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Edith Hamilton was born in Dresden, Germany, to American parents and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College and in 1895, went on a scholarship to Germany with her sister Alice Hamilton (later a famous toxicologist) to study humanities and classics at the universities of Leipzig and Munich, intending to earn a doctoral degree. However, women were unwelcome at both institutions and Edith returned to the USA to become the head of the newly-opened Bryn Mawr Preparatory School for Girls in Baltimore. She served in that position for 26 years and retired in 1922. In 1930, at age 62, Edith Hamilton published her first book, The Greek Way, which was instantly popular and continues to be a beloved text on ancient Greece. She went on to become a prolific writer, including works on Greek mythology also studied by millions. The New York Times described her as the classical scholar who "brought into clear and brilliant focus the Golden Age of Greek life and thought. . . with Homeric power and simplicity in her style of writing." She's the subject of a memoir by Doris Fielding Reid, a former student, called Edith Hamilton: An Intimate Portrait (1967).
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