Eve Harrison in 1991
In Memoriam: Evelyn Byrd Harrison [1920 – 2012]
Renowned art historian Evelyn Byrd (Eve) Harrison died peacefully in her New York City apartment on November 3.
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1920, Eve Harrison received her A.B. from Barnard College in 1941 and her M.A. from Columbia University in 1943, but her graduate studies were interrupted by the Second World War. Until the end of 1945, she served as a Research Analytic Specialist, translating intercepted Japanese messages for the War Department.
In 1949, she joined the staff of the ASCSA’s Athenian Agora Excavations. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1952, and a revised version of her dissertation on the portrait sculpture found in the Agora inaugurated the series The Athenian Agora: Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Her Portrait Sculpture was followed in 1965 by Archaic and Archaistic Sculpture, volume XI of The Athenian Agora.
Professor Harrison began her teaching career in 1951 at the University of Cincinnati, where she taught not only art history but also first-year Greek and Latin. After a second research position with the Agora Excavations between 1953 and 1955, she joined the faculty of the Department of Art History and Archaeology of Columbia University, where she was named full professor in 1967. Four years as Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University followed, and in 1974 she was named Edith Kitzmiller Professor of the History of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University.
She was honored for her contributions to art history and archaeology by election as an Honorary Councilor of the Archaeological Society of Athens, a member of the German Archaeological Institute, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Archaeological Institute of America recognized her lifetime of accomplishment by awarding her its Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement in 1992.
Eve Harrison was remembered by former students and colleagues at a memorial service held in New York City on November 15; their personal recollections and insights can be found here.