Machteld J. Mellink papers
Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010
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 their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Machteld Johanna Mellink, celebrated archaeologist and professor of archaeology at Bryn Mawr College from 1949 to 1988, was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1917. She received her BA in 1938 and MA in 1941 from the University of Amsterdam, and her PhD from the University of Utrecht in 1943.
During World War II, Mellink actively worked for the Dutch resistance movement, "forging documents to save lives, risking her own," (Özgen, p. 2). After the war, she moved to the United States and became Resident Scholar in Classical Archaeology and Marion Reilly Fellow of the International Federation of University Women at Bryn Mawr College in 1946-1947. During the summer of 1947, Mellink worked at the University of Chicago under a Ryerson Grant. In 1947, she joined the excavation directed by Hetty Goldman, a 1903 Bryn Mawr graduate, at Tarsus in Cilicia (Turkey), in which she participated until 1949. "While in Tarsus, she received the invitation to join the faculty of Bryn Mawr College," (Özgen, p. 2) thus starting her illustrious teaching career which continued until 1988. She served as chairman of the Archaeology Department from 1955 to 1983. Through her initiatives, the program expanded to include Near Eastern Archaeology in 1959, and sponsored excavations in Turkey, Italy and Greece. In 1972, she received the Leslie Clark Chair in the Humanities and, in 1975 she earned Bryn Mawr's Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. She served as Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science in the academic year 1979-1980. Mellink retired from teaching in 1988, but remained Professor Emerita in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology until shortly before her passing in 2006.
As an archaeologist, Mellink was a major participant in the excavation of ancient Gordion sponsored by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania from 1950 to 1965. In 1963, Mellink began excavation of a prehistoric site near Elmalı, Turkey for Bryn Mawr College, where she carried out and supervised conservation, display, research and publication of the finds, which included two remarkable painted tombs of the sixth to fifth centuries B.C. It was during this excavation that Mellink became involved in protecting excavation sites from looting as well advocating "for international controls over the traffic in illegally obtained antiquities," (Özgen, p. 5). One of her many contributions to the field of archaeology is "Archaeology in Anatolia," a yearly report written for the American Journal of Archaeology from 1955 until the late 1990s.
In addition to her work at Bryn Mawr and in Turkey, Mellink served as president of the American Research Institute in Turkey from 1988 to 1991, president of the Archaeological Institute of America from 1980 to 1984, and trustee of the American Society of Oriental Research. She also served as a member of the American Philosophical Society, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and as a Research Associate of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. She was a corresponding member of the Turkish Institute of History, the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, the German Archaeological Institute, and the Austrian Archaeological Institute, as well as many other international archaeological societies.
For her work, she was awarded an honorary LL.D. from University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and an honorary doctorate of History from the University of Eskiş-ehir. She was named Senior American Excavator in 1984 and Senior Foreign Archaeologist in 1985 by the Ministry of Culture of Turkey. Mellink was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement by the Archaeological Institute in 1991 and the University of Pennsylvania Museum's Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal for Archaeological Achievement in 1994. The Archaeological Institute established the Machteld Mellink Lecture in Near Eastern Archaeology in 2001. Mellink died on February 23, 2006 at the age of 88. According to Ilknur Özgen, "she combined class-room teaching with training in the field … her disciplined but patient teaching and advising has produced generations of scholars who are now in leading positions of the field literally around the globe" (Özgen, p. 2). The Archaeological Institute of America Bulletin described her as "archaeologist, educator, administrator, author, editor, 'Dean' of American excavators in Turkey, preeminent scholar of Anatolian cultures, and tireless defender of the 'the Record of the Past' and ethics in archaeology," (Archaeological Institute of American Bulletin). Indeed, "throughout her career, she succeeded in her characteristic matter-of-fact manner to combine first rate, meticulous scholarship with diligent, inspiring and generous teaching while at the same time taking on demanding administrative responsibilities … she stands out as one of the few who excelled in combining active field-work with a steady output of publications [and] because of her commitment to the ethics of the field, a domain where she set international standards," (Özgen, p. 1).
Archaeological Institute of America Bulletin, "Twenty-Seventh Annual Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement," Vol. 83, 1991-1992, pages 2-3.
Greenwalt, Crawford H. Jr., "Machteld Johanna Mellink, 1917-2006," American Journal of Archaeology 111 (2007): 553-558.
Özgen, Ilknur and Asli Ozyar. "Machteld Johanna Mellink (October 26, 1917-February 24, 2006)."
Pearce, Jeremy. "Machteld J. Mellink, 88, Archaeologist, Dies." The New York Times. March 6, 2006.
Ridgway, Brunilde. Biography for Event honoring Machteld Mellink and Mabel Lang at the time of their retirement, 1988.
The Machteld Mellink papers cover Professor Mellink's academic and archaeological career from the late 1950s to the early 2000s. Included in the collection are her writings and notes, photographs, publications, and a few excavation tools. Researchers interested in Mellink's academic career, as well as her work related to excavation sites such as Kızılbel, Tarsus, and Sardis, will find valuable information in this collection. However, this collection does not provide particularly strong insight into archaeological history, nor Professor Mellink's thought process when approaching archaeological issues. Instead, this collection is mostly comprised of lecture notes, manuscripts of writings, organizational material, and works sent to Mellink by colleagues in the field.
The collection contains twenty series, including: "Series I: Awards;" "Series II: Bryn Mawr College;" "Series III: Correspondence;" "Series IV: Edith Porada;" "Series V: Elizabeth Simpson;" "Series VI: Excavations;" "Series VII: Hetty Goldman;" "Series VIII: News Clippings;" "Series IX: Organizations and Institutions;" "Series X: Personal Material;" "Series XI: Photographs and Graphic Materials;" "Series XII: Professional Events;" "Series XIII: Projects;" "Series XIV: Subject and Research Files;" "Series XV: Travel;" "Series XVI: Troy;" "Series XVII: Writings by Machteld Mellink;" "Series XVIII: Writings by Others;" "Series XIX: Writings-Unattributed;" and finally, "Series XX: Miscellaneous material found in the collection." The collection came to Bryn Mawr in a variety of folders, envelopes, and other enclosures. Folder titles were taken from these enclosures and used extensively. Due to a number of different languages and Mellink's unique handwriting, folder titles may not be entirely accurate.
The "Series I: Awards" series contains two awards given to Mellink during her career. The first is an award given by the nation of Turkey to commemorate Mellink's contribution to their archaeological history in 1973. The second is the Christian R. and Mary Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching at Bryn Mawr College. The "Series II: Bryn Mawr College" series is divided into two subseries: "Courses," and "Collected Material." The "Courses" subseries contains lecture notes on different archaeological subjects assembled by Mellink for her courses taught at Bryn Mawr. The "Series III: Collected Material" subseries contains bulletins, course catalogs, and correspondence related to her position at Bryn Mawr, covering the years of 1938 to 1996. The "Correspondence" series contains letters written to and from her colleagues and friends. These are listed in alphabetical order by the individual correspondent or institution. There are also several folders containing correspondence with unidentified individuals, which are organized by the date of the letter. Postcards, invitations, and stationary are found throughout the series. The "Series IV: Edith Porada" series contains biographical material and notes related to Mellink's archaeological colleague, Edith Porada, an archaeologist at Columbia University. The "Series V: Elizabeth Simpson" series contains material related to Mellink's colleague Elizabeth Simpson, professor at the Bard Graduate Center. This series included some of Simpson's writings on furniture from Gordion, as well as some excavation notes. The "Series VI: Excavations" series is one of the strengths of the collection, containing Mellink's notes, writings, and sketches of various archaeological sites across Turkey from 1966 to 1998. Included in this series is material related to Boğazköy (Hattusha), Sardis, and Tarsus sites. The "Series VII: Hetty Goldman" series contains material related to the professional and personal relationship between Machteld Mellink and her close colleague, Hetty Goldman (1881-1972) an archaeologist who worked extensively in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey, and with whom Mellink worked at Tarsus. Goldman earned her A.B. in English and Greek from Bryn Mawr College in 1903, her M.A. from Radcliffe College in 1910 and her Ph.D. from Radcliffe College in 1916. In 1936, Goldman became the first female professor at the School of Humanistic Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Included in this collection is correspondence written by Hetty Goldman from 1947 to 1972. Also within this series are Hetty Goldman's diaries from 1900 to the 1930s. The "Series VIII: News Clippings" series is comprised of articles and clippings from various newspapers from 1959 to 1993. Most of these clippings relate to new archaeological discoveries, as well as reports of looting from various excavation sites. The "Series IX: Organizations and Institutions" series covers Mellink's involvement in many archaeological organizations and institutions from 1970 to 1998. Mellink was heavily involved in the Archaeological Institute of America, the American Journal of Archaeology, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the American Research Institute in Turkey, which are all well represented in this series. The "Series X: Personal Material" series contains calendars, keepsakes, resumes, material related to Mellink's retirement from Bryn Mawr College, a telephone book, and excavation tools belonging to Mellink. The keepsakes in this series include postcards and pins. "Series XI: Photographs and Graphic Materials" contains images from the 1950s through 1998. "Photographs" includes photos, slides, and negatives of Machteld Mellink, excavations, and events throughout her life. "Graphic Materials" includes drawings and prints of sites and were collected by Mellink. Throughout her career, Mellink attended numerous archaeological events that are detailed in the "Series XII: Professional Events" series. Within this series is material related to and from colloquia, conferences, lectures, seminars, and symposia, as well as invitations and announcements. The events in this series are from 1962 to 1998. The "Series XIII: Projects" series contains material relating to various projects Mellink worked on and observed, such as Ayia Irini on Keos in Greece in 1983 and the Tigris area in 1990. Also included in this series are applications and excavation material. "Series XIV: Subject and Research Files" is a sizeable series containing Mellink's handwritten and typed notes along with material she collected regarding her research, writings, and interests. Files within this series include subjects and topics such as radiocarbon dating, Sardis, Tarsus, underwater archaeology, Phrygia, and Egypt and Mesopotamia. Also within this series are notes arranged by date, as well as Mellink's hand-written card file bibliography. Mellink travelled the world for much of her career, and evidence of her travels can be found in the "Series XV: Travel" series. Within "Travel" are boarding passes, tickets, maps, souvenirs, and postcards. The "Series XVI: Troy" series holds notes, correspondence, lecture material, photographs, and reports relating to the archaeological site of Troy in Turkey from the 1980s to 1998. She both worked on and observed the excavations at this site. Also found within this series are Mellink's notes and research regarding archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890). The series "Series XVII: Writings by Machteld Mellink" holds Mellink's notes, drafts, and manuscripts from many of her writings including her "Archaeology in Anatolia" series from the American Journal of Archaeology, Elmalı-Karataş II, and Kızılbel. While the bulk of the dates in this series range from 1959 to 1998, there are various undated documents. "Series XVIII: Writings by Others" and "Writings-Unattributed" hold works that Mellink reviewed, contributed to, collected and read. "Writings by Others" includes writings by archaeologists Halet Çambel, Sevim Buluç, Mehmet Özdoğan, Raci Temizer, and Malcolm Wiener. Materials in this series are also listed by title, when the author's name could not be identified. "Series XIX: Writings-Unattributed" contains works that were either unsigned or could not be ascribed at this time to an author. Titles in this series include Burdur, Oriental Relations, and Didyma. The final series in the collection is the "Series XX: Miscellaneous" series. This series contains material that is purely miscellaneous and could not be placed within one of the abovementioned series. Items include magazines, unidentified documents, and other material.
This is a fascinating collection for researchers studying Machteld Mellink herself, as well as the role of women in archaeology, and the field of archaeology generally in the mid to late 20th century. Mellink was described in her 2006 obituary in the New York Times as "an archaeologist and authority on ancient sites in Turkey, who became a forceful voice for ending the international trafficking of looted antiquities." Her impact and work is clearly evident in this collection through photographs and writings that illustrate her life's work.
Pearce, Jeremy. "Machteld J. Mellink, 88, Archaeologist, Dies." The New York Times. March 6, 2006.
Bequest of Machteld J. Mellink.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
- American School of Classical Studies at Athens
- University of Pennsylvania. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
- United States Information Agency
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- American Research Center in Egypt
- American Research Institute in Turkey
- Women in education
- Excavations (Archaeology)
- Sardis (Extinct city)
- Archaeological expeditions
- Archaeology -- History
- Bryn Mawr College
- Finding Aid Author
- Leslie O'Neill and Forrest Wright, Lorett Treese, Melissa Torquato
- Finding Aid Date
- 2010 February 17
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
In this series, researchers will find lecture notes and other papers related to classes taught by Machteld Mellink during her tenure as Professor at Bryn Mawr.
These two folders contain assorted, but unidentified material related to Bryn Mawr College.
Materials within "Keepsakes" were already contained within two small boxes, therefore have been placed in a separate box to preserve and maintain order.