Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From the Archivist's Notebook: Essays Inspired by Archival Research in Athens Greece

From the Archivist's Notebook: Essays Inspired by Archival Research in Athens Greece
My name is Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan – archivist, archaeologist, historian, wife and mother. These are pages from my notebook.
I studied Classical Archaeology in Greece (University of Thessaloniki) and the United States (Bryn Mawr College), and have conducted field work in East Crete for many years. Since 1994, I have served the American School of Classical Studies at Athens as head of its archives, from which I draw inspiration for most of my writings in this blog. Together with Jack L. Davis, I recently co-edited a volume titled Philhellenism, Philanthropy, or Political Convenience? American Archaeology in Greece, Hesperia 82:1, Princeton 2013. Jack, Vivian Florou, and I have another edited volume in preparation; we are publishing papers from a colloquium that the American School and the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation  co-organized, in May 2013, to remember Carl and Elizabeth Blegen. The volume carries the provisional title, Carl W. Blegen: Personal and Archaeological Narratives.
The book is scheduled to appear before the end of 2014 and it can already be pre-ordered at: http://www.amazon.com/Carl-W-Blegen-Archaelogical-Narratives/dp/1937040224/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409506771&sr=1-4&keywords=vogeikoff
Unlike other blogs which have a casual tone and are published almost on a daily basis, “From the Archivist’s Notebook” will appear once a month (on the 1st), occasionally twice (then also on the 15th) if there is a guest contribution. My intention is not to flood my followers’ e-mails with daily “announcements” —it doesn’t take much to run a good thing into the ground, as my son says!
Here you will also will find essays contributed by guest authors who are involved in similar kinds of archival research: viz., the history of institutions and the role of individual agency in them. These essays will include their musings on books, articles, and exhibition catalogs relevant to their research interests. Until now, guest bloggers Jack Davis, Jacquelyn Clements, Liz Ward Papageorgiou, and Vivian Florou have written on a variety of themes.
Jack Davis has contributed four great stories: “Barbarians at the Gate” examined the history of the entrance exams to the American School (and provoked strong reactions!); “An Archival Paradox, the Expédition de Morée and a Mysterious Love Affair” explored the literary activities of their members of the  Expédition de Morée including Jack’s recent discovery of an unknown epistolary novel by one otheir members, Jacques-Louis Lacour; the unexpected retrieval of Marion Rawson’s diaries prompted him to write about his favorite topic, Carl Blegen and the Pylos excavations, in a story titled ” ‘I Once was Lost but Now I’m Found': The Search for Missing Archives, Marion Rawson, and the Excavations of the Palace of Nestor”; and in the September 2014 post, Jack will be contributing an essay about the non-archaeological pastimes of some of the American School’s most distinguished past members, including Carl Blegen, Emily Vermeule, Rhys Carpenter, Oscar Broneer, and Dorothy Burr Thompson.
Jacquelyn Clements composed a fun essay about living in Greece in the early 1910s. “Letters from a New Home: Early 20th Century Athens Through the Eyes of Zillah Dinsmoor” draw inspiration from the letters that a young bride, Zillah Pierce Dinsmoor (the wife of the well-known architect William Bell Dinsmoor), sent from Athens to her mother in America.
In “That Unspeakable Stoa” Liz Ward Papageorgiou wrote about Nancy Mitford’s visit to the Athenian Agora during the re-construction of the Stoa of Attalos in 1955. Unhappy with the building, Mitford, one of the famous Mitford sisters, wrote acidic comments about it in the press as well as to the Director of the Agora Excavations, Homer A. Thompson.
The July 2014 post featured Vivian Florou’s essay about  high-society Greek women in the decades between the two world wars. The traditional festive costumes that they wore on their social outings defined the aspirations of their class.
Finally, opinions on From the Archivist’s Notebook are those of the authors. Comments are moderated, but publication of a comment does not indicate an endorsement of the opinions in any comment. Opinions expressed in comments are those of the individuals making the comments.

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