Finding aid for Kezia and Nico Knauer correspondence chiefly with Homer Thompson

Summary Information

Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center
Kezia and Nico Knauer correspondence chiefly with Homer Thompson
Date [inclusive]
1.0 folders
Material Specific Details note
The Small Manuscripts Collection (SMC) designation is given to collections of personal papers that comprise less than 0.25 linear feet. In many cases, these collections consist of a single folder.

Preferred Citation note

The suggested citation for the material is "[item], Kezia and Nico Knauer correspondence chiefly with Homer Thompson, From the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, USA."

Return to Table of Contents »

Biographical note

Elfriede (Kezia) Regina Overhoff Knauer (1926-2010) was a German-born scholar with wide-ranging interests including classical studies, art history, archaeology, and East Asian studies. She earned her Ph.D. in 1951 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, and married Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer that same year. The Knauers emigrated to the United States in 1975. Kezia held museum posts in Germany and the United States. She died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer (1926-2018) was a German-born classical philologist. In 1952, he earned a Ph.D. from Hamburg University, which was followed by various academic appointments, including on the Faculty of the Freie Universität Berlin. He spent the 1973/1974 academic year as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Historical Studies. After emigrating to the United States in 1975, Knauer held a Faculty position with the University of Pennsylvania.

Dorothy Burr Thompson (1900-2001) was a classical archaeologist. Born in Pennsylvania, she attended Bryn Mawr College where she earned her Ph.D. in 1931. While working as the first woman Fellow of the Athenian Agora Excavations, she met Homer Thompson, who she married in 1934. Over the course of her life, she undertook research and writing projects on topics including Greek lyric poetry and ancient gardens, and held various professional posts, including Acting Director of the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as visiting professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University and Oberlin College. She died in Hightstown, New Jersey.

Homer A. Thompson (1906-2000) was a Canadian-born classical archaeologist who earned a Ph.D. in 1929 from the University of Michigan, where he also became acquainted with The American School of Classical Studies at Athens excavation of the Athenian Agora -- a project that would occupy him for the remainder of his life. From 1933-1947, he was on the Faculty of the University of Toronto and Assistant Director of the Royal Ontario Museum. In 1947, he was appointed to the Faculty of the School of Humanistic Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study. During his tenure as an Institute Professor, and later as a Professor Emeritus, he also served as Director of the Agora Excavations and held various visiting professorships at universities in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. He died in Hightstown, New Jersey.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Contents note

The Kezia and Nico Knauer correspondence chiefly with Homer Thompson consists of thirty unique items, mostly letters and postcards, which are most often addressed by Homer Thompson to Elfriede (Kezia) Regina Overhoff Knauer. Roughly one-third of the correspondence is addressed by Thompson to both Kezia and her husband, Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer, sometimes with the salutation of "NI-KE," which is a combination of the first letters of the Knauers' names as well as a nod to the trio's mutual professional interests. A few pieces of correspondence are exclusively from Dorothy Burr Thompson to either Kezia only or the Knauers. The contents of all the correspondence suggest both a shared interest in their respective professional work and a warm personal relationship among the four parties. Some letters also suggest a working professional relationship, in particular, between Homer and Kezia. One carbon copy letter in the collection is from Kezia to Homer about a translation project in which Kezia was participating on behalf of Homer. Homer's correspondence with Kezia also suggests that Homer vetted and encouraged Kezia's work.

Other materials in the collection include a letter of invitation to the Knauers from The American School of Classical Studies at Athens for Homer Thompson's 90th birthday party, a poem in Latin written by the Knauers on the occasion of his 75th birthday, and a humorous drawing by Kezia for his birthday.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center

Historical Studies-Social Science Library
Einstein Drive
NJ, 08540

Revision Description

  November 29, 2018

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open without restriction.

Custodial History note

A letter with the materials dated May 8, 2000, from Kezia Knauer to Glen Bowersock with the Faculty of the Institute's School of Historical Studies asks that this and another collection of correspondence be given to the Institute's archives. Further notations and correspondence with the materials show that the collections were then given to IAS Librarian Marcia Tucker.

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory


Digitized file (PDF)


Return to Table of Contents »