while nobody objects to her George, who is a very fine chap, of course, the members of the School would have little pleasure in his society and George, himself, would be quite miserable. Her wish that he might be ‘recognized’ is quite understandable, though her density as regards the function shows how Greek she has become,” conveyed Capps to Carpenter (ASCSA AdmRec 318/2, folder 2, December 17, 1930).

Et in Arcadia Ego

Throughout their joint life, Walker would affectionately call George “Kyr Yoryi” (Mr. George). Although they became engaged only in 1923 when she was 39 years old, two stories in Conway’s account make me suspect that Alice Leslie and George might have become intimately involved much earlier. In one of them, George and his sisters are elaborating to their visitors details of the dowry system that was prohibiting him from getting married. “In the absence of a father, the brothers take on the burden, and George was saddled with the dowries of their sisters. By ceaseless toil and by mortgaging his best bit of land, he had recently succeeded in marrying one of them; the other two sit at home making the trousseaux they will probably never use, and lamenting that in the nature of things they must be a burden on their brother. ‘You are happy, Kyria,’ Conway was told. ‘You need not feel that you are hindering your brother from marriage.’ (Conway 1917, p. 38).

A group of ASCSA members on the roof of the Director’s House, in 1923. L-R back row: Alice Leslie Walker (standing), Stuart Thompson (the architect of the Gennadius Library), Kenneth Scott (?), Bert H. Hill, Natalie Gifford, Elizabeth Pierce, Sydney Noe (?). L-R front row: Phil Davis, Kate McKnight (?), Carl W. Blegen, Leicester B. Holland. ASCSA Archives, Leicester B. Holland Papers.

The other passage that suggests an increased level of intimacy is when Walker described to her visitors how she and George toured the Peloponnese during the Balkan Wars, distributing relief among the wives and children of soldiers. “Dressed as a peasant herself, she and George obtained access to cottages, and in the course of talk heard of the needs of the poor people, without the purpose of their visit being suspected. She chose the poorest and most neglected districts, and must have been a godsend. Her knowledge of the peasants was profound, and we listened rapturously to an account in the highest habited village of Arcadia” (Conway 1917, pp. 37-38).

Walker referred to the same journey, but with less details about her traveling companion, in a letter to her father written on February 16, 1913. There she related “a most wonderful journey of more than two months” that took her “to many a wild and romantic part of Greece, unknown alike to the traveler and the archaeologist” and brought her into contact “with the kindliest peasantry in the world” and put her in tune with mankind. She also implied that it was a much-needed healing process after having suffered a rough summer in 1912 caused by “that collection of white sepulchers that is called the School.” Her poignant comment rhymes well with the long letter that Hetty Goldman, her partner in the Halae excavations, had sent about the same time to the Director of the American School, Bert Hodge Hill, accusing him of negligence and moral smallness. Both women believed that Hill, together with the School’s Secretary Carl W. Blegen, had intentionally caused the paper work for the expropriation of the site of Halae and the advancement of their project to linger.  After a rough start, however, and over the years, the two women were able to patch up their relationship with both Hill and Blegen. (Read also: “Hetty Goldman: The Potentate of American Archaeology in Greece.”)

Alice Leslie Walker (?) at Halae, ca. 1911.  ASCSA Archives, Halae Excavation Records.

In a subsequent letter to her father, in September of 1913, Walker made sure to praise George.  While describing their new foreman at Halae as “good and industrious and kindly,” she noted that he lacked “the picturesqueness and dramatic power of our good George,” who had been forced to go to the Pergamon excavations because of a previous standing agreement with the Germans. She further likened him to “a wonderful electric battery in an excavation under whom the moving of a large stone became an epic, and a row with the natives a battle of Gods and giants.” Reading between the lines, it doesn’t take much intuition to guess that Alice Leslie was already in love with George as early as in 1913.

Part of a generation that felt threatened by the rapid advances of civilization, Walker was in search of her own “Arcadia.” In Martin Conway’s introduction to A Ride through the Balkans, Arcadia is presented as something hardly attainable, like a fleeting woman.

“Where shall we find her? How catch her? She will not be caught; she is always beyond, just out of reach. She lives in the blue distance, on the top of the unclimbed mountain… You cannot even hope to pursue her in the conventional world… The ordinary man must get out of himself, out of the routine of his daily life, and away –away off somewhere among sights and folk that are strange to him, and then perhaps for a moment he may feel the touch of her garments as she passes by…” In George Kosmopoulos, a true Arcadian, Walker discovered her own Arcadia.

At Magouliana, the highest habited village of Arkadia, where George owned land, they would build a house for the summer. It was only recently, with the acquisition of the papers of Leicester B. Holland (1882-1952), an architect and member of the School in the early 1920s, that I found photos of the mockup that Holland had prepared in 1923 or 1924 for their house at Magouliana. Perched on a cliff and built of local stone following traditional forms, it would have been a spectacular house had it been built. (Let’s not forget that Walker was a woman of means.)

Leicester B. Holland’s mockup for Walker’s summer house at Magouliana in Arcadia. Source: ASCSA Archives, Leicester B. Holland Papers.

In a letter to Holland, ten years later (February 14, 1934), Walker regretted that they were not able to follow his proposal. “It has always been a great regret to us that were unable to use the excellent plans that you made for our house there –but it was fortunate indeed that we did not build during your years in Greece, for a couple of years later the village site became impossible as a place of residence; partly because Magouliana began to be full of summer visitors… and partly because many of them were tubercular, so that one would not have been safe… We moved out over the pass, past the threshing floors, to a hillside that belonged to Yoryi…. From high on our slope we can see the great mountains, Erymanthus, Chelmos, Cyllene… and on clear days Mt. Lycaeum to the west and Taygetus to the south.”  W. Stuart Thompson (1890-1968), the architect of the Gennadius Library and Loring Hall, had drafted the plans for the new location.

Picturing “Mr. and Mrs. Kosmopoulos”

Lavezzi in his introductory paragraph to the only biographical essay we have for Alice Leslie Walker Kosmopoulos described her as “the ‘High-priestess of Science’ who underwent a near damnatio memoriae. Stately and fine, she was struck down by disease, but Job-like, persevered – though her life’s work remained famously incomplete. Greece was her second home, and she is remembered for her love for the country; in return she was beloved by many in the country.” For anyone who wants to learn more about the life of Walker, I highly recommend reading Lavezzi’s well-researched essay. New evidence allowed me to approach her from a different angle and catch a glimpse of the girl behind the formidable woman she turned into later in her life.

There is very little visual aid for any period of Walker’s life.  There is the Vassar photo depicting her in her late teens where she does resemble a cherub; the one from Halae where I have hard time recognizing her – although I am certain that the girl in the pithos is not Hetty Goldman;[2] the group photo from 1923 showing her as a stout woman, but because of her big hat we cannot discern her face; and, finally, one other photo that I was able to locate through a search at Newspapers.com. There I discovered an interview she gave to the Coos Bay Times on Oct. 17, 1953, a year before her death.

“Archaeologist Wins Reputation for Discoveries in Greece” is an account of her origins, the people who influenced her, her excavations in Greece -curiously omitting or forgetting Halae, of George, manager of archaeological excavations (“because it takes a Greek to manage a Greek”), and aspects of Modern Greek history. I already knew most of what she related in the interview. What pleased me most in this discovery was the photo, probably her last one, because not only was I able to recall in it the cherubic face of the Vassar photo but also to catch a fleeting moment of girlish vanity. “She is still a beautiful woman and dresses meticulously. To match the hydrangea blue of her eyes she wore a blue velvet ribbon in a plain band around her white hair which was echoed by a tiny blue bow on the neckline of her black dress” wrote the (anonymous) journalist who interviewed her.

Mrs. Georgios Kosmopoulos, 1953.

There is only one photo of George preserved, unlike his father Angelis, whose insistence on being clad in fustanella until his death attracted the photographic lens of the School’s students. We acquired his photo three or four years ago when Bryn Mawr College sent to the ASCSA Archives the remainder of the Halae Excavation records. The shipment included an old photo depicting an ancient tower and next to it a tall young man holding a stadia (a ranging rod). The young man of the photo is identified on the back as:

George (Georgios) Kosmopoulos, 1901. ASCSA Archives, Halae Excavation Records. Click to enlarge.

“George Kosmopoulos, the son of the fore-archaeologist, the famous, good and trusted Angelis Kosmopoulos, a son of Magouliana and a brave lad, and a good archaeological assistant to Ferdinard Noack, in Aug. – Sept. 1901” (my translation).

It is unclear if it was George, or somebody else, who wrote the “epigram” on the back of the photo. The elegant handwriting, however, barely resembles that of a note signed by George three decades later, when, in 1937, he notified Bert H. Hill about his father’s death:

A note from George Kosmopoulos to Bert H. Hill, 1937. ASCSA Archives, Bert H. Hill Papers.

“Dear Mr. Hill: Your dear friend and trusted fellow worker –who was loyal to all his friends, the φουστανελοφόρος Hero of Arcadia Angelis (my father) died on the 18th of this month. I apologize for not having notified you on the day of his death. Respectfully, G.A. Kosmopoulos. Old Phaleron, 24.11.37” (my translation).

We don’t know how much longer George lived after Walker’s death, though I suspect that he spent the last years of his adventurous life in his beloved Magouliana. The only person from today’s American School community who remembers him is Trustee William (Rob) Loomis, whose parents were next-door neighbors to Mr. and Mrs. Kosmopoulos in Santa Barbara. Loomis told Lavezzi that Leslie went to his parents’ house for tea, “though Kyr Yoryi did not, being content to tend field back on the ca. one acre they owed.”


[1] Angelis Kosmopoulos was the great-great-grandfather of my best friend and “koumbara,” Angeliki Kosmopoulou, an archaeologist herself with a doctorate degree from Bryn Mawr College, and a Regular (1993-1994) and Associate Member (1994-1996) of the School.

[2] I am now certain that the girl inside the pithos at Halae is not Walker. John Lee sent me a link to the Find A Grave site, where someone has uploaded a nice photo of Walker bearing strong resemblance to her last photo in the Coos Bay Times.


“The Four in Crete”: A Travel Book Leads to an Archival Adventure


Posted by Christopher Richter

Christopher Richter, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Hollins University, with research interests in visual and textual narratives, here contributes to From the Archivist’s Notebook a story about a woman traveler, Gertrude Harper Beggs (1874-1951), who, after attending the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1911-1912, published a travel book about Crete in 1915. Richter, who co-teaches travel abroad courses in the Mediterranean with his wife and fellow faculty member, Christina Salowey (ASCSA student 1990-1992), has developed a special interest in past travelogues about Greece and Turkey.


A few years ago while I was researching 19th and early 20th Century North American women’s travel narratives about Greece, I found 24 relevant accounts in books and magazines (a few of which included references to The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, hereafter ASCSA or the School). The chapter that I eventually published dealt with only six of the narratives (“Exceptional perspectives: National Identity in US Women’s Travel Accounts of Greece, 1840-1913,” in Politics, Identity and Mobility in Travel Writing, ed. M. A. Cabanas, J. Dubino, V. Salles-Reese, G. Totten, New York 2015, pp. 69-82). But among those that I did not include, one particularly intrigued me, leading to more research on the book and its author. Among other discoveries noted below, I found that it is particularly appropriate to remember the author now, as Loring Hall, in its 90th year, is undergoing an extensive renovation.

Gertrude H. Beggs, The Four in Crete, New York/Cincinnati, 1915. Source; ASCSA, Gennadius Library.

The Four in Crete

Gertrude Harper Beggs’s The Four in Crete, published in 1915 (New York: Abingdon Press), tells the story of four traveling companions identified only by nicknames: the Western Woman, the Coffee Angel, the Scholar and the Sage. The narrative begins and ends in Athens, but otherwise focuses on their journey to archeological sites on Crete, which at the time of their visit was not yet technically part of Greece. Beggs employs some standard devices of travelogues of the era. She illustrates the rigors and exoticism of travel through amusing reports of sea sickness, flea infested bedding, and the anxieties of the customs house. Read the rest of this entry »


To Live Alone and Like It: Women and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Between the Wars.

“But it is not education only that is needed. It is that women should have liberty of experience… to idle and loiter, the mental space to let your mind wonder,” wrote Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own in 1929. The work was based on lectures she delivered in October 1928 at Newnham College and Girton College in Cambridge (both for women). She further advised her female audience “to drink wine and have a room of their own.” I will not dwell on the issue of wine because women of all classes had access to alcohol, at least privately, but for a woman to have a room of her own was highly unusual before WW II, especially for women who had not inherited wealth. Woolf would be eternally grateful to her aunt for leaving her a lifelong annual stipend of 500 pounds.

That a woman could live alone by her own choice was almost unheard of. Young women who moved to the big cities in search of work were usually sharing apartments with others of the same sex, for a few years at most, until they got married. However, WW I upset traditional demographics by creating a population imbalance in the western world: more women than men. To put it bluntly, for these extra women it meant that the prospect of marriage was less attainable (Scutts 2017). If Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was fighting her own battles in ultra conservative England, Marjorie Hillis (1889-1971), an American writer and contemporary of Woolf, was sufficiently daring to publish in 1936 a book that encouraged single women to take control of their lives and Live Alone and Like it. “A Lady and Her Liquor,” “Pleasures of a Single Bed,” and “Solitary Refinement?” were some of the chapter titles. Her book became an immediate best-seller and remained popular for many years.

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To Know One’s Country as a Foreign Land

I have always found informal travel accounts fascinating. By informal, I mean accounts found in personal diaries or letters. Occasionally, they are published posthumously by the writer’s relatives (usually for family consumption) and attract little attention because of their mundane nature. Until recently, such letters and diaries of anonymous folk were avoided by historians who considered their content subjective or inaccurate. After all, why use the private diary of an American expatriate in Greece as a source, when the event (e.g., a local revolution) was described in more detail in the newspapers or other official reports?

I, on the other hand, pay particular attention to these types of publications because they provide valuable information, otherwise undocumented, about the level of local awareness, participation or aloofness within foreign communities. Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936), an English writer and philosopher, once said that “the whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land: it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” It’s the second part of Chesterton’s comment that makes me delve into the travel accounts of foreigners-mostly Americans in my case–who have experienced Greece as a foreign land. Here I am not interested in the tourist but instead the engaged traveler, the expatriate, or, in rare cases, the committed immigrant (that is the foreigner who has almost “gone native”).

My latest source of inspiration for getting “to know my country as a foreign land” is a privately published collection of letters which came to my attention after a visit to the newly established Archives of the American College of Greece. There, Dr. Demetra Papakonstantinou, an accomplished archaeologist who now serves as the College’s Archivist, graciously shared with me a copy of a book titled Odyssey of a Learning Teacher (Greece and the Near East 1924-1925). Published in 2005 by David L. Aronson, the book contains transcriptions of the letters that his mother, Charlotte Eleanor Ferguson, a graduate from Mount Holyoke College and a teacher at the American College for Girls (what is now Pierce College), sent to her family in 1924-25. (The original letters are now part of the American School of Greece Archives.)

Front cover photograph: Charlotte Ferguson and Helen Larrabee departing from New York.

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“They returned… but stay I did”: Doreen Canaday’s Experience of Interwar Greece

I first encountered the name “Canaday” in the mid-1980s when I went to Bryn Mawr College for graduate school. Although we did most of our work in the seminar rooms above the Art and Archaeology Library (now the Rhys Carpenter Library), for books and periodicals about history or classics we had to go to the “big library,” which was none other than the Mariam Coffin Canaday Library.

A few years later when I returned to Greece to participate in the regular program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA, or the School hereafter), I heard people referring to Canaday House.  One of the two marble houses flanking the Gennadius Library at 61 Souidias, it housed temporarily the family of the then Director of the School William (Willy) D. E. Coulson. (The big earthquake of 1986 in Kalamata had caused damages to the Director’s residence across the street.)

An ink drawing of the Canaday House at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. ASCSA Archives, Doreen Canaday Spitzer Photographic Collection.

Finally, in the summer of 1990, while digging at Mochlos on Crete, I met Doreen Spitzer on one of the “On-Site with The American School of Classical Studies at Athens” trips that she had been organizing for years, but without realizing that Doreen Spitzer’s maiden name was Canaday. It was only after I started working as the School’s Archivist that I became aware of Canaday Spitzer’s long legacy at the American School.  Doreen Canaday Spitzer (1914-2010) served as a Trustee 1978-1996, President of the Board of Trustees 1983-1988, Trustee Emerita from 1996 and President of the Friends from 1988 until her death in 2010.  (There is a thorough biographical essay about Doreen Spitzer by Catherine de Grazia Vanderpool in AKOUE 63, Fall 2010.) Her father, Ward Canaday (1885-1976), had also served as a Trustee of the School for almost four decades starting in 1937.

Doreen Canaday Spitzer listening to Manolis Andronikos, excavator of the royal tombs at Vergina, 1981. (Between them, barely visible, Machteld Mellink.) Source: ASCSA Archives.

Spitzer also cared deeply about preserving the School’s history and supported wholeheartedly the creation of an Archives Department during her term as President of the Board. Furthermore, she would contact School members, many of whom she knew personally from her time as a student of the School in 1936-1938, to solicit their personal papers.  No wonder why my formal title is the Doreen Canaday Spitzer Archivist. Needless to say that it would have pleased her immensely to see our new and enlarged facilities at the East Wing of the Gennadius Library. Read the rest of this entry »


Touring the Balkans with the Ladies of Ploutarchou 9

Posted by Jack L. Davis

Jack L. Davis, Carl W. Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology at the University of Cincinnati and a former director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2007-2012), here writes about women travelling alone through the western Balkans in the late 1930s, on the eve of WW II.


The second half of the 19th century saw the advent of mass tourism in the Mediterranean and Balkans. Despite a few blips (e.g., the Dilessi Murders in 1870 that resulted in the death of three Englishmen and an Italian at the hands of brigands; J. Gennadius, Notes on the Recent Murders by Brigands in Greece), travellers could be reasonably certain of their personal safety. Their passage was also facilitated by travel brokers and books of advice for tourists.  Thomas Cook tours began in Greece in 1868. The Baedeker guide for Greece was published in 1889 while and Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in Greece was already in its 7th edition by 1880.

Group and individual tourism became ever more common and secure.  American students in Greece experienced violence only on three occasions. In 1872 John Williams White, first chairman of the Managing Committee of the ASCSA, was the target of an attempted kidnapping. In 1886 University of Michigan student Walter Miller was commissioned a captain in the Greek army, so that he could hunt down his assailants. Only once did lawlessness end in death, in 1925 when John Logan was shot in Aitolia by attackers who fired on members of the American and British schools, in an apparent case of misidentification (http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/ASCSA-1882-1942.pdf, p. 179).

Since the late 19th century trips for the students of the ASCSA had been institutionalized, with a Peloponnese and an island trip led by Wilhelm Dörpfeld.  The Peloponnese trip was considered too rough for women, although the first woman member of the School (1885-86), Annie Smith Peck, travelled extensively there with friends. Several of the School’s female students would also hire Angelis Kosmopoulos (foreman for many excavations, including Olympia and Corinth) and his son George (later the husband of Alice Leslie Walker), as guides for their travels throughout Greece.

The more northern reaches of the Balkans began to attract tourists, including women travellers, a bit later than Greece, and there was an explosion of women travel writers there and elsewhere in the late Victorian period (http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/essay-07-07.html).

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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). Read the rest of this entry »