Paul Weiss, 1901-2002
Paul Weiss, who died in Washington, D.C. on July 5 at the age of 101, taught at Bryn Mawr College from 1931-45, chairing the philosophy department in 1944-45. Later, he taught for many years at Yale (1945-69) and the Catholic University of America (1969-91, 1993-94). He is remembered as a lively and dedicated teacher and a prolific author.

Alumnae/i and faculty members who have reminiscences of Paul Weiss at Bryn Mawr, or at Yale or Catholic University, are invited to send them to the Editor of the Alumnae Bulletin (101 North Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899) for future consideration.

Phyllis Pray Bober, 1921-2002
Phyllis Pray Bober, 81, Leslie Clark Professor Emerita in the Humanities, a scholar of Renaissance art and its relationship to classical antiquity, and a pioneering scholar in culinary history, died of cancer on May 30 at her home in Ardmore, PA. She was dean of Bryn Mawr's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1973 to 1980, and professor of classical and Near Eastern archaeology and history of art until her retirement in 1991.

Her many colleagues, former students and friends gathered at a September 21 memorial in Thomas Great Hall to celebrate her academic life and legacy.

"After her retirement, Phyllis did not change much, as she continued to advise her students, attend lectures and colloquia and generally to lend her vitality to any Bryn Mawr enterprise she found worthwhile," recalled Professor of History of Art Dale Kinney. "Had she not been undergoing treatment for cancer, she would have led an Alumnae Association trip to Sicily last fall. She was an invigorating force on campus until weeks or even days before she died."

"We have all profited from Phyllis' intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, and from her personal warmth, kindness and fabulous hospitality," said President Emeritus of the College, Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. '69. "I will miss Phyllis in so many venues. One of our liveliest and most delightful colleagues, she gave us all at the end an exemplary lesson in dignity and in courage."

"For Renaissance scholars like myself, Phyllis Pray Bober was a force to be reckoned with," said President of the College, Nancy J. Vickers. "The kind of work to which she chose to dedicate her brilliance and meticulous care participates in a special category of legacy to a discipline, one that generates and supports the work of others, one that truly endures."

Raised in Portland, ME, she earned a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College and a master's and a doctorate in archaeology and history of art from New York University.

She was chosen as a young scholar to organize a monumental project, The Census of Classical Works Known to the Renaissance, which remained her focus for more than 40 years. The census grew into the standard resource for the subject, and she considered it her most significant work.

She was an instructor at Wellesley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University. She founded the department of fine arts at the old Heights campus of New York University in the Bronx and served as its chairwoman from 1967 to 1973.

Her 1999 book, Art, Culture and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy (University of Chicago), explored connections between food and art from prehistory through the late Gothic period. She was working on a second volume, covering the Renaissance through the early 20th century, when she died. She also published Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture: A Handbook of Sources in 1986.

She initiated a course in culture and cuisine at Bryn Mawr and in 1982 prepared a legendary Roman feast that included an entire wild boar roasted in a college oven. "The boar arrived, gutted and that was all," she later recalled. "The hooves were on, with this bristly hair, and it smelt to high heaven."

She served as president of the College Art Association from 1988 to 1990; was elected to the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome in 1995 and to the American Philosophical Society in 1999 and, because of her work in culinary history, to the Dames d'Escoffier in 1995.

Suzanne G. Lindsay, Ph.D. '83, who was a graduate student in history of art when Bober was dean, recalled at the memorial: "The words 'vitality' and 'vigor' have come up time and time again today. Iwant to share with you a very precise image that will tie together many of her attributes: dancing with Professor Charles Mitchell. We used to have departmental Christmas parties in the Quita Woodward Room. When the rock and roll music would come on, the first to step out would be this Junoesque creature and 'Ji miny Cricket', dancing with the full joy of their very different physiologies and the whole joy of their minds and complete pleasure in being human beings."

"What Iwant, finally, to emphasize is not all of the knowledge that made Phyllis a true Renaissance woman, but that she was a complete person," said Rhys Carpenter Professor Emerita of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Brunilde S. Ridgway, Ph.D. '58. "She was also very much a mother. I, too, have sons, and I know how much she cared for her two sons."

She is survived by sons Jonathan and David, and her longtime companion, Ted Barnett.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Phyllis Pray Bober Art and Archaeology Fund, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.

Read Phyllis Pray Bober's Charles Homer Haskins Lecture for 1995, "A Life of Learning"





cover icon Return to Winter 2002 highlights

MHK