Deman, Esther B.
1898 - 1930
Esther Van Deman was born in 1862 in South Salem, Ohio from Joseph Van Deman and Martha Millspaugh. Following her studies at the College of Emporia (Kansas), she obtained a B.A. in 1891 and a M.A. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1892.
After teaching Latin at Wellesley College and the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland, she received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1898. She then taught Latin at Mount Holyoke College (1898-1901).
Esther Van Deman arrived in Rome for the first time in 1901 to study Roman construction techniques. She was the first woman admitted at the American School of Classical Studies to carry out research on the Vestals, a topic central to her interests.
In the Eternal City she emerged as the first female archaeologist working alongside pioneers of the discipline, including Giacomo Boni, Christian Hülsen, and Thomas Ashby. As Rome was developing its identity as the new Italian capital, Van Deman actively contributed to the shift in archeology away from its previously antiquarian methods toward a more scientific, systematic approach.
Van Deman taught herself the art of photography and found a passionate fellow photographer in the British archaeologist Thomas Ashby, with whom she undertook the study of Roman aqueducts.
As a Carnegie Fellow from 1906 to 1910 [and Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Rome in 1909], she continued her study of Roman building materials and techniques. From 1910 to 1925, she was an associate of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. and between 1925 and 1930, she taught Roman archaeology at the University of Michigan. In 1936 she received the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Michigan.
Except for these periods in America to teach and lecture, she stayed in Rome, where she died on May 3, 1937 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery near Porta Ostiense.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The collection includes selected photographs produced by Esther Van Deman and by other archaeologists and photographers.
ARRANGEMENT AND PROCESSING INFORMATION
The 380 photographic prints were not included in the original inventory.
All the vintage prints are preserved in single acid-free paper envelopes, vertically stored in acid-free box. The entire collection has been digitized.
The Collection of 2.727 photographs taken by Esther Van Deman during archaeological surveys in Rome and study trips in Europe, Italy, and North Africa between 1898 and 1930. These images have been all inventoried by Esther Van Deman.
The Van Deman Notes Collection composed of 7,105 handwritten notes, clippings, postcards and two albums.
380 photographic prints (various format) not included in the original VD inventory
The Photographic Archive is open by appointment.
Contact Photo Archive
Requests for commercial use and high resolution images and other professional services must be sent to the Academy's Photo Archive.
American Academy in Rome
Via Angelo Masina, 5B