Breaking Ground, Breaking Tradition First Generation of Women Archaeologists

Agnes Newhall Stillwell (1906-1957)

After graduating in 1927 from Bryn Mawr, Agnes Newhall went to Greece to participate in the academic program of the American School of Classical Studies. She remained there until 1935 on a series of fellowships. In 1929, at the age of 23, she was invited by Rhys Carpenter to begin directing the excavation of an area in Corinth that turned out to be the Potters' Quarter (Dorothy Burr Thompson wrote, in a review of Volume Two of the final publication, that"...everyone envied her good fortune and awaited the results with eager curiosity"). In 1932, Newhall married the director of the ASCSA, Richard Stillwell, and accompanied him when he took a position at Princeton University, where she undertook her important three-volume publication of the material, The Potters' Quarter (Corinth vol. 15), the last volume of which appeared after her death.

Mary Zelia Pease Philippides (1906-2009)

Mary Zelia Pease was a member of the Bryn Mawr class of 1927 and received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1933. She was a long-time scholar of Greek vase painting, and brought that interest to bear at Bryn Mawr as the first organizer of the exhibits of the Ella Riegel Museum. After first attending the American School of Classical Studies on a fellowship from Bryn Mawr in 1927-1928, she held fellowships in archaeology from the School and was a member of the Agora Excavations staff in 1933-1934. Mary Zelia Philippides later became the first professional librarian of the Blegen Library of the ASCSA (1958-1971) while continuing to work on material from the Agora. Her dissertation was published as a fascicule of Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum in 1942, and she was a co-author of Attic Black-Figured Pottery (Athenian Agora vol. 23). In 2006, at the age of 100, she was present at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Agora Excavations, the last of the original staff members of the excavation.