Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Hetty Goldman


Hetty Goldman, the first woman to direct an officially sanctioned archeological excavation, was born December 19, 1881 in New York, New York, U.S.A. In 1903, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts degree in Greek and English. In 1911, she earned a master of arts degree from Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From 1910 to 1912, she was a recipient of the Charles Eliot Norton Fellowship to study at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. She was awarded this fellowship based on an article she published in 1910. Her first excavation was done in 1911 at Halae, Greece, which she used to earn her Ph.D. degree. She received the Ph.D. degree in 1916 from Radcliffe College.

At this time, she also became involved with humanitarian work. During World War I, she worked for the Red Cross in New York City and after the war she went back to Greece to give help to the Jewish communities there. Later, she was active in bringing into the United States refugees escaping Nazism.

In 1921, she started excavating at Colophon in Ionia, Asia Minor. This work was interrupted the following year by the Greco-Turkish War. In 1932, she conducted an excavation in Yugoslavia. In 1934, and then in 1939, she started digging in Cilicia Tarsus in Turkey, but these, in turn, were interrupted by World War II.

In 1936, she became the first woman professor in the School of Humanistic Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1950, she was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1960, she received a gold medal from the Archaeological Institute of America for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement. Her published books include Excavations at Eutresis in Boetia (1931) and three volumes about excavations in Tarsus published in 1950, 1956 and 1963. Hetty Goldman died in 1972 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1996.

The Book of Women's Firsts: Breakthrough Achievements of Almost 1,000 American Women by Phyllis J. Read and Bernard L. Witlieb, Random House, 1992

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