Hawes, Harriet Boyd, 1871-1945

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Smith College, Class of 1892. Smith College, M.A., 1901. Taught Greek archaeology at Smith College, 1900-1906. Married Charles Henry Hawes, 1906. Director, Smith College Relief Unit in France, 1917-1918. Weslesley College, lecturer in Ancient Art, 1920-1936.

From the description of Harriet Boyd Hawes papers, 1871-1945. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 51171637

Harriet Boyd Hawes was born on October 11, 1871 in Boston, Massachusetts. She was educated at the Prospect Hill School in Greenfield and graduated from Smith College in 1892 with a degree in classics. Hawes always felt a deep love for Greece and a strong desire to understand its culture and history. She studied at the American School at Athens from 1896-97 and the next year became a Fellow there. While in Greece, she learned that the Greeks (who were in the midst of the first Greco-Turkish War) had no nursing supplies and with support from the Queen of Greece soon became a nursing volunteer. Several years later she was decorated by the Queen for her contributions.

Hawes soon became well known not only for her volunteer work but also for her expertise in the field of archaeology. For four months in the spring of 1900, she led an excavation at Kavousi, Crete during which she discovered houses and tombs from the Geometric period (900 BC). During another excavation less than a year later in Gournia, Crete, she discovered a Mycenaean provincial town and later published a book entitled, Crete: the Forerunner of Greece .

Hawes accepted a position at Smith College teaching Greek archaeology in 1900 and received her M.A. from Smith in 1901. She taught at Smith until 1905 interspersing her time there with frequent trips abroad for archaeological excursions. During one trip to Crete, she met Charles Henry Hawes, an English anthropologist and archeologist who later became the associate director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. They were married on March 3, 1906 and nine months later their son, Alexander Boyd Hawes was born. A daughter, Mary Nesbit Hawes followed in August of 1910. By this time Charles was teaching at Dartmouth and the family was living in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Despite her commitment to her family, Hawes remained active in both humanities and her field of archaeology. In 1910, Hawes received an honorary degree from Smith College. She traveled to Corfu in 1915 for a year to work extensively with the Serbian Army. In 1916, she helped the wounded in France and a year later she founded and was the first director of the Smith College Relief Unit in France. She held this title for three years during which time she worked as a nurse's aide at the YMCA.

In 1920, the Hawes' moved to Cambridge and Harriet joined the faculty at Wellesley lecturing on Ancient Art. When Charles retired in 1936, the couple moved to Washington D.C. where Harriet remained after her husband died. She died on March 31, 1945.

  • 1871: Born Boston, Massachusetts, October 11
  • 1892 - 96 : Teacher of Classics, schools in North Carolina and Delaware
  • 1892: Graduated from Smith College
  • 1896: Graduate work, American School of Classical Studies, Athens
  • 1897: Nurse and relief worker in Thessaly with Greek Army, Greco-Turkish War
  • 1898 - 99 : Fellow of American School of Classical Studies, Athens
  • 1898: Nurse Spanish-American War in Tampa, Florida - Summer
  • 1899 - 00 : Agnes Hoppin Memorial Fellow, Bryn Mawr College
  • 1900: Excavation at Kavousi, Crete - May-June
  • 1900 - 06 : Part-time Instructor, Smith College in Archaeology, Epigraphy and modern Greek
  • 1901 - 04 : Director of excavations of the American Exploration Society - Gournia, Crete, Assisted by Blanche Emily Wheeler 1892.
  • 1901: M.A. Smith College
  • 1902: First woman invited to address the Societies of the Archaeological Institute of American
  • 1906: Married Charles Henry Hawes
  • 1910: Awarded Doctor of Humane Letters, Smith College
  • 1915 - 16 : Established hospital for wounded and ill on Corfu for Serbian army - World War I
  • 1917 - 18 : Organizer and first Director of Smith College Relief Unit in France - World War I
  • 1918 - 20 : Nurse's aid with YMCA at American Hospital, Longchamps - World War I
  • 1920 - 36 : Lecturer in Ancient Art, Wellesley College
  • 1933: Sued by A.R. Hyde and Son, for damages resulting from her involvement in company strike
  • 1938: Traveled to Czechoslovakia during take-over of Sudetenland, detained by German authorities
  • 1945: Died March 31, Washington, D.C.

From the guide to the Harriet Boyd Hawes Papers RG 42., 1888-1967, (Smith College Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hawes, Harriet Boyd, 1871-1945. Harriet Boyd Hawes papers, 1871-1945. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Smith College Relief Unit Records RG 12., 1917-1997 Smith College Archives
referencedIn Blanche E. Williams papers, Williams (Blanche E.) papers, 1901, (bulk 1901) Brown University Library, Special Collections
referencedIn Williams, Blanche E. Wheeler. Papers, 1901. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
creatorOf Smith College. Relief Unit. Smith College Relief Unit records, 1917-1997 bulk 1917-1929. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Harriet Boyd Hawes Papers RG 42., 1888-1967 Smith College Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith John Hay Library person
associatedWith Smith College corporateBody
associatedWith Smith College Relief Unit. corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Blanche E. Wheeler. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Women archaeologists--United States
Archaeologists--United States
Women archaeologists


Birth 1871-10-11

Death 1945-03-31




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