Bennett Correspondence now on UT ScholarWorks
A batch of correspondence from PASP’s Emmett Bennett Jr. collection are now online and accessible through the University of Texas ScholarWorks (TSW) digital repository. Like all collection material uploaded to Scholarworks, it is open access, free to the public. You don’t need an account to access collection material through Texas ScholarWorks!
The letters were scanned at a high resolution and converted to PDFs by Classics graduate students. Some PDFs, like typewritten letters, were scanned with OCR to allow users to copy and search within the documents. The correspondence follows a set of Dublin Core based metadata elements, which improves their access, searchability and organization. This metadata ensures the collection materials’ endurance in the digital realm as it can be transferred to any platform or updated to the infrastructural changes within ScholarWorks.
The Bennett Correspondence can be accessed by here:
This correspondence presents a general view of authors Bennett had professional contact with over several decades (1940s-1990s). The bulk of the letters are written between 1950 and 1965. They span a range of Linear B subjects in the years leading up to its decipherment: classification of tablets for publication (Pylos, Mycenae and Knossos), readings of tablets and ideograms, discovery of new tablets, classification and publication of tablets, and controversies surrounding the decipherment. Classicists, linguists, archaeologists, and students make up much of Bennett’s correspondents. Of particular interest are Bennett’s letters with Sir John Myres, John Chadwick, and Carl Blegen.
The bulk of the Myres letters document Bennett’s trip to Crete in 1950 and the publication of Scripta Minoa II. At the Heraklion museum in Crete, Bennett took the place of the late Alice Kober to set a classification system for the Knossos tablets based on Evans’ numeration of them. This work would be critical for the publication of Scripta Minoa Volume II. The results can be seen in Scripta Minoa Volume II in the “Concordance” pages. As Myres handwriting can be difficult in itself to decipher, we offer transcripts of these letters in plain text files. They can be accessed at the item level of each letter between Myres and Bennett. The transcriptions and metadata for Sir John Myres’ letters were completed by Amanda Rodriguez in July 2017.
A very rich source of information on the decipherment comes from John Chadwick’s letters with Bennett. Chadwick letters cover a range of subjects, like readings of tablets and their classification, publication news and reviews, and convention recaps. As Michael Ventris’s collaborator in the decipherment of Linear B, a significant yet tragic letter is Chadwick’s informing Bennett of Ventris’s death two days after Ventris’s fatal car crash. Following Ventris’s death, Chadwick would relate to Bennett his defense of Ventris’s decipherment against critics like A.J. Beattie and Ernst Grumach.
Chadwick’s letters can be accessed here
Letters between Beattie and Bennett also document a coldness between the scholars deciphering Linear B.
Bennett’s letters also bring to light the attention Kober brought to women in the archaeology field. In a letter with A. H. Hahn, Bennett investigates Kober’s biography for an article in Notable American Women, 1607 – 1950. The following response from Hahn provides more information on her efforts to uncover Kober’s life from her family and friends.
We are very excited to make these documents accessible and open access. They supply very unique information on the lives of Linear B scholars, the times they worked in, and their breakthroughs in Linear B decipherment.
Currently, as of October 2017, PASP aims to digitize the remaining Bennett correspondence and provide the same open access availability to them through Texas ScholarWorks. Correspondence between Bennett and Kober is being immediately processed by PASP Assistant Kevin Lee. These will be uploaded by November 2017.
Updated on October 26, 2017 by Garrett R. Bruner. firstname.lastname@example.org