Wace, Helen Charlotte, née Pence, 1892-1982 (archaeologist)
Helen Pence attended the University of Wisconsin (BA in Latin, History, Maths) 1911-1915, then the University of Chicago & University of Wisconsin (MA 1919-1920). Awarded the University of Wisconsin Teaching Certificate and the State teaching certificates in Wisconsin and Illinois, she held a University of Wisconsin Teaching Fellowship 1919-1920 and taught Latin to medical students.
From 1916-1919 she taught at Northrop Collegiate College in Minneapolis, where in her spare time at the end of World War I in 1919 she served as a Red Cross volunteer during the forest fire disaster and then again during the flu epidemic. In May 1919 she was appointed to Canteen Service in the YMCA hut in Times Square in New York as Captain of the Smith College Unit. While there she was selected to teach illiterate men serving long sentences in the army prison on Governor's Island (with an armed guard for her protection), two advanced classes in English and history to college graduates there on grounds of insubordination and regular army at Fort Jay.
She was a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago 1920-1924 and studied at the American Academy in Rome during 1922-1923. She taught at Evanston Township high School 1920-1924 and 1940-1942 and also at Vassar College 1924-1925. She married Alan J. B. Wace in 1925. She had met him at Mycenae (in June 1922) while visiting Greece with the American Academy group. Their daughter Elizabeth (Lisa) was born on January 19, 1931.
In the summer of 1939 she helped her husband A.J.B. Wace conduct excavations at Mycenae. She stayed with him in Greece for the first year of the war, helping the war relief program run by the British and American legations in Athens. When she arrived in the USA in June 1940 (to bring her daughter to safety) she lectured for Greek War Relief (delivering about fifty lectures to various clubs and organisations) and helped to conduct a Junior Red Cross drive in Evanston High School which raised $1200 for the Greek humanitarian cause.
She joined her husband once more four years later in 1944 when Wace took up a new British Council funded post as Professor of Classics and Archeology at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. She taught at the English Girls' College, Alexandria. The couple returned to Mycenae together to excavate in 1950 and upon Wace's death in 1957 she became his literary executor. She also published a much reprinted guidebook to the site of Mycenae. Born November 23, 1892 in Columbus, Indiana, USA, the daughter of William David Pence (d. 1946), Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin and Lottie Gaston (d. 1938), Helen died on March 26, 1982 in Manchester, UK.
Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:
Context & Control Books and Indices, 1920-1969
Helen Wace 1939 Diary, 1939
9 loose leaves from a personal diary written by Helen Wace during the 1939 excavation season between July and August. Much like a day book in terms of content, she records daily life - such as walks, picnics, swims and visitors to the site, Lisa having a cold and being bitten by a dog - in between documenting the discovery of Mycenaean skeletons, pots and ivories and the sorting and cataloguing of finds.