A ready intelligence

A ready intelligence: Emily Paterson, 1861-1947

MEM.PAT.01b 583 px

Often relegated to a footnote in the history of British Egyptology, the secretaries of the Egypt Exploration Society had always been at the very centre of the discipline. Their networks of explorers, archaeologists, curators, collectors, subscribers, and researchers placed them in an often complicated web of connections. The very first secretarial position of the Egypt Exploration Fund, as it was known from its foundation until 1919, was held by its co-founders, Amelia Edwards and Reginald Stuart Poole. As the Fund developed into the leading British institution for archaeological exploration of Egypt’s past and subscribers increased, further (paid) secretaries were employed. One of the first of these, Emily Paterson, presided over the running of the Fund from the death of Amelia Edwards through to her own retirement in 1919. This short essay focuses on the contribution by Emily Paterson to the history of British Egyptology during her years as secretary of the Egypt Exploration Fund.

Click below to explore further:

Assistant Secretary

General Secretary

Retirement and death

Further reading


CarlCarl Graves is a final year PhD candidate in Egyptology at the University of Birmingham and also the Education and Public Engagement Manager at the Egypt Exploration Society. He was previously the Postgraduate Curator of the Eton College Myers Collection of Egyptian Antiquities currently on loan to the University of Birmingham. He has also volunteered at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from 2008 until 2014. (cxg653@bham.ac.uk)


The author would like to thank The Egypt Exploration Society for allowing him to present their archive in the Birmingham Egyptology virtual museum and to introduce a little known character of British Egyptology to the world. Gratitude is also due to Dr Kathleen Sheppard for inspiring further research into Miss Emily Paterson – let’s hope this goes further!