‣ In the 1930s, archaeologist Mary Ellingson’s work was published by her supervising male professor under his own name. Some 90 years later, Jessica Blake reports for Inside Higher Ed on how the record was finally set straight:
Ellingson, who died in 1993, taught at the University of Evansville between 1963 and 1974. She completed her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. As a student, Ellingson completed excavation work that provided unprecedented insight into domestic architecture at the site of Olynthus, an ancient Greek city on the present-day Chalcidice Peninsula. While the 1931 project was led by professor David Robinson, Ellingson’s contributions became the foundation for her master’s thesis and eventually her dissertation.
However, Robinson published both of Ellingson’s works under his name. The act of plagiarism went undetected for decades until the recent rediscovery of Ellingson’s contributions by current Evansville professor Alan Kaiser. Kaiser’s book Archaeology, Sexism, and Scandal, published in 2014, led to a petition calling for the Library of Congress to rectify the record by adding Ellingson’s name as an author.
‣ Indigenous artists Rose B. Simpson, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Jeremy Dennis sat down for a conversation in Harper’s Bazaar on the centrality of home to their work:
JD: I do landscape photography, portraiture, and staged photography. I have a personal series from 2018 called “Rise,” and it’s all about reoccupying ancestral lands. It asks, what if Indigenous people never left? What if they’d continued to maintain their footprint and witnessed the transformation of the land, the colonization, the desecration of sacred sites? I also explore home in terms of expansion and abundance rather than being confined to the reservation. That’s just one of the unfortunate realities of growing up on a reservation; there are pluses, but at the same time, many tribal members never leave the territory. It becomes a small bubble of where we’re supposed to belong. We’re supposed to be not only invisible, but also non-existent.
Now ten years later, I still wince when I think of those Anaglypta panels. But I also know that that failure forced me to confront my arrogance. As I began peeling back the layers of my personality, I began to see all of us who fail, destroy, and damage despite our best intentions—my parents, whom I had blamed, my partners, whom I’d loathed—through the eyes of a conservator—in other words, someone who understands that we are all damaged in one way or another, and seeking the source of our vulnerability is a prelude to redemption.
This personal exploration led me to write a memoir titled Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair. In it, I come to terms with my own failures while blending my family story, the history of my beleaguered birthplace, and the tenets of the conservator’s practice. The personal work is far from over. Just like with the materials of art and architecture, the tender fragments of the human heart need ongoing maintenance for a long time.
‣ For Gothamist, Arya Sundaram speaks with Palestinian residents of Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood, where the community is feeling the spike in Islamophobic violence in New York as the Israeli military continues its siege in Gaza:
At the Women’s Empowerment Coalition of NYC’s basement brownstone-turned-office space, many of the women in a recent afternoon English class shared fears about their personal safety.
One woman said she was invited to a Palestinian wedding in the city where the bride’s family requested that guests not wear a black-and-white keffiyeh, a headdress traditionally worn by men that has become a Palestinian symbol.
In the past, said Somia El-Rowmeim, the coalition’s director, women have expressed worry that their hijabs would be snatched off. El-Rowmeim said some have been told by strangers on the subway to “go home to your country.”
“Whatever happened in [the] Middle East, it’s impacted us here,” she said. “What happened in Palestine is going to impact us as a Muslim community.”
‣ Dozens of love letters written during the Seven Years’ War never reached their destination — but, as Teresa Nowakowski writes for Smithsonian Magazine, a Cambridge historian finally discovered and read them:
Written between 1757 and 1758, most of the letters came from the lovers, family and friends of those serving on the Galatée during the Seven Years’ War. Like Dubosc’s message, they never reached their intended recipients. After the ship was taken, French authorities forwarded the letters to the British, who put them in storage, likely after realizing they contained no valuable military information.
Morieux spent months decoding the stack of more than 100 letters, which were written with variable spellings, no punctuation or capitalization and text that completely covered the paper. This week, he published an analysis of his findings in the journal Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales.
“I realized I was the first person to read these very personal messages since they were written,” says Morieux in a statement. “Their intended recipients didn’t get that chance. It was very emotional.”
‣ Despite the long history of lighthouse keeping in the US, only one woman continues the practice today. Dorothy Wickenden pens a fascinating piece on the tradition’s legacy and tenuous future in the New Yorker:
In Nantasket Roads—the narrow, hazard-strewn historic main route into the harbor—we passed above the sites of scores of early shipwrecks. Gradually, a classic tableau came into view: a tapering stone tower, a white clapboard keeper’s house with green trim, a small boathouse. As we stepped ashore, Snowman cautioned, “Watch out for seagull poop. The gulls have taken over.” Unlike the forested islands along the way, Little Brewster had no trees—presumably cut down long ago, for building material and fuel. A neon-orange No Trespassing sign was planted on the lawn, and the boathouse was empty; water rats have burrowed underneath. Snowman unlocked the keeper’s house, built in 1884 near the water’s edge. In the vestibule was a wooden sign painted with a beaming lighthouse and the legend “We will leave the light on for you.”
This is not a given. The United States currently has about eight hundred and fifty lighthouses, only half of which serve as active “aids to navigation.” The rest have been made obsolete by G.P.S., or rendered untenably expensive by damage from increasingly rough weather; the active ones use automated electric lamps. In 2018, Boston Light failed a safety inspection, and the Coast Guard had what Snowman described as a “reality check.” The tours of the island that she had led were halted, and her presence there was restricted to maintenance trips, outside of storm season. On December 30th, when she retires, at seventy-two, the station will be “unmanned,” or, as she said, “unwomanned,” and the profession of lighthouse keeper will go the way of the rag-and-bone collector.
‣ This week, we also remember the internet’s favorite grandpa: Bobby Stein, who went viral in 2019 for eating paint that he mistook for yogurt in a truly unforgettable social media post by his granddaughter, passed away over the summer.
‣ In honor of the holiday rom-com season just around the corner:
‣ Ah, bookworms who want everyone to know they’re bookworms! We all have someone like this in our lives:
‣ A masterpiece; Goya would approve:
Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.