Edith Hamilton (August 12, 1867 - May 31, 1963) was a German-American classicist, educator, and writer most well-known for her books The Greek Way (1930) and Mythology (1942). Mythology remains in print after six decades and is still used as an introductory text to mythology in high schools and colleges; a mark of its status is that study guides to the book exist.
Edith Hamilton was born in Dresden, Germany, and grew up with her parents, Montgomery and Gertrude Hamilton, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When she was seven, her father began to teach her Latin and soon added French, German, and Greek to her curriculum. Her education continued at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut and Bryn Mawr College (M.A. 1894). In the following year, Edith and her sister Alice became the first female students accepted at the German universities of Leipzig and Munich.
Upon her return to the United States in 1896, Edith Hamilton became the headmistress of Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore, Maryland, to which she devoted all her energies until her retirement in 1922. Upon retiring, she moved to New York City with her life partner Doris Fielding Reid, and wrote and published various articles about Greek drama. Her approach to mythology was entirely through the literature of the classics, for she had not traveled to Greece and was not an archaeologist. The Greek Way appeared in 1930, and drew informative comparisons between life in ancient Greece and current Greek life. 1932's The Roman Way provided similar contrasts between daily life in ancient Rome and the current life. Other works published over the next three decades led to her traveling to Greece in 1957 at the age of ninety. She considered the high point of her life to be the ceremony that same year when she stood in the theater of Herodes Atticus and King Paul of Greece awarded her the Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction Award, making her an honorary citizen of Athens. She was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Edith Hamilton's correspondence and papers are at Princeton University. She is the subject of a memoir by Reid, Edith Hamilton: An Intimate Biography.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE CLASSICS PROGRAM PAYS TRIBUTE TO WRITER EDITH HAMILTON AT ROUMAN LECTURE ON APRIL 21
Apr 20, 2010; DURHAM, N. H., April 19 -- The University of New Hampshire issued the following news release: Edith Hamilton was one of the most...