Retirement and death

During a reorganisation of the Fund following the Great War of 1914-18 Emily handed in her letter of resignation to the Committee in a meeting on 4th March 1919 (CM.1919. 190-191). She left the Society in August of that year, and in the following Committee meeting it was unanimously voted to offer her life membership to the (newly renamed) Society in acknowledgement of her extraordinary contribution during the Fund’s developing years (CM.1919. 216). She continued to help her replacement, the Society’s new Secretary, Miss Mary Jonas, with the annual exhibitions and managing the publications created from the excavations until she moved to Cornwall to live with her friend Miss Margaret Taylor.

She remained in Redruth, Cornwall until her death on 3rd September 1947 aged 86 years old. The Egypt Exploration Society sent their condolences to Miss Taylor and had a wreath of flowers lain at the funeral.

1947.7 583

Her death is also recorded in the Society’s Annual Report, above (1947: 7), and is mentioned in the editorial of that years’ Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (volume 33: 2). As they noted, her death was the severing of a connection to the Society’s earliest days, an age of pioneering archaeologists and dogged determinism.

CM.1947.68 583

The death of Miss Emily Paterson as recorded in the Society’s Committee minutes from 17th September 1947.

Egyptology owes much to those great names of the discipline, the excavators, scholars and curators – but Emily Paterson, though perhaps not a familiar name to students of Egyptology, is every bit as responsible for the successes of British Egyptology and the ongoing work of the Egypt Exploration Society today. There are many names hidden in archives, secretaries, treasurers, and administrators that often get overlooked, but their contribution to the history of Egyptology is greater than you might first suppose.

In memory of Maria Idowu, Finance and Business Manager of the Egypt Exploration Society 2014-2016: taken from us too early, but having given so much.

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