Margarete Bieber (1879–1978)

Author of The History of the Greek and Roman Theater.

Includes the names: Marget Bieber

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Margarete Bieber was born to a German Jewish family in Schönau, West Prussia (modern-day Przechowo, Poland). She attended private schools in Dresden and Berlin and audited classes at the University of Berlin, which did not accept female students. She then went to the University of Bonn, where she received a Ph.D. with a dissertation on ancient Greek costume in art written under the guidance of archeologist Georg Loeschcke. Margarete Bieber was one of the first women admitted to the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (German Archaeological Insitute, or DAI). She received a prestigious DAI fellowship in 1909 in order to conduct research throughout the Mediterranean region. In Rome, she met many members the German scholarly community working on classical art. She returned to Germany during World War I and worked for the Red Cross. In 1919, she joined the faculty of the University of Giessen as associate professor of classical archeology, only the second woman in Germany to hold such a position. She was made a full professor in 1931. The rise of the Nazi regime in 1933 forced her to flee Germany, and she emigrated first to England and then to the USA. She taught in the Department of Fine Arts at Barnard College in New York, where she became part of a circle of female scholars such as Gisela Richter, Mary Hamilton Swindler, and Hetty Goldman. She was named associate professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University in 1935. She published The History of the Greek and Roman Theater (1939), which became a standard textbook; Laocoon, the Influence of the Group since Its Rediscovery (1942); and German Readings in the History and Theory of Fine Arts (1946). Prof. Bieber retired from Columbia in 1948, but continued to lecture at Barnard, the New School for Social Research, and Princeton University, and wrote Alexander the Great in Greek and Roman Art (1964), The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age (1955), and Ancient Copies (1977). She was awarded the Gold Medal for distinguished service by the Archaeological Institute of America in 1974. Her original research on Greek theater and sculpture, particularly the problem of Roman copies of Greek originals, remains her legacy.
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