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Henriette Antonia "Jettie" Groenewegen was born in Leyden, the daughter of a minister and professor of religion and of philosophy. Theirs was an intellectually liberal household. She studied Greek and Chinese philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, which was an unusual choice for a young woman of her era. At university, she met Henri Frankfort, and they became engaged in 1920. Jettie earned her master's degree in philosophy in 1921. The following year, she accompanied Frankfort to London so he could study with the famous Egyptian archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie. Frankfort went with Petrie to the archaeological dig at Qau el-Kebir, and on his return, he and Jettie were married. She, too, became interested in Near East civilization and worked as Frankfort's collaborator. For 13 years, the two worked in tandem for up to six months each year on two major archaeological digs: the excavations of the Egypt Exploration Society at el-Amarna, Abydos, and Armant; and the Iraq Expedition of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute in the Diyala River Basin and the Assyrian city of Khorsabad. Jettie Groenewegen acted as camp manager on these expeditions and acquired first-hand knowledge of ancient Aegean, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian art and civilizations. In 1929, they had a son, who was taken along on the archaeological digs. In 1931, when Frankfort was too ill to begin the annual Iraq excavation, Groenewegen stepped in and started the expedition in his stead. The other half of the year, couple lived in Hampstead, London, where they moved in avant-garde artistic and literary circles. After the Iraq Expedition ended in 1937, they bought a country house overlooking the sea in Kimmeridge, near Corfe Castle in Dorset. At the outbreak of World War II, Frankfort moved to the University of Chicago to teach, while Jettie remained in Europe, volunteering with the Red Cross. In 1941, she rejoined Frankfort in Chicago. Jettie Groenewegen suggested a series of talks as part of a public course at the University of Chicago that resulted in the book Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: An Essay on Speculative Thought in the Ancient Near East (1946). She and her husband supplied the introduction, "Myth and Reality," and a conclusion. When Frankfort accepted a professorship and appointment as director at the Warburg Institute, the family returned permanently to England. Jettie published her best-known book, Arrest and Movement, an Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East, in 1951. Jettie stayed in Dorset, where she maintained an active social life, while Frankfort lived in London. The couple got divorced but collaborated on additional manuscripts until Frankfort's sudden death in 1954. In 1971, Jettie and Bernard Ashmole co-authored Art of the Ancient World, for which she wrote the sections on ancient Middle Eastern art.
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