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Lucy T. Shoe Meritt papers

Identifier: BMC-M50

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 28 boxes of materials, dating from c. 18? to 2003. The collection is divided into the following six main categories: (1) Correspondence; (2) Publications; (3) Academic Materials; (4) Professional Affiliations; (5) Biographical Materials; (6) Visual Materials.

I. Correspondence (Boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) comprises the bulk of the collection and contains personal and professional letters. The family letters include incoming and outgoing correspondence with her parents, grandparents, various other relatives, and a few letters exchanged with her husband, Benjamin Meritt. Perhaps in part due to her position as Editor of Publications for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the boundaries between personal and professional are often blurred, and her letters tend to represent a mingling of business and the personal. There is also incoming correspondence from a large number of other scholars and personal friends, among them Rhys Carpenter, Dorothy Burr and Homer A. Thompson, Cornelia Coulter, Doreen Canaday Spitzer, C.K. Williams, Agnes Kirsopp Michels, Mary Swindler, Francis Bacon, Lucy Talcott, Lily Ross Taylor, Rodney Young, Luisa Banti, and Geoffrey Woodhead. The collection includes a handful of letters written to Louise Fitz Randolph (Professor at Mount Holyoke in 1892) from antiquity dealers and the scholar Alexander van Millingen, concerning Egyptian artifacts and Hamdy Bey's work on the Sidon sarcophagus - but how these came to be in Lucy's possession is not clear. The majority of the professional correspondence concerns the ASCSA, as well as various queries from other scholars, and is located in Boxes 13 and 14.

II. Publications are subdivided into two categories. The first of these, LSM Publications, Reviews, Lectures, etc. (Box 7) include a few of Lucy Shoe Meritt's publications in various stages of proofs and drafts, particularly the History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. There are also parts of her Profiles of Greek Mouldings and several off-prints of her articles and reviews. The second, Works of Others (Box 8) contain the works of other scholars, several of which are inscribed to Lucy Shoe Meritt by their authors.

III. Academic Materials are also subdivided into three categories. Academic Posts (Box 9) include grade books and course information from some of her courses at Mount Holyoke and correspondence concerning her positions at Mount Holyoke and at Austin. School Materials (Boxes 10 and 11) are represented by various notes and notebooks as well as academic reports from her time at the Philadelphia High School for Girls and at Bryn Mawr College. Notes, Notepads, and Clippings (Boxes 9 and 12) contain her miscellaneous notes, some of which are devoted to particular subjects such as the earthquake damage at Old Corinth, Greek temples, and ancient Greek sites.

IV. Professional Affiliations (Boxes 13 and 14) contain professional documents relating to ASCSA business, with lesser amounts of correspondence pertaining to the other societies to which she belonged.

V. Biographical Materials (Boxes 15 and 16) include materials from exhibits and symposia in Lucy Shoe Meritt's honor, several obituaries of other notable scholars and colleagues, transcripts of interviews, birth, marriage, and property documents, and permissions for excavations. Of particular note are four diaries, three of which give brief daily accounts of her life at Bryn Mawr College.

VI. Visual Materials (Boxes 17 -27) are divided into 9 series. They consist largely of photographs and negatives of family members, colleagues, and archeological sites. There are also miscellaneous plates for publications, sketches, and landscape watercolors. Also included is the metal template used to carve the Doric capital of the Hephaisteion when it was restored in 1934. Of particular note are the photographs of buildings and individuals affiliated with the ASCSA (Series V).

Series I: Personal Photographs Personal Photographs consists of photographs of Lucy Shoe, sometimes depicting other individuals. In the latter case, the photographs are cross-listed with those in Series II. Series I is furthermore sub-divided into four chronological categories:

1. 1906-1923, which include early photographs of Lucy as a child and as a student at the Philadelphia High School for Girls;

2. 1924-35, which include Bryn Mawr, NJ, and Philadelphia photographs as well as from Lucy's time abroad as a fellow in Athens;

3. 1936-1972, which contain photographs from her time in Athens, at Mt. Holyoke, Princeton, etc.;

4. 1973-2003, which are largely of Lucy at home and at the University- Texas at Austin.

Series II: Photographs of Family and Friends is divided into Family photographs and photographs of Friends & Colleagues and arranged alphabetically according to name.

Series III: Home and Travel contains photographs of places, namely of Bryn Mawr and LSM's trips to Germany, South America, and other locales.

Series IV: Ancient Sites and Artifacts consists of photographs, negatives, and drawings from various ancient sites (Cosa, Corinth, Aulis, and the Athenian Agora) as well as materials related to her research on Ionic capitals.

Series V: Classical Institutions, is subdivided into the American School at Athens and the American Academy at Rome. The majority of the photographs feature photographs of buildings and individuals affiliated with the ASCSA, some of which were used in LSM's The History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Series VI: Photographic Collections of Others include photographs of Benjamin Meritt, Shirely Atchley, Doreen Canaday Spitzer, and others.

Series VII: Miscellaneous and Unidentified Photographs is comprised of miscellaneous and unidentified photographs.

Series VIII: Mouldings contains photographs, drawings, plates and correspondence and is arranged by geographical location and site.

Series IX: Other Materials consist of rubbings, templates, drawings, watercolors, and publication plates.

Other collections of Lucy Shoe Meritt's materials may be found at the Alexander Architectural Archive of the General Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin.

Other Lucy Shoe Meritt materials may be located in the Bryn Mawr Art and Archaeology Collections.


  • Creation: 1888 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Lucy T. Shoe Meritt papers are the physical property of Bryn Mawr College Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors' legal heirs and assigns.

Biographical / Historical

The renowned archaeologist, scholar, teacher, and editor Lucy Taxis Shoe was born on the 7th of August 1906 in Camden, New Jersey. Her fascination with antiquity began at age nine, with a visit to the Memorial Hall of Philadelphia where she saw by chance the stereopticon views of Pompeii left over from an 1876 exhibit. By the time she began to attend the Philadelphia High School for Girls (1919-1923), Lucy already knew that she wanted to be an archaeologist, and her teachers took extra time to work with her outside of class in order to make sure she was prepared to meet Bryn Mawr College's entrance requirements. She graduated with honors and was accepted by Bryn Mawr College on a partial scholarship (1923-1935). At Bryn Mawr Lucy earned her A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees and began the preparation for her well-known studies of ancient architectural moldings.

During the years 1929-1934, Lucy studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens as a fellow in archaeology. She then worked for a time as a slide cataloger in the Art Department of Smith College (November 1935-June 1936), before accepting a position as Assistant Professor (1937-1941) and then as Associate Professor (1941-1950) at Mount Holyoke College. During her time at Mount Holyoke, she was also periodically in residence as a fellow at the American Academy of Rome. From 1950 until 1972 she was the Editor of Publications for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. In 1964 she married her colleague Benjamin D. Meritt and in 1972 they both moved to Austin to her family home. There she accepted a position as a visiting professor and scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, which she maintained until her death in 2003. She was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study and the American Institute of Archaeology, among other institutions. Her awards include the Gold Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, (1976) and honorary degrees from Brown University (1974) and Hamilton College (1994).

Throughout her life, Lucy Shoe Meritt corresponded with an extensive pool of notable scholars. In particular, her correspondence reveals consistent epistolary relationships with other early female archaeologists, especially with Dorothy Burr Thompson, Dorothy Hill, and Paola Zancani Montuoro. The bulk of her sustained correspondence, however, was with her parents, and extends from about 1910 to 1969. Her correspondence as a whole, together with the transcripts of some of her oral history tapes from the University of Texas at Austin and the diaries she kept as an undergraduate provides valuable information not only for the curious classicist, but also for the social historian.


28 boxes

Language of Materials



Lucy T. Shoe Meritt (1906- 2003) was an acclaimed archaeologist, scholar, teacher and editor who received her B.A, M.A, and Ph.D degrees from Bryn Mawr. During her life time, Shoe Meritt taught at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Texas at Austin, was a fellow at the American Academy of Rome, and served as the Editor of Publications for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Additionally, she was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study and the American Institute of Archaeology. She received the Gold Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement in 1976. The collection is largely comprised of Shoe Meritt’s correspondence with her family and notable scholars who were her contemporaries. It also includes diaries, publications, academic and professional papers, as well as photographs, postcards and scrapbooks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Lucy T. Shoe Meritt papers
?, Melissa Torquato
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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