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Professor Emeritus Robert Pounder Examines Lives of 4 Archaeologists

Professor Emeritus of Classics and Special Assistant to the President Robert Pounder will deliver a lecture entitled “Bert & Ida & Carl & Libbie: Four Lives in Archaeology” on December 11 in Taylor Hall 203 at 5:30 p.m. The lecture will reflect Pounder’s research on two married archaeologist couples, Bert Hodge Hill and Ida Thallon Hill and Carl Blegen and Elizabeth Pierce Blegen. Thallon Hill earned her bachelors and masters degrees at Vassar in 1897 and 1901 and taught Greek, Latin, and history at the College from 1905 to 1924. When she left Poughkeepsie for Athens, Greece to marry her old friend Bert Hodge Hill and to work at the American School of Classical Studies in 1924, her student Elizabeth “Libbie” Pierce (Class of 1910) went with her. Pierce married Hill’s colleague Carl Blegen. The four archaeologists lived together at 9 Plutarch Street, Athens, for the rest of their lives and were bound together by complex romantic ties.

They are as notable for their important contributions to the field of Greek archaeology as they are for their unconventional personal lives, which is what makes them so interesting to Pounder. “The talk will deal with the intertwined personal and professional lives of these people,” says Pounder, “and their individual and collective influence on the progress of archaeology in Greece in the first half of the twentieth century.” He is “slowly working on a book” about their lives, constructed from their letters and diaries in addition to his part-time role as Special Assistant to President Catharine Hill, where he focuses his efforts on fundraising. Pounder retired from teaching Classics in 2007.

December 2009

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