Elizabeth Pierce Blegen Papers


Collection Number: GR ASCSA EPB 002
Name(s) of Creator(s): Elizabeth Pierce Blegen (1888-1966)
Title: Elizabeth P. Blegen Papers
Date [bulk]: 1920-1960
Date [inclusive]:
Language(s): English
Quantity: 0,30 linear meter
Summary: The collection consists of Elizabeth Blegen's correspondence, her diary of activities at the ASCSA in 1924-1925; photographs and some of her watercolors. 
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Carl W. Blegen, 1971.
Information about Access: The collection has been catalogued and is available for research. 
Cite as: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Archives, Elizabeth P. Blegen Papers (Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα, Αρχείο Elizabeth P. Blegen)
Notes: The collection was processed by Lizabeth Ward Papageorgiou.

For more information, please contact the ARCHIVES at:
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens
54 Souidias Street
Athens 106 76, Greece
Phone: 213 000 2400 (ext. 425)


Elizabeth Denny Pierce was born on 26 June 1888 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She attended Vassar College, 1906-1910, and in 1912 was awarded an MA in Latin. At Vassar, her interest in Greek archaeology was awakened by Ida Thallon (Hill), who would become her life-long friend. Elizabeth continued her education at Columbia, 1912-1915, and completed her PhD in 1922 with a dissertation on the Roman Consul and historian, G. Asinius Pollio. Between 1915 and 1922, she taught art history at Vassar and was assistant curator at the Vassar Art Gallery. In 1921 Elzabeth traveled to Greece with Ida Thallon and, in 1922-23, she attended the annual program at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Elizabeth was offered several positions between 1922 and 1924. Gisela M. A. Richter invited her to intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although she did not accept the position, she did spend the spring of 1924 working for Richter at the Met. Edward Capps, chairman of the ASCSA Managing Committee, also asked her to serve as the School’s Secretary or Dean of Women, but she also declined this offer. In the summer of 1924, Elizabeth married Carl Blegen, and Ida married Bert Hodge Hill. In 1929, the Blegens and Hills took up residence at 9 Ploutarchou. During the decades the two couples resided on Ploutarchou Street, the house was a gathering place for archaeologists and students of all nationalities where ideas and discoveries were exchanged over tea or dinner.

Elizabeth excavated with Carl Blegen at Prosymna, Troy, and Pylos, cataloguing finds and contributing chapters, bibliographies, and indices to the publications of these sites. She also worked with Bert Hodge Hill in Cyprus. From 1925 to 1952, Elizabeth Blegen wrote the “Newsletter from Greece” for the American Journal of Archaeology. Her summaries of excavation activities, highly regarded by her fellow archaeologists, depended on the trust excavators had in her to describe their work. In 1963, she bequeatthed the family's house on Ploutarchou Street to the American School of Classical Studies.

Elizabeth Blegen died 21 September 1966. She is buried in the Protestant section of the First Cemetery of Athens.


Although this is a small collection of Elizabeth Pierce Blegen’s correspondence and varia, it includes a number of interesting items: Carl Blegen’s 1923 courtship letters and some later letters describing his work at Pylos; letters from Edward Capps, Bert Hodge Hill, Grace MacCurdy, Gisela M. A. Richter, and Alan Wace; Elizabeth’s will and the bequest of the 9 Ploutarchou property to the ASCSA; her diary of activities, as the wife of the ASCSA Assistant Director in 1924-1925; photographs, and some of her watercolors.


BOX 1 Personal Correspondence

Folder 1:  Carl Blegen (shipboard & Athens) (4 – 28 February 1923)

Folder 2: Carl Blegen (shipboard & Athens) (3 – 31 March, 1923)

Folder 3: Carl Blegen (Athens) (1 – 20 April, 1923)

Folder 4: Carl Blegen (2 May 1923 and nd)

Folder 5: Carl Blegen (1939-1955)
Including telegram announcing discovery of Palace of Nestor (1939)

Folder 6: Carl Blegen (1957-1964)

Folder 7: Avery, Myrtilla (1923)
Berry, -?- Packer/Parker(?) (nd)
Capps, Edward (nd)
Dunham, D-?- (1927)
Emery, Babs (1961)
French(?), Lisa Wace(?) (nd)
Hill, Bert Hodge (1923-1956)
Hill, Priscilla Capps (1961)
Macurdy, Grace (1927)
Lewey(?) (nd)
Meritt, Lucy Shoe to Elizabeth Langridge-Noti (1997)
O’Neil, Joanie (1964)
Perry, Arthur & Emilie (1963)
Richter, Gisela M. A. (1923)
Thayer, Appie & Anne (1961)
Thomas, Winifred (1963)
Wace, Alan (1939-1947)
Wyman, Frances S., Mrs. (nd)
Unknown (1939-1962)

BOX 2 Correspondence and Miscellaneous Items

Folder 1: Associations
Columbia University (1910-1966)
(Greek) National Archaeological Museum (1939)

Folder 2: Business
Adams & Peck (Stockbroker): Correspondence (1957-1966)
Adams & Peck (Stockbroker): Financial Statements
Car Insurance and Registration (1929-1963)
Lake Placid Club (1964)
Penguin Books, Ltd. (1956)
Ύπουργείον Βιομηχανίας (1952)

Folder 3: Will
Will of Elizabeth Pierce Blegen (1958-1963)
Elizabeth Pierce Blegen’s Deed of Gift to ASCSA (and thank you notes) (1963)
~ see also Adams & Peck

Folder 4: Diary
“American School, Athens Official Diary 1924-1925 Kept by E. D. B.”

Folder 5: Photographs
Lake Placid(?) with negatives (not labeled)
“Eliz. Blegen & Ida Thallon” (nd)
Travel in Greece (some are labeled) (1923)
“A Picnic on the Hellespont” (nd)
Elizabeth Pierce Blegen shipboard (nd)
Vassar (1912)
Portrait photo (nd)

Folder 6: Watercolors (1938-1951)
Elizabeth Pierce Blegen’s Book Plate

Folder 7: Blegen House at Ploutarchou 9
Remodelling in 1929 (sketch plans, photos and negatives)

Folder 8: Blegen House at Ploutarchou 9
Maintenance (these documents were given to us by E.L.I.A in 2012)