Scope and Contents
The Phyllis Pray Bober papers consist of miscellaneous materials related to Bober’s career, including research notes and course notes and materials. The collection, which ranges from 1940-2002, also includes correspondence and material from her own graduate and undergraduate education.
The collection consists of ten series: “Series I: Miscellaneous Materials on Career,” “Series II: Miscellaneous Notes,” “Series III: Typescripts,” “Series IV: Census Materials,” “Series V: Course Materials,” “Series VI: Lecture Scripts and Related Materials,” “Series VII: Correspondence by Subject Matter,” “Series VIII: Miscellaneous Correspondence Filed Chronologically,” “Series IX: Notes and Materials from Bober’s own Undergraduate and Graduate Courses,” and “Series X: Tapes and Data.”
“Series I: Miscellaneous Materials on Career” consists of Bober’s vitae and information about her appointments as Dean of the Graduate School and at Smith, and her tenure at Florida State. “Series II: Miscellaneous Notes” contains miscellaneous bibliographies, notes on culinary history and catacombs, and notes collected for Prospective Volume II, Art, Culture, and Cuisine. “Series III: Typescripts” is comprised of typescripts on a large number of topics, most of which are related to art history and archaeology or historical cuisine. “Series IV: Census Materials” contains materials related to "Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance". “Series V: Course Materials” consists of materials related to art history and historical cuisine classes taught by Bober, including Roman Architecture and Roman Humanism, Antiquity in the Renaissance, and Culture and Cuisine. “Series VI: Lecture Scripts and Related Materials” consists of lectures given by Bober, including ones on the American education system, Renaissance cuisine, a commencement speech for Bowdoin, and a 1977 convocation speech. “Series VII: Correspondence by Subject Matter” includes miscellaneous correspondence, most of which is related to various art institutions, conferences, and lectures given. Correspondence concerning her Guggenheim proposal and the Smithsonian Symposium on “Power Dining” is notable. “Series VIII: Miscellaneous Correspondence Filed Chronologically” contains correspondence arranged chronologically, from 1942 to 2002. “Series IX: Notes and Materials from Bober’s own Undergraduate and Graduate Courses” contains a sizable collection of Bober’s class notes and her NYU graduate school transcript. “Series X: Tapes and Data” consists of a number of tapes and disks for Bober’s talks, including three on the Roman era, three on the Medieval period, and two on the Renaissance. Additionally, it contains an undated NPR interview, another unidentified interview, the “Perelli” lecture and the “Kennedy” lecture.
In addition to being an influential art historian, Bober was a pioneer in the field of culinary history. This collection is useful as a tool for understanding Bober and her many academic interests, and for the unique insights Bober provides into the art history and culinary history disciplines.
Copyright and Rights Information
The Phyllis Pray Bober papers are the physical property of Bryn Mawr College's Special Collections Department. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.
Biographical / Historical
Born in Portland, Maine in 1920, Bober received her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1941 with a major of her own creation: Art History with a concentration in Archaeology and a minor in Greek. She completed her graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. She received her M.A. in 1943 and her PhD. in 1946. In 1946 she went abroad with her husband Henry Bober where she conducted independent research, including the beginning of one of her life's projects: the Census of Classical Works of Art Known to the Renaissance. She held a number of teaching appointments at Wellesley College, the school of architecture at MIT, and NYU where she created the Department of Fine Arts at NYU's University College.
In 1973 she accepted the position of Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Bryn Mawr College which she held until 1980. she also held the position of professor at Bryn Mawr and became a professor emerita upon her retirement in 1991.
Bober had a life long interest in culinary history and developed a number of undergraduate courses, graduate seminars, lectures, and articles, not to mention her "historical banquets" presented at many institutions, including Bryn Mawr College. In 1999 the University of Chicago published her book: Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronony. At the time of her death she was at work on a sequel.