My dear Miss Ransom: Letters between Caroline Ransom Williams and James Henry Breasted, 1898-1935
edited by Kathleen L. Sheppard. vi+310 pages; 5 black & white plates, 1 colour plate. 399 2018 Archaeological Lives
. Available both in printed and e-versions.
Printed ISBN 9781784917821. £24.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784917838. £16.00 (Exc. VAT) Institutional Price £24.00 (Exc. UK VAT)
Caroline Louise Ransom Williams (1872-1952) is remembered as the first American university-trained female Egyptologist, but she is not widely-known in the history of science. Her mentor was James Henry Breasted, well-known as the first American Egyptologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. As long as they worked together and as much as they depended on each other professionally, Ransom Williams is little more than a footnote in the published history of archaeology. She was a successful scholar, instructor, author, and museum curator. She also had personal struggles with her mother and her husband that affected the choices she could make about her career. This book presents the correspondence between Ransom Williams and Breasted because the letters are crucial in piecing together and allowing an in-depth analysis of her life and career.
The written conversation, comprised of 240 letters between the two, shows that Ransom Williams had a full life and productive career as the first American female Egyptologist. Through these letters, we see part of a life that is unique while at the same time analogous to other professional women in the period. This edition is the first book-length discussion of Ransom Williams’ life and career.
About the Editor
DR. KATHLEEN SHEPPARD is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri S&T in Rolla, Missouri, USA. She received her PhD in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Her research focuses on the history of Egyptology in the US and in the UK, and especially women's roles in the discipline. She finds that telling the life stories of women in Egyptology is not only interesting, but it is also crucial to fully understanding the founding and development of the discipline. In her spare time, she is a mom, wife, and Ironman triathlete.