The Natacha Rambova Archive, Yale University

Archive: Overview1

Born Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy on January 19, 1897, Natacha Rambova pursued a number of diverse careers, in each achieving considerable — and in some cases lasting — success. Unfortunately, her true contributions to the field of Egyptology are not as well known as her other pursuits. Natacha Rambova’s legacy also lives on in her scholarly archive, generously donated by Prof. Edward L. Ochsenschlager in memory of Prof. Donald P. Hansen (1931–2007) to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. The physical transfer of the archive was greatly facilitated by Dr. Christine Lilyquist of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the gift was officially recognized at an event entitled “Natacha Rambova’s Egypt,” which took place on April 17, 2009 at Yale University.

Rambova’s unpublished manuscripts and over 10,000 additional items, including photographs, drawings, notes, and letters, form the Natacha Rambova Archive, housed at Yale University. The diversity of the textual and visual material spans Rambova’s wide-ranging interests, which vary tremendously in time and space. Rambova collected photos, drawings, and paintings not only from Egypt but also Mesopotamia, India, Greece, Italy, Cambodia, Tibet, China, Mexico, Peru, Ireland, and England; the photographs and line drawings within the archive span the period from the fourth millennium BCE through to the nineteenth century CE. The Natacha Rambova Archive is a small, yet significant, piece of the history of Egyptology, and will be made accessible to any scholar seeking information about her life and research.

  1. 1 The overview of the archive and the additional pages of this site are a version of C. Manassa and T. Dobbin-Bennett, “The Natacha Rambova Archive, Yale University,” Göttinger Miszellen 234 (2012): 85–100. The authors would like to thank Prof. John Coleman Darnell and Christine Lilyquist for their assistance with the article and the web–site text.

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