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Who was Dorothy Garrod?

From ‘small, dark and alive’ to ‘cripplingly shy’: Dorothy Garrod as the first woman  Professor at Cambridge

By Pamela Jane Smith
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University


In May 1939, the mathematical physicist, Dr Bertha Swirles, later Lady Jeffreys, was taking a train from Cambridge to Manchester when she met Manchester Professor of Geography H. J. Fleure. Fleure had just participated in the Cambridge meeting that had elected Dorothy Garrod to the Disney Professorship of Archaeology. According to Fleure, when the Electors gave their decision to Vice-Chancellor Dean, the Vice-Chancellor replied "Gentlemen, you have presented us with a problem."

The Vice-Chancellor was correct. Being female, Garrod was not a full member of Cambridge University. Yet as Professor she became eligible to serve on the Council of the Senate, and all members of the Council were by definition members of the University. Had she been chosen to serve on the Council, an awkward situation would have occurred. This amused Fleure (Lady Jeffreys, in conversation, 1998), who was favourably disposed to electing Garrod (Daniel 1986: 98). He was from Manchester, where women were admitted to degrees and was accustomed to the idea of women in higher academic ranks. The Electors seem to have chosen the best candidate without concern for administrative repercussions.

There is no hint of controversy surrounding this important election. The entry in the Elections’ minute book for 5 May 1939 is according to form. There was no attempt to suspend the proceedings, to suggest alternatives or to request time to advertise for or to interview additional applicants, as had happened during some previous Cambridge professorial elections (Elections to Professorships: University Archives O.XIV.54).

The eight Electors, bastions of respectability and academic power, met in the usual way, discussed the small field of candidates for a respectable time, reconvened the following morning, and quickly voted for Garrod. There is not the least sign of strong disagreement.

Dorothy Garrod was chosen because of her qualifications. She was the best candidate for the position in several ways. Trained by R. R. Marett at Oxford and the Abbé Henri Breuil in France, she was renowned for her excavations in Gibraltar, Palestine, Southern Kurdistan, Anatolia, and Bulgaria. By 1939, Garrod was one of Britain’s finest archaeologists. She had discovered the well-preserved skull fragments of  ‘Abel’, a Neanderthal child, in Gibraltar, identified the Natufian culture while excavating Shukbah near Jerusalem, directed the large, long term excavations at Mt Carmel, established the Palaeolithic succession for that crucial region and then travelled, in 1938, to explore the important Palaeolithic cave of Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria. Published reports of her excavations had appeared promptly and had been very favourably reviewed. The Mesolithic prehistorian, Grahame Clark, who was to succeed her to the Disney Chair in 1952, described Garrod’s The Stone Age of Mount Carmel (1937) as "pure gold" (Clark 1937: 488). Following the publication of this volume, Garrod was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College and a DSc. from Oxford University.

In addition, by 1939, Garrod had shown some administrative and teaching ability. She was Newnham’s Director of Studies for Archaeology and Anthropology since 1934; she had served on College committees and been briefly on the Faculty Board in 1936; and she is remembered by her students as an "excellent supervisor---gentle and organised" (Joan Lillico, First Class  Honours 1935, personal correspondence, 1998).

Garrod’s application was helped by political considerations and by who her competitors were. There is no official record of who was considered, but a list can be reconstructed from unpublished and published memoirs and interviews with relatives and former students. One possibility is problematical. There are conflicting reports on whether Gertrude Caton Thompson, respected internationally for her intensive, innovative archaeological investigation of the later Stone age in Egypt, wanted the Professorship. A close relative of Garrod clearly remembers Caton Thompson expressing regret that she was not chosen for the position (Garrod biographer, Jane Callander, personal communication, 1998). But former Disney Professor Glyn Daniel (1986: 98), writes in his Memoirs that "the Electors first offered the Chair to Caton Thompson, who had not applied, and… when she declined, appointed Dorothy Garrod". Since there is no corroborating evidence either way, we can say no more than that Caton Thompson was considered.

Christopher Hawkes, in 1946 appointed foundation Professor of European Archaeology at Oxford, did certainly apply (Webster  1991: 234 and Dr. Sonia Chadwick Hawkes, personal communication, 1996). But, in 1939, he was a man of merely thirty four years whose career, in comparison to the other candidates, was not yet established.

The first of the major contenders was the prehistorian Miles Burkitt, son of Cambridge Norrisian Professor of Divinity, F. C.  Burkitt. "It was thought by many inevitable that the Disney Chair ought to and would go to Miles Burkitt," wrote Daniel (1986: 97). Burkitt was the first to teach prehistoric archaeology at Cambridge University, introducing the subject in 1915. He was a long-term, devoted member of the Faculty Board of Archaeology and  Anthropology, an able administrator and is remembered by Thurstan Shaw, (First Class Honours, 1936, later Professor of Archaeology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria), and J. D. Clark (First Class Honours 1937, later Professor of Anthropology at the  University of California, Berkeley), as an inspiring lecturer. His publications, Prehistory (1921) and The Old Stone Age(1933) were standard introductory texts for Faculty courses. Yet, he had no experience directing excavations and he was not reputed to be an original researcher. The Faculty Board had declined to nominate him for a Senior Doctorate (Faculty Minute Book: 5 March 1929). In addition, internationally known, influential prehistorians such as the Abbé Breuil, Professeur au Collège de France et à l’Insitut de Paléontologie Humaine, considered Garrod to be a superior candidate (Testimonial on Garrod’s qualifications for the Disney Professorship by Breuil. Box 72: Fonds Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin, MAN).

Daniel (1986: 97) also claims that the Anglo-Saxon archaeologist, Tom Lethbridge, ‘put in’ for the Professorship. This claim is supported by a passage from Lethbridge’s unpublished memoirs. He had taught archaeology from the mid-1920s to the early 1950s at Cambridge and entered the arena at the request of those opposed to a non-Cambridge man.

    "There was an obvious candidate [Burkitt] for the Professorship but there was also a candidate from outside. Louis [Clarke, the Museum Curator] said it would be a real disaster for Cambridge if this one were elected and … persuaded me to stand to keep this man out" 

(Lethbridge [1965]: 100)

Probably the ‘outsider’ was Mortimer Wheeler, who  Daniel (1986: 97) states ‘put in’ for the position. Wheeler at that time was involved as Honorary Director of London University’s Institute of Archaeology that he and his wife, Tessa, founded in the mid 1930s, and had not formally applied but the British archaeological community was small and an informal inquiry would have been sufficient. He was "a brilliant organizer, a born excavator, a dynamic and forceful character" but was also considered a "bounder" by some members of the Cambridge Faculty (Daniel 1986: 407-8). He could easily have been one of those discussed among the "other persons mentioned by the electors" (Minute Book: 5 May 1939). By implication one of the Electors who might have voted for Wheeler was diverted by Lethbridge’s candidacy.

A highly qualified woman was a more pleasing alternative than an ‘outsider’. Thus we can add the fact that Garrod was a ‘Cambridge man’ to her list of qualifications. "All went well," Lethbridge ([1965]: 100) concludes: "the proper man got in."


Garrod’s Papers

Regardless of her accomplishments, Garrod has remained a ‘shadowy figure’. Until recently, her correspondence  and manuscripts were believed destroyed. Persistent rumours suggested she had burnt her literary remains. In consequence, Garrod’s life and brilliant career have not been biographically documented.

As part of my Ph.D research into the generation and institution of prehistory at Cambridge University, I came across a vast store of Garrod‘s unpublished and un-sorted material  held in the Bibliothèque du Musée des  Antiquités Nationales outside Paris (Smith et al.  Antiquity 1997) . This material, not yet catalogued, is kept  under the name of French archaeologist Suzanne Cassou de  Saint-Mathurin who had excavated with Garrod in France and  Lebanon and stayed with her in the Charente. When Saint-Mathurin  died in 1991, boxes of Garrod’s diaries, letters, field  notes, photographs and manuscripts were bequeathed to the MAN  along with Saint-Mathurin’s papers.

The depth and literary wealth of the preserved material is  astonishing. Only a few photographs of Garrod had been known; now  hundreds are available. Her field notes and diaries from  excavations and expeditions to Kurdistan, Anatolia, Bulgaria,  France and Lebanon detail exciting personal experiences  previously unknown. Crucial archaeological discoveries can now be  better reconstructed. Photographs and diaries document the 1932  discovery at Mount Carmel, Palestine, of the Neanderthal female  skeleton, Tabun I, "one of the most important human fossils ever  found" (Christopher Stringer, custodian of Tabun I, Natural  History Museum, quoted in the Exhibition in Honour of D.A.E.  Garrod, Callander and Smith, 1998). The excavation of Tabun  produced the longest stratigraphic record in the region, spanning  600,000 or more years of human activity. Diaries discuss these  excavation activities and illuminate the archaeological work that  "remains decisive in interpreting the course of human evolution"  (Harvard Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology Ofer Bar-Yosef,   Exhibition in Honour of D.A.E. Garrod, Callander and  Smith, 1998).


Reserved, assured, delightful

Unpublished papers and personal recollections of colleagues  and former students reveal a contrast between Garrod’s  personality as Professor and her behaviour in every other  context. In the field she is at ease and gently humourous;  reserved but fun. In the Faculty, however, she is described as  "cripplingly shy"--dry, distant, difficult to know. Excerpts from  her correspondence and field diaries document this striking  contrast. Garrod’s earliest letters, long before her  Professorship, show a spontaneous, joyful attitude toward life  and work.

"My dear Jean," wrote Garrod to her cousin in 1921, "The last  week in France was great fun. It was really almost too moving to  be true. You crawl on your stomach for hours … climbing up  yawning abysses (lighted only by an acetylene lamp …) and  get knocked on the head by stalactites and on the legs by  [stalag]mites, and in the end arrive at all sorts of wonders;  bison modelled in clay, and portraits of sorcerers, and  footprints of Magdalenian man." Studying for her Diploma in  Anthropology at Oxford University, Garrod was about to meet her  life-long mentor, the renowned prehistorian, L’Abbé  Henri Breuil. "Comte Bégouen, our host … is a dear,  and we also met the Abbé Breuil who … explores  impossible caves in a Roman collar and bathing dress. He got an  Hon. degree at Cambridge last year, but more fully clothed". The  humour and joie de vivre evident in this letter are  typical of Garrod (Letter found in Box 72: Fonds Suzanne Cassou  de Saint-Mathurin, MAN.)

 Figure 1

Figure 3. ‘Palestine People’ Dorothy Garrod with the  members of her first excavation crew at the Mount Carmel Caves,  1929. Standing in their camp are left to right, Elinor Ewbank  (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Dorothy Garrod, Mary Kitson Clark  (Girton College, Cambridge), Dean Harriet M. Allyn (Mount Holyoke  College, USA) and Dr Martha Hackett. When asked "how would you  describe Garrod?," Mrs Mary Chitty, née Kitson Clark, now  the only surviving member of the crew, instantly and emphatically  responded "Small, dark and alive!" (in conversation with  Callander and the author, 1996). Photograph by courtesy of the  Fonds Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin, MAN.

"She was eager, fastidious, apparently not robust, but with a    clear sense of values … and courage … hence the    very strenuous field work [in] ––France, Spain,    Palestine, Kurdistan … caves and underground rivers, "

Garrod’s cousin, Jean Smith wrote in 1968 (letter to  Barbara White of Newnham College on the occasion of  Garrod’s death: Box 72, MAN). Garrod’s notebooks and  diaries from the ‘very strenuous’ excavations at  Mount Carmel Caves, Palestine, from 1929–1934, document  bonhomie and courage under stress.

According to Callander, activities prior to Dorothy  Garrod’s dig at Mount Carmel were "high level  stuff—government reports and telegrams about the site of   ‘paramount’ importance. Yet the whole thing seems to  fall to Garrod with merely good will. What a burden!" (personal  correspondence, 1998). Prehistoric research in the Near East was  still in its infancy. The methodological and theoretical  foundation of all fields of modern Near Eastern archaeology was  established by a few intrepid researchers, including Garrod,  during this period (Bar-Yosef and Callander, in press). The  expertise and theoretical background we now know to be necessary  to understand these complex sites was not yet available. At Mount  Carmel, Garrod was responsible for designing the excavation  strategies for several, sometimes simultaneous, excavation sites  during seven seasons, soliciting and budgeting finances, setting  up camps, choosing, hiring, training and supervising her  co-workers, arranging for equipment and supplies, dealing with  British Mandate officials, and maintaining cordial relationships  with the local Arab employees and their community. She was  notified of all finds and made the decisions on how to preserve  and to catalogue the abundant archaeological remains. The  analysis of artifacts required an extraordinary effort. To quote  but one example, stratigraphic layer E of et-Tabun cave "yielded  in addition to innumerable flakes, blades and cores. no less than  7,113 hand-axes, 26,758 racloirs [scrapers] and 3,009 other  implements" (Clark 1937: 487). Garrod was responsible for  analysis of all this material, writing field reports and  publication of results. She handled these formidable tasks  expertly. "It was an enormous project and she did it quite  single-handedly" (1929 crew member, Mrs Mary Chitty, née  Kitson Clark, in conversation with Callander and Smith,  1996).

Figure 2

Figure 2. Dorothy Garrod with Yusra, one of the women who  excavated the Mount Carmel Caves, 1934. "We were extremely  feminist you see because all the executive and interesting part  of the dig was done by women and all the menial part … by  men" (Mrs. Chitty née Kitson Clark discussing the first  1929 season at Mount Carmel, in conversation with archaeologist,  Julia Roberts, 1994). By courtesy of Mrs Caroline Burkitt and of the Miles Burkitt and the Kennedy Shaw families.

Conditions were harsh. The crew endured uncomfortable,  primitive living conditions, terrible heat, ’sticky’   humidity, limited and contaminated water, faulty equipment, dust,  hot ‘Khamseen’ winds, violent electrical storms,  torrential rains and exposure to serious disease. During their  first season, Kitson Clark and Allyn caught   ‘relapsing’ or tick fever from being bitten by the  abundant lice; they were repeatedly very ill. During the final  1934 excavation season, one crew member, Ruth Waddington, was  rushed to the German Hospital in Haifa with malaria.

Garrod’s 1934 diary is permeated with light-hearted  stories that belie these difficult circumstances. "There was  considerable consternation as there had been predictions of a  cloudburst, an earthquake and the end of the world" (25 May 1934,  Garrod’s Diary, found near Box 62, MAN). "Mud, muck, ooze  upon the floor, torn tents and thunder – all were forgotten  as the sherry bottle was opened. Though it might be mentioned all  knives were carefully cleared off the table … as the dark  showed blue lightning" (Anne Fuller‘s April 1934 entry in  Garrod’s Diary, MAN). The women named their tents and tiny  mud brick huts the ‘Tibn Towers’, arranged daily tea,   ‘Sabbath’ sherry at 6.00 p.m. and an occasional  Sunday seaside holiday. Although Garrod was affectionately called   ‘The Boss’, all daily living and working routines  were group decisions, informally decided at breakfast or tea.

Frequent official visitors were handled with patient humour.  "The Towers must above all things keep up appearances," Fuller  writes in Garrod’s April Diary.

"The afternoon was awaited with some anxiety, as Miss Hilda    Wills had announced her intention of visiting the Towers,"    reports Garrod on 14 April 1934. "At 2.0 precisely Miss    W.’s car was sighted turning into the     ‘drive’. DG hastened down to receive her, putting    the finishing touches to her toilet as the car approached the    causeway … though ignorant of prehistory [Miss Wills]    displayed just the right amount of interest – in short    behaved like the best type of Cultured English Hat …     drank tea in the parlour of the Towers, and drove away, leaving    a cheque … Sabbath Sherry was drunk at 6.45, the toast    being … a ‘hat’ of the best, named Miss    Wills, a presenter of gifts and not bills, drove up to the    Towers and stayed several hours, leaving twenty-five pounds and    no mils. The "Tibnites" decided at tea to spend part of this    gift on improving an "essential piece of furniture"—their    crude outdoor loo

(Garrod Diary 14 April 1934, MAN)

Figure 3

Figure 3. Dorothy Garrod with bear cub, Anatolia, 1938 "She was  calm and self-assured, conversed easily and put me completely at  ease, and I took to her at once," reports Dr Bruce Howe on his  first meeting with Garrod in 1938. Howe was a "green-horn  graduate student" at Harvard University when he joined  Garrod’s five month expedition to Anatolia and Bulgaria to  document Palaeolithic sites. She was expedition Director, but  "very much treated us … as equals … she seemed  perfectly confident … authoritative and forth putting in  all her fieldwork and planning interactions … Dorothy was  unique, rather like a glass of pale fine stony French white wine"  (Bruce Howe, personal correspondence to Bar-Yosef, Callander and  Smith, 1998). Photograph by courtesy of the Pitt Rivers Museum,  University of Oxford.

During her 1938 reconnaissance expedition to chart  Palaeolithic sites in Anatolia, Garrod was once again "largely  self-propelled". Also, as in early field situations, her  "demeanor and dealings with the various Institutes and with the  Turkish authorities were … civil, effective and  sure-footed with mutual respect and cordiality evident at all  times". Although ultimately in charge of key decisions, she  always encouraged contributions from the young Harvard  researchers who accompanied her, James Gaul as well as Bruce  Howe. Meeting at meals for "good talk and work", Garrod suggested  that Howe spend his next year (1938–1939) in Cambridge to  benefit from the Museum’s extensive collections of Stone  Age material and to attend Grahame Clark’s and Glyn  Daniel’s lectures on prehistoric archaeology (quotes from  Howe’s letter to Bar-Yosef, Callander and Smith, 1998).

Garrod as Professor: reserved and frightened

Garrod’s appointment "was rather a bombshell as far as I  could gather. It definitely ruffled the dovecotes," reports Howe.  Her election was greeted with excitement and high expectations,  especially by the women’s colleges. The Newnham College   Roll Letter announced with pride, "Miss Garrod’s  election to the Disney Professor has been the outstanding event  of the year and has filled us with joy" (Letter of  January, 1940: 11). Fellow female scholars felt uplifted by her  achievement (Alison Duke, in conversation, 1998) and Rosalind  Franklin, then a first-year undergraduate, later known for the  elucidation of the DNA structure, wrote to her parents, "The  chief news in Newnham is the first female professor ever to be  elected in Oxford or Cambridge has been elected from Newnham. It  is not yet known whether she is to be a member of the  University!" ( May 7, 1939, letter in possession of  Franklin’s sister, Mrs Jenifer Glynn).

For contemporary women students, "the excitement of her  appointment was great", reports Eleanor Robertson, Newnham  Archaeological and Anthropology student, class of 1938. (personal  correspondence, 1998). Many enthusiastically recall the summer of   ‘39 ‘college feast’ given at Newnham in  Garrod’s honour, where each dish was named after an  archaeological item. For Jane Waley (née McFie, Double  First, 1945 [Section A] and 1946 [Section B]), Garrod and Newnham  dons—such as E. M. Butler, elected Schröder Professor  of German in 1945, and Jocelyn Toynbee, elected Lawrence  Professor of Classical Archaeology in 1951—were inspiring:  "They seemed to me to tower over the male versions in other  subjects! I suppose there were some males among my fellow  students, but my self confidence was undaunted!"

The wider University community also took note. "The election  of a woman to the Disney Professorship of Archaeology is an  immense step forward towards complete equality between men and  women in the University. The disabilities that remain here, being  purely formal, are certain to be swept aside next time any  changes in the University affairs are introduced" (The  Cambridge Review, May 1939). Most observers assumed that full  membership for women in the University would soon follow.

There is a persistent rumour that Garrod’s election was  the precipitating event that resulted in the formation of a  temporary syndicate on the Status of Women in the University  during the early 1940s. There is no evidence at all in the  Council Minutes that this is true (Council of the Senate Minutes  1938–1942). War was declared before Garrod took office in  October 1939. Most University activities were concentrated on  emergency measures and accommodating 2000 evacuated members of  colleges and institutions of the University of London; there was  neither time nor staff to consider detailed change to Statutes.  In addition, two surviving signatories of the 30 September 1946  Memorial to the Council that initiated the long-awaited changes  granting women full status, clearly state that Garrod’s  election was not a determining influence in their decision to  back the petition. Professor Sir John Plumb and Dr George Salt  suggest that the basic absurdity was introduced years previously  when women were admitted to all University teaching offices and  Faculty Boards yet denied full membership (Plumb and Salt, in  conversation, 1998). According to Plumb, Garrod’s election  was part of an ongoing process rather than a separate event (in  conversation, 1998).

Still, the public reaction seems to have been extraordinary.  There were very few women in teaching posts in Cambridge  University in 1939. Garrod was a modest, shy person and appears  to have been uncomfortable with the attention her election  elicited. Her reticence is revealed in a story recounted by Howe.  At the moment of her appointment, Garrod invited him to accompany  her to a performance of "Fidelio" at the University Theatre to  celebrate. "She said that I could provide a sort of shield  between her and the surrounding colleagues sure to show up   … on all sides … she didn’t want to be  swamped with congratulations and chatter" (Howe, personal  correspondence, 1998).

The reaction of the Faculty seems to have been as demanding as  the broader University response. When Garrod assumed the Disney  Chair, the Archaeological and Anthropological Tripos consisted of  one part only. Usually a student read history or classics before  taking a final year of archaeology and anthropology as Part Two  of a three year degree. This one part included two sections:  Section A which covered Physical and Social Anthropology and  Prehistoric Archaeology; and Section B which covered Norse,  Celtic Britain, and Anglo-Saxon history and language. By the end  of the 1930s, an increasing demand for social anthropology and  prehistoric archaeology suggested that the Tripos should be  expanded. Garrod was expected by the Faculty to meet this  increased demand for prehistoric archaeological expertise and to  play a key administrative role in the development of a full  Tripos.

With her election, Garrod was catapulted into a difficult  situation within a new Faculty, which had been established in  1926. As the first prehistorian to assume the Disney Chair, she  was Professor of a new subject that had been only recently  introduced to the University curriculum and was not yet fully  institutionalised. Her predecessor, Ellis Minns, a classicist,  palaeographer and former lecturer in Slavonic studies, did most  of his teaching in the respected Classics Tripos rather than in  Archaeology and Anthropology. "Archaeological studies other than  Classics [classical archaeology] were still in an embryonic  state," writes archaeologist Charles Phillips, who served with  Garrod on the Faculty Board during the 1930s (Phillips,  unpublished Memoirs [1975–80]: 141).

Cambridge was the only University in Britain offering an  undergraduate degree specialising in prehistoric archaeology and  prehistory was considered a ‘hobby pursuit,’ and a   ‘last resort’ or ‘soft’ option (Saumarez  Smith, Duke, Thatcher and others, personal correspondence and in  conversation, 1998). Both prehistory and anthropology were  questionable subjects, fighting for academic recognition,  funding, and accommodation (Rouse 1997, Smith 1997). Many bright  students who chose prehistoric archaeology were told that they  had no future. Among these were the pioneers of modern  prehistoric archaeology: Cyril Fox, Louis Leakey, and  Garrod’s successor to the Disney Chair, Grahame Clark  (Clark, in conversation, 1994).

According to George Salt, who was a long-term member of  several University Syndicates and had many opportunities to  observe Faculty activities, Garrod’s reputation as an  administrator was good (in conversation, 1998). Through her years  of tenure, she was conscientious, reliable, trustworthy, and hard  working. She served competently and creatively on every Faculty  Committee of import for ten years. It was her suggestion that a  Part II be instituted in archaeology and it was her endless  labour that produced the desired result.

Yet, Garrod’s position on the Board of the Faculty of  Archaeology and Anthropology was "one of considerable frustration  and difficulty," writes Lethbridge ([1965]: 99) in his Memoirs.  Before and during Garrod’s tenure in the Disney Chair, the  Faculty Board wrangled continually with the General Board of the  Faculties, a powerful University body that controlled finances  and final decisions on innumerable Faculty matters. The Faculty  Board repeatedly disagreed with the General Board on issues of  funds and accommodations. Certainly the phrase "The Faculty Board  did not however agree with the view of the General Board" is the  Faculty’s refrain.

Shortly after assuming office, Garrod was requested to  represent and explain the Faculty’s needs to this Board.  Prior to the outbreak of war, the General Board had begun a  lengthy investigation into the expenditures of the Faculty of  Archaeology and Anthropology on teaching, personnel,  accommodation, and equipment. The organisation and regulation of  courses, the size and grading of teaching and assistant staff,  the status of the Curator of the Museum and the relationship of  Section A to Section B within the Tripos were being scrutinised.  The relationship of Section A, which was exclusively prehistoric  archaeology, to Section B, which covered the culture and language  of early historic Britain, was the most sensitive and contentious  of these issues. Section B had been brought into the  Archaeological and Anthropological Tripos from Modern and  Medieval Languages in 1927 by Professor of Anglo-Saxon, H. M.  Chadwick. The Archaeology and Anthropology Faculty unanimously  wished to keep Section B within its ranks. Yet, some members of  the new Faculty of English wanted Section B to be transferred to  their control and there was vocal agitation and occasional  letters to the General Board advocating this change.

Figure 4

Figure 4. Cartoon of Garrod’s Photographic reconnaissance  Section reproduced by courtesy of the family of Dr Hugh Hamshaw  Thomas, Cambridge University Reader in Palaeobotany and, during  war time, Wing Commander at the RAF Medmenham Unit for  Photographic Interpretation. Garrod was best in small, informal  groups where status was not a strong issue. She was "delighted"  when Dr Hamshaw Thomas recruited her in 1942 for the Medmenham  Air Intelligence Unit, and was "jolly well not reserved" while  there, remembers Hamshaw Thomas’ daughter, Mrs Ursula  Whitaker (in conversation, 1998). "Rank was of no importance   … there was an atmosphere of tremendous conviviality"  within the Unit and within Garrod’s Section of three or  four people who worked closely together (Whitaker, in  conversation, 1998 and Section member, Mr. Fred Mason, personal  correspondence, 1998).

Having met with Garrod and also J. H. Hutton, Professor of  Anthropology, the Committee for the General Board sent a draft  report to the Faculty Board. A major paragraph of this report  referred to Garrod. According to the General Board Committee,  Garrod "expressed the opinion" that Section A and B "appeal to  different kinds of persons," that "Section A and B together did  not make a coherent whole and that it was neither necessary nor  desirable that they be linked. The Committee agreed to place  these opinions on record so that they may be considered when the  General Board undertake their inquiry into" the future of Section  B, (Faculty Minutes, 22 May 1940). In response, Garrod asserts  that she "has no recollection of making statements that Section A  and B together did not make a coherent whole" and that she  "considers any separation between prehistory and the later  archaeology represented by Section B … undesirable." The  Faculty Board then suggests "that the whole of this paragraph be  deleted" because Garrod and the Faculty do "not want this  paragraph to prejudice the promised inquiry" into Section  B’s future (Faculty Minutes, 22 May 1940).

In November 1940, the General Board sent another draft of  their report to the Faculty for approval. The paragraph  attributing quotes to Garrod had not been changed or deleted. The  Board unanimously once again expressed their concern that these  statements were misquoted and that these misquotes could  prejudice the future of their Tripos. The final General Board  Report nevertheless retained the objectionable paragraph intact.  In addition, on 20 November 1940, Mr. John T. Saunders,  Secretary-General to the General Board of the Faculties from  1935–53, writes to the Board, "the statement attributed to  Professor Garrod appears to the Committee to be the view which  should be taken into account when the future of Section B is  considered." In final response, the Faculty Board "renews their  protest against the placing on record of statements which are in  their opinion inaccurate" (Faculty Minutes, 22 January 1941).

This seems to have been Garrod’s first experience with  University administration and politics. It is not clear how the  General Board could have so completely misinterpreted her  testimony or why it persisted in using quotes that could surely  damage Garrod’s reputation and might completely discredit  her within her Faculty--so soon after her election and before her  reputation was established. However, it does explain her  fear.

It was precisely her administrative encounters with the  General Board that appeared to have caused Garrod the most  consternation. As a Professor in the Faculty and as Head of her  Department, Garrod dealt continually with Saunders and the  General Board. According to Garrod’s Secretary, Miss Mary  Thatcher (personal communication, 1998), it was during the period  that Garrod was Department Head from 1950 to her retirement in  1952, that the Faculty "grossly overspent" on their allowance for  electricity. The Board received a letter from Secretary General  Saunders suggesting that Garrod please go and explain. "She might  have been a schoolgirl," states Thatcher, who accompanied Garrod,  "she shook with fear." During the meeting, Garrod asked Saunders  what the Faculty might do to improve the situation. He answered,  "Well, Professor Garrod, when you see a light on, turn it off,"  (Thatcher, personal communication, 1998).

Garrod would have found this type of treatment confusing if  not humiliating or at least demeaning. She was an older,  cultured, reserved, upper middle class woman from an established  and highly accomplished family. The Garrods were solid members of  Annan’s (1955) ‘Intellectual Aristocracy’. Her  father, Sir Archibald Garrod, had been Regius Professor of  Medicine at Oxford and is regarded as the founder of biochemical  genetics; her grandfather was Sir Alfred Garrod of King’s  College Hospital, Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria and a  leading authority on rheumatic diseases; her uncle, Alfred  Garrod, was a noted physiologist and zoologist and Professor of  Physiology of the Royal Institute and Professor of Comparative  Anatomy at King’s College. She would have been accustomed  to being treated with an understated respect.

When Garrod’s responses to the General Board are  studied, she presents herself as relating to University officials  as she had related to officials while on excavations and  expeditions. As quoted earlier, while on expeditions,  "Garrod’s demeanor and dealings … were civil   … with mutual respect and cordiality evident at all  times," (Howe, personal correspondence, 1998). Garrod assumed  that the other side was eminently reasonable and that a fair  debate could solve all. She was forthcoming with Faculty needs  and seemed to expect the General Board to give a clear answer.  Her actions are reminiscent of her writing style, described by  Clark (1937: 488) as "dispassionate … scientific …   modest." She seemed to believe in an idealised scientific model  of discourse where by if her hypothesis was wrong, open  discussion would lead to a better solution.

Garrod often argued on a moral basis. After the War, as a  Professor returning from National Service, Garrod received her  stipend for several months while lesser Faculty members, such as  Assistant Faculty Lecturer Grahame Clark, did not. She argued  with the General Board that this was crass discrimination. The  General Board ignored her argument, stating that all Faculty were  not allowed stipends until they started to lecture. When she  pointed out that she herself had not started lecturing, the  General Board responded that it could consider only hardship  cases within her Faculty. Garrod responded that since it was an  issue of discrimination between officers of the same Faculty and  as all the junior teaching officers were not receiving stipends,  all were hardship cases. The General Board responded that all  Faculty were not allowed stipends until they started to lecture.  At this point, Garrod stopped responding.

Garrod seemed ill at ease in all hierarchical, formal  situations where she represented the Faculty. Although she had  been an excellent supervisor in informal, small groups while at  Newnham College--"her mother joined us for a cup of tea before  proceedings began. It was all very friendly and easy" (Lillico,  personal correspondence, 1998)—Garrod was a ‘dead  loss’ as a lecturer, or even as a supervisor, within the  more structured Faculty setting. The unremitting boredom and  uniform dullness of her presentations is remembered by many.  There was "never a light or bright moment" recalls former 1950s  student, John Mulvaney, who later became foundation Professor of  Prehistory at the Australian National University in 1970 (in  conversation, 1998). "She gave one of the poorest public lectures  I ever attended," writes archaeologist Merrick Posnansky.  Lecturing was "not her chosen form of communication," states Dr.  Ann Sieveking, née Paull, who listened to Garrod discuss  the Upper Palaeolithic, the Palaeolithic in Asia, and  Palaeolithic art and religion from 1951–52.  Sieveking’s observation is supported by Garrod’s own  statement to her friend, Mlle. Germaine Henri-Martin:  "j’aime mieux écrire que discuter de vive voix" [I  much prefer to write than discuss aloud] (19 February 1961, Box  38, M.A.N.). Even in small and informal Tripos classes, Garrod  seemed uncomfortable with her role and the format of University  lecturing.

In November 1950, Garrod wrote to her close friend, Mlle  Germaine Henri-Martin, "Je n’ai rien pu faire pour Angles  [Garrod’s Upper Palaeolithic rock shelter excavation in  France] depuis ma rentrée et Je n’arrive pas  à préparer mon cours pour le trimestre prochain--je  serais obligée de le faire à Paris, ce qui remettra  encore le travail d’Angles. Au fond, je mene une vie  impossible! La décision de prendre la retraite est  absolument nécessaire." [I haven’t been able to do   anything for Angles since my return and I haven’t  managed to prepare my course for next term. I’ll have to do  it in Paris, which will again delay Angles’ work.  Basically, I lead an impossible life! The decision to retire is  absolutely necessary (21 November 1950, Box 34, M.A.N.)


Exactly what was Dorothy Garrod’s difficulty in being  Professor? It would seem that she found distasteful exactly the  type of behaviour that resulted in her election. Garrod would not  have been capable of running a candidate to divert a vote.

She had obviously never read F.M. Cornford’s famous  satire of 1908 on Cambridge University politics,   Microcosmographia Academica. being a guide for the young  academic politician and was untrained in the types of  political manoeuvres this book so accurately describes. The  "political activity" of casually negotiating deals while  strolling King’s Parade, was alien to her. "Remember this:"  Cornford (1908: 42 ) warns, "the men who get things done are  the men who walk up and down the King’s Parade, from 2 to  4, every day of their lives."

In addition, Garrod’s lack of full membership in the  University before 1948 and also the fact that she was a woman  barred her from some ‘behind the scenes’   interac-tions and also from social settings where deals might  have been struck. Women were not allowed, for example, to dine at  the men’s colleges where issues were broached and resolved  during conversations at high table. She would not have been  present at important informal discussions where bureaucratic  manoeuvrings might have been agreed upon.

Negotiating scrimmages with powerful bureaucratic committees  was difficult partly because some members of the General Board of  the Faculties were particularly hard to deal with. She was  unaccustomed to the often sharp style of Cambridge institutional  interactions and was uncomfortable with the verbal sparring and  sarcastic retorts which were an acceptable part of the  negotiating process. In the electricity budget incident  previously mentioned, Garrod would have felt it rude to respond  to Saunders. However, when she did not retort, he would have  judged her as ‘weak’. Saunders might have reacted  thus to whomever he dealt with. However, as a result of  Garrod’s background and personality, she was poorly suited  to such interactions.

Garrod had no experience in hierarchical, institutional  settings, where she would have been under a General Board, yet  over undergraduates. She had never gone to a public school such  as Marlborough, as had her brothers, or entered Cambridge and  stayed there to build her career, as had Grahame Clark, the other  great prehistorian who succeeded her. She was accustomed to  leading small egalitarian research teams where she had control of  funding and final decisions; Garrod was ill prepared for the  University’s ranked system.

Throughout, Garrod seems to have been operating on the more  co-operative, reasoned, and even dignified mode of behaviour she  had enjoyed in the practice of research. This behaviour was  maladaptive within Cambridge’s arcane institutional,  hierarchical arena where control and manipulation of scarce  resources were critical and where bureaucratic effectiveness  required a tacit knowledge of how to act.

Garrod adequately fulfilled the formal requirements of her  office. As previously described, it was her suggestion that a  Part II be instituted in archaeology; she served conscientiously  and creatively on Faculty Committees for ten years. However, she  never became acculturated to the type of informal behaviour  needed to be a ‘Cambridge man’.

All indications are that she was uncomfortable in her  Professorial role and left as soon as her sense of duty allowed.  She did a competent job establishing the full Tripos but longed  to return to her research (Thatcher, in conversation, 1998).  Clare Fell, who was Assistant Curator of the Museum of  Archaeology and Ethnology from 1948--53, remembers "how shocked  and saddened everyone was when she resigned," (personal  correspondence, 1998). Upon retirement, thirty-four members of  the Faculty Board presented her with an ornate scroll, inscribed  in Latin, which reveals their sadness and respect, which can be  translated as:

To Dorothy Annie Elizabeth Garrod most illustrious teacher and    indefatigable explorer of antiquity, who for thirteen years    professed the science of archaeology in Cambridge with such    great learning, such great splendour, such great friendliness    and humanity, her colleagues, acquaintances, friends, whose    names are written beneath, joyfully giving thanks for so many    things well done, earnestly mourning her sad and premature    departure, following her in all excellent things, moved not    only by love but also by regret, to one who has deserved it,    who tomorrow will emigrate to Gaul, yet will quite often return    to Britain, give with pleasure this clock as a gift. "caelum    non animum mutant, qui trans [mare] currunt" [Horace. Epistles,    Book I, 11, line 27] "those who hasten across [the sea] change    their horizon, not their soul"

(quote from Exhibition in Honour of D.A.E. Garrod, Callander and Smith, 1998, with permission from Madeleine Lovedy Smith    and Antonia Benedek, Professor Garrod’s cousin and god-daughter).


Living References:

All knowledge is community based. This is especially true when  secondary, published sources do not yet exist. I have hence  relied upon personal reminiscences and unpublished material to  reconstruct Garrod’s past. Interpretations also only  emerged after hours of discussions with colleagues, friends, and  supervisors. This result is thus indeed a community effort. I  hope my essay is worthy of all who contributed their time and  energy to it. It was a joy and privilege to work with the  following people.

Many, who read the Archaeological and Anthropological Tripos,  from 1926 to 1952, wrote insightful letters. Of seventy-five  surviving students for whom Newnham and Girton had addresses, all  but three responded. Their letters were generous, often joyful  and bright. Barbara Wallis suggested I speak to Lady Jefferys.  Lady Jeffreys and Chips suggested that I speak to Alison Duke.  Mrs. McBurney suggested Mrs. Bushnell and Mary Thatcher. Lady  Renfrew recommended Clare Fell, the Burkitt family, and Joan  Oates. Julia Roberts gave Mrs Chitty, née Mary Kitson  Clark’s, address. Many suggested Lady Clark, Mrs Glyn  Daniel, and Sonia Hawkes. The Robert Braidwoods forwarded Bruce  Howe’s address. Elisabeth Leedham-Green suggested Professor  Sir John Plumb and George Salt. Robin Place Kenward, Jane McFie  Waley, Miss Lyons, Sylvia Hallam, Lisa Wace French, Marie  Lawrence, Hilda Ellis Davidson, Mrs Hodgess Roger, J. W. Lillico,  Margaret Wilkinson, Sylvia Priest, Lady Richardson, Lady  Hamilton, Gillian Sutherland, E. M. S. Macalister Horne, Lady  Page, Antonia Rose, Mary Summer Conn, Hilary Richardson, J. S.  LaFontaine, Madeline Glemser, and Mrs Clark Robertson knew others  who I should contact. Mrs Whitaker suggested Fred Mason who  served with Garrod in her RAF Photographic Intelligence section.  The web began to include more men, Thurstan Shaw, Desmond Clark,  Peter Gathercole, John Pickles, Jack Golson, John Mulvaney,  Donald Thompson, Merrick Posnansky, John Alexander, William  Davies, Chris Stray, and of course Bruce Howe. Academic couples  such as the Sievekings, the Evans, and the Barnes were  wonderful.

Dr Leedham-Green, Anne Thomson, Phyllis Hetzel, Robin Boast,  Kate Perry, Sue Tomlinson, Jackie Wilson, Anne and Chips, Tessa  Stone, Cathy Gere, Paula Gould, Jessica Martin, Mina Lethbridge,  Rachel O’Leary, Joyce Reynolds, Jennifer Hogarth, Mrs St  Joseph, Julia Roberts, Clare Fell, Mary Crook, Mrs  Pulvertaft-Green, and Betty Raven Saumerez Smith shared expertise  and ideas. Suzanne Daley translated Garrod’s letters. Mrs  Ruth Grey, Kate Pretty, and the Faculty Board of Archaeology gave  access to the Faculty Minutes. Dr T. J. Mead gave permission to  study restricted University Archives material. Sister St Paul  Evans and Sister Rosario, who knew Garrod at the Cambridge  Catholic Chaplaincy for women, Lady Margaret Hall, shared their  memories. The Phillips family allowed me to read C. W. P.’s  Memoirs. Mrs Jenifer Glynn gave permission to quote her sister,  Rosalind Franklin. Mrs Lethbridge discussed her husband’s  unpublished Memoirs and over the years has become a dear  friend.

Dr Jane Renfrew and Professor Paul Mellars were steady Supervisors.

Jane Callander daily discussed results and, when research  money ran out, funded my trip to the MAN. She also alerted me to  Rosalind Franklin’s letters and arranged permission from  the Garrod family to quote the Latin scroll presented to  Professor Garrod at her retirement. Susan Bourne from Newnham  College did the fine translation of the scroll.

I have given editorial control to the people interviewed. The quotes used in this essay have been approved.

I regret that I must conclude this paper. It has been my  pleasure to meet all involved.


Written References:

Annan, N.G. 1955. The Intellectual Aristocracy, in J.H. Plumb,  (ed.) Studies in Social History: A Tribute to G.M.  Trevelyan: 241--87. London: Longmans, Green.

Bar-Yosef, O. and J. Callander. In press. Dorothy Annie  Elizabeth Garrod, in G.M. Cohen and M.S. Joukowsky (ed.),Women  in archaeology: the first generation, the pioneers.

Burkitt, M. 1921. Prehistory: A study of early cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin with a short preface by L’Abbé BreuilCambridge: Cambridge University  Press.

Burkitt, M. 1933. The Old Stone Age: a study of  Palaeolithic times. Cambridge: Cambridge University  Press.

Clark, J.G.D. 1937. Review of The Stone Age of Mount  Carmel: Excavations at the Wady el-Mughara 1, by D.A.E. Garrod and D.M.A. Bate, Proceedings of the Prehistoric  Society 3 (2): 486--8.

Clark, J.G.D. 1989. Prehistory at Cambridge and Beyond. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Cornford, F.M. 1908. Microcosmographia Academica: being a guide for the  young academic politician. Cambridge: Bowes and Bowes. Council of the Senate Minutes 1938--1942. Cambridge University Archives: Min.I. 26 &  27.

Daniel, G. 1986. Some small harvest: the memoirs of Glyn Daniel. London:  Thames and Hudson.

Elections to Professorships 1883--1944. Cambridge University Archives: O.XIV.54.

Elections to Professorships 1944--1960. Cambridge University Archives: O.XIV.54A

English, R. 1939. The Disney Professor Elect of Archaeology. Cambridge  Review 60: (1478): 382.

Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology Board Minutes 1927--1943. Cambridge University Archives: Min.V.92a.

Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology Board Minutes 1944--1947. Cambridge University Archives: Min.V.94.

Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology Board Minutes 1947--1952. Cambridge University Archives: Min.V.95.

Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology Board Minutes 1952--1954. Cambridge University Archives: Min.V.96

Garrod, D.A.E. 1934. et-Tabun Diary. Fonds Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin  de la Bibliothèque du Musée

des Antiquités Nationales de Saint Germain-en-Laye.

Illustrated London News. 1926 New relics of man 20,000 years old: the Gibraltar skull.  August 28, 1926: 379.

Johnson, G. 1994. University politics: F. M. Cornford’s Cambridge  and his advice to the young academic politician. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leedham-Green, E. 1996. A concise history of the University of Cambridge.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lethbridge, T.C. [1965]. The ivory tower. Unpublished memoirs in possession of  Mrs Lethbridge.

Newnham College Council Minutes 1939--1946. Newnham College Archives.

Newnham College Roll Letter 1928--1952. Newnham College Archives.

Phillips, C.W. [1975-1980]. Unpublished Memoirs in possession of the Phillips  family.

Rouse, S. 1997. Ethnology, ethnobiography, and institution: A.C. Haddon  and Anthropology at Cambridge. Unpublished Ph.D dissertation, Cambridge University  Library Manuscripts 20900

Smith, J. 1968. Letter to Barbara White at Newnham College. Box 72:  Inventory 33433. Fonds Suzanne Cassou de Saint-Mathurin de la Bibliothèque du  Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint  Germain-en-Laye.

Smith, P.J. 1997. Grahame Clark’s new archaeology. Antiquity  71 (271): 11--30.

Smith, P.J., J. Callander, P.G. Bahn and G. Pincon 1997. Dorothy Garrod in words and pictures, Antiquity  71 (272): 265--70.

Status of Women in the University [1946--48]. Cambridge University Archives: Registry File  R2930

Webster, D.B. 1991. Hawkeseye: the early life of Christopher  Hawkes. Far Thrupp: Alan Sutton.



Contributions arranged by Dr Jessica Martin and Lucy Cavendish  College, Cambridge, Professor Bar-Yosef and the American School  of Prehistoric Research [Peabody Museum of Harvard University],  The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,  The Garrod Fund of the Cambridge Department of Archaeology, the  LEE Foundation, Anne and Chris Chippindale, and Jane Callander  funded this research.

This paper is dedicated to Klaudiusz, Loren, Lester, Tadzio,  and Jane.