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Mary Hamilton Swindler papers


This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Bryn Mawr College
Swindler, Mary Hamilton, 1884-1967
Mary Hamilton Swindler papers
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
10.5 Linear feet
Born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1884, Mary Hamilton Swindler graduated from the University of Indiana in 1905 and received her master's degree from the same university in 1906. Swindler first came to Bryn Mawr College in 1906 as a graduate scholar in Greek. From 1912 until 1949 she taught Archaeology and Classics at the college. The collection consists of loose correspondence received from the Archaeology Department, scrapbooks and notebooks, miscellaneous correspondence and manuscript drafts.
Cite as:
Mary Hamilton Swindler papers, Record Group 3H, College Archives, Bryn Mawr College, Special Collections.
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Mary Hamilton Swindler first came to Bryn Mawr College in 1906 as a graduate scholar in Greek. From 1912 until 1949 she taught Archaeology and Classics at the college, a role in which she inspired many students to enter to field, including Dorothy Burr Thompson (class of 1923) and Lucy Shoe Meritt (class of 1927). Swindler is also known for having spent 14 years as editor of the American Journal of Archaeology, and having written the well received and influential book Ancient Painting.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1884, Swindler graduated from the University of Indiana in 1905 and received her master's degree from the same university in 1906. Her fellowship at Bryn Mawr lasted from 1906 until 1909 when the Mary E. Garrett European Fellowship permitted her to study at Oxford, the University of Berlin, and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She also traveled to Greece and Crete.

From 1910 to 1912 Swindler taught Latin at the Shipley School and the Wright School and served as acting dean of women at the University of Indiana during the summers of 1911 and 1913. Swindler received her PhD. from Bryn Mawr College in 1912. Her teaching career at Bryn Mawr began in 1912 with positions as Reader in Latin and Demonstrator in Archaeology. She became professor of Classical Archaeology in 1931. Swindler introduced the major in archaeology at Bryn Mawr, organized the excavation of Tarsus, and founded the college's Ella Riegel Memorial Museum.

Swindler spent fifteen years researching her book Ancient Painting, which was published in 1929. She planned a second major work to be titled The Beginning of Greek Art, but never finalized her manuscript. He editorship of the American Journal of Archaeology lasted from 1932 to 1946 and is said to have transformed the journal into a more professional periodical with more field coverage. She was also well known as a lecturer.

Upon her retirement in 1949, she was appointed research fellow at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and also taught at the University of Michigan. She died in 1967.

For more information see "Exploring Ancient Worlds: The Life of Mary Hamilton Swindler," by Catherine E. Forrest Weber published in the journal Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Spring 2005, pps. 6-11.

Scope and Contents

Loose correspondence received from the Archaeology Department is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The scrapbooks, apparently assembled by Swindler herself, also contain much correspondence. She arranged these materials chronologically and they document the key events of her life.

Often riddled with handwritten edits, Swindler's manuscripts cover a variety of topics. Most do not indicate whether they were drafts for articles or lectures. They have been arranged by title, or topic when untitled. What are believed to be the latest drafts of The Beginning of Greek Art are housed in folders 26 and 27 in Box 3.

Personal materials and information relating to Swindler's various awards are among the items that have resided the longest in the college archives. Miscellaneous correspondence relating to her academic posts was added in 2005, as were the "notes on cards." These are notes in Swindler's hand transcribed on sheets of cardboard that Swindler obtained from male members of the faculty, who saved them for her when they had their shirts professionally laundered. Swindler's students are said to have found this amusing.

Even Sarah Immerwahr who donated them was uncertain as to the purose of Swindler's notebooks. However, when contacted in 2005, she guessed that they had been collections of material that Swindler might have intended someday to use for articles, lectures, or other projects. They are organized by topic. Eleven notebooks are untitled and contain miscellaneous information.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Bryn Mawr College

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Lorett Treese, Melissa Torquato

Revision Description

Reviewed for MARC record. 2014 July 17

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Mary Hamilton Swindler papers are the physical property of Bryn Mawr College's Special Collections department. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Custodial History note

Materials in the collection were received by the college archives in stages over the course of several years. Most of the personal materials and scrapbooks have been in the college archives since the early 1970s, provenance unknown. During the 1990s a faculty member, possibly Machteld Mellink, delivered what she believed to be the latest version of Swindler's unpublished manuscript: The Beginning of Greek Art. In 2000 Swindler's student and friend Sarah Immerwahr mailed the notebooks to the college without accompanying documentation. The remainder of the materials (manuscripts, correspondence, and other drafts of the unfinished book) were stored in the Archaeology Department for many years after having been removed from Arnecliffe, where Swindler resided for some time. These materials were organized during the summer of 2005 and received by the college archives where the entire collection was reorganized and rehoused.

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Controlled Access Headings

Geographic Name(s)
  • Greece
Personal Name(s)
  • Swindler, Mary Hamilton, 1884-1967
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology and history
  • Archaeology--History
  • Bryn Mawr College-- Alumni and alumnae.
  • Education.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Correspondence and Scrapbooks.

Box Folder

Alphabetized Miscellaneous Correspondence.

1 1

Miscellaneous Correspondence without Correspondents' Surnames or with Illegible Surnames.

1 2

Letters and Telegrams of Congratulations on Swindler's Eightieth Birthday.

1 3

Scrapbook Volume One.


Scrapbook Volume Two.


Scrapbook Volume Three.


Scrapbook Volume Four.


Scrapbook Volume Five.


Scrapbook Volume Six.


Series II. Typed Manuscripts.

Box Folder

Ancient Pottery.

2 1

Archaeology at Bryn Mawr.

2 2

Archaeological Discoveries in Greece during the War [WWII].

2 3

Art of the Prehistoric Hunter.

2 4

Attic Black Figure Vases.

2 5

The Cretan Tomb.

2 6

Cretan Sculpture and Related Monuments of the VIIth Century B.C.

2 7

Delos and the Birthplace of Apollo.

2 8


2 9

[Re: Dorians] Untitled.

2 10


2 11

Excavations at Seleucia on the Tigris, Seaons 1936-37.

2 12

The Goddess with Upraised Arms.

2 13

Greek Sculpture.

2 14

Horace and the Art of His Age.

2 15

Horsehead Amphorae.

2 16

Indiana University Commencement Address, 1941.

2 17

Interior Decorations at Pompeii and the Greek Painters who Inspired Them.

2 18


2 19

Jewelry: Pins.

2 20

Late Geometric.

2 21

New Archaeological Discoveries.

2 22

New Archaeological Worlds to Conquer.

2 23


2 24

New Discoveries at Delphi and Olympia.

2 25


2 26


2 27

[Poems, presumably by Swindler].

2 28

The Prehistoric and Regal Periods in Italy.

2 29

Problems Connected with the Parthenon and Certain Earlier Structures on the Acropolis.

2 30

Proto Attic Pottery.

2 31

A Reconnaissance of Turkish Sites of the Eighth and Seventh Centuries.

2 32

Seminar I [re: Greek Art].

2 33


2 34


2 35

State of Archaeology During and After Wold War II.

2 36


2 37

Thirty Years of Archaeology at Bryn Mawr.

2 38

What is New and Significant in Archaeology.

2 39

Series III. Manuscript-The Beginnings of Greek Art.

Box Folder

Table of Contents.

3 1

Working Sheets Chapter I (recent).

3 2

Old Ch. I (superceded?) MJM.

3 3

Ch. I superceded.

3 4

Preface Chapater I [This folder also contains a critique of the chapter possibly written by Sara Immerwahr.].

3 5

Bibliography-Early & Myc Chapter I [This folder also contains a critique of the chapter possibly written by Sara Immerwahr.].

3 6

Chapter II and Ch. III BK-Dupl Ms [appears to be Chapter II, preface and two pages of Chapter I, also some miscellaneous notes.].

3 7

Chapter II, Copy 3, Inc.

3 8

Chapter II pre final stage.

3 9

Chapter II final version MJM pp. 32-39.

3 10

Chapter II carbon of final stage complete & critique [This folder also contains a critique of the chapter possibly written by Sara Immerwahr.].

3 11

III [Appears to be rough draft and notes for Chapter III.].

3 12

Old IV.

3 13

Ch. IV End missing to ms.

3 14

Ch. V, p. 128 missing.

3 15

Ch. VI.

3 16

Old VII.

3 17

Ch. VII.

3 18


3 19

[Originally housed in unmarked envelope. Appears to be drafts of Chapter VIII and miscellaneous notes.].

3 20

Ch. IX [multiple drafted copies].

3 21

[Comments on Ch IX by Sara Immerwahr].

3 22

Ch IX (revised ed.).

3 23

Duplicate Ch IX.

3 24


3 25

[Chapters 1, 4, 7, 8, latest version?].

3 26

[Chapters 2, 9, 3, 1, latest version?].

3 27


3 28

Series IV. Biographical Notes, Personal Materials, Notes.

Box Folder

CV and Biographical Information.

4 1

Dissertation: Cretan Elements in the Cults and Ritual of Apollo.

4 2

Personal Address Books.

4 3

Passports, Visas and Miscellaneous Travel Documents.

4 4

Re: Award, Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

4 5

Re: Award, American Council of Learned Societies.

4 6

Re: Bryn Mawr College Citation for Distinguished Service.

4 7

Presentation Album: Names of Recipients of Swindler Scholarship Fund.

4 8

Academic Posts, Bryn Mawr College.

4 9

Academic Posts, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.

4 10

Academic Posts, American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

4 11

Academic Posts, Other Institutions.

4 12

Miscellaneous Photos [those stored in separate bag had been stored separately and identified as "Petra."].

4 13


4 14

Notes on Cards: Cave Painting.

4 15

Notes on Cards: Cycladic Art.

4 16

Notes on Cards: Chronology, part 1.

4 17

Notes on Cards: Chronology, part 2.

4 18

Notes on Cards: Egypt.

4 19

Notes on Cards: Troy.

4 20

Two Undated Travel Diaries with Miscellaneous Notes.

4 21

Series V. Notebooks.


Box 5-Titled Notebooks.


Box 6-Titled Notebooks.


Box 7-Untitled Notebooks.