The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce a gift from Karelisa Hartigan, Nassos and April Michas, and an anonymous donor in support of the newly renovated Student Center. The group named the Alan L. Boegehold Room, located on the third floor of the Annex, in honor of an esteemed scholar who made immeasurable contributions to the American School and the field of Classics.

Alan Boegehold demonstrates a gesture.

Boegehold uses a gesture to demonstrate to Colin Edmonson the blinding of the Cyclops shown on the vase in the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, 1981 (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

Alan L. Boegehold (1927–2015) was one of the giants of the American School. His named room commemorates the adroitness, dedication, and ebullient personality that made him a cherished friend, respected teacher, and beloved colleague. Boegehold's talents, interests, and experiences ranged far and wide: he was an Army veteran, accomplished philologist, consummate archaeologist, eminent professor, amateur mycologist, as well as an avid squash and tennis player. His intellectual pursuits were equally diverse, encompassing not only epigraphy and archaeology but also ancient and modern Greek poetry.

Alan Boegehold as Managing Committee Chair

Boegehold as Managing Committee Chair, ca. 1990 (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

Boegehold's prodigious association with the School spanned more than half a century. He first arrived in Athens in 1955 as a Thomas Day Seymour Fellow and was a Charles Eliot Norton Fellow the following year. He later served four times as Director of the Summer Session (1963, 1964, 1974, 1980), once as Annual Professor (1968–1969), 23 years as an officer of the Managing Committee (Secretary 1965–1975, Vice-Chair 1985–1990, Chair 1990–1998), 13 years as a trustee (1990–2003), 12 years as a trustee emeritus (2003–2015), 16 years as a Gennadeion overseer (1995–2011) and four years as an overseer emeritus (2011–2015). At the School's 130th anniversary celebration in 2011, the Alumni/ae Association honored Boegehold with its first Aristeia Award, which recognizes distinguished alumni/ae who have provided exceptional service to the School and extraordinary support for its mission.

Alan Boegehold accepts the Aristeia Award.

Boegehold accepts the Aristeia Award at Cotsen Hall in 2011 (photo by H. Akriviadis)

Alan Boegehold with his Aristeia Award.

Boegehold with his Aristeia Award, 2011 (photo by H. Akriviadis)

"I believe the School should continue to do what it has always done best—serve as a training ground for classicists and archaeologists of the future," said Boegehold. "Ι've always liked the quality of conversation at the School. It provides an ideal gathering point for interesting people," he observed. Please click here to read Boegehold's Managing Committee Chair report, "At Home in Athens," from the American School's Fall 1991 Newsletter.

Alan Boegehold leads On-site with the ASCSA.

Boegehold reads Pausanias's description of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia tο Floyd DeCheser, Catherine Vanderpool, John Brooks, Francis Jones, Tim Shaw, Mary Crane, and Julie Boegehold. Boegehold, who was Vice-Chairman of the School’s Managing Committee at the time, and Julie led "On-site with the ASCSA," which took 19 friends of the School on a two-week tour of Athens and the Peloponnese between June 25 and July 11, 1988. This was the first School trip organized for non-specialists (quickly dubbed "Summer Session III" by students in Summer Sessions I and II).

Karelisa Hartigan, Professor Emerita of Classics at the University of Florida, explains, "Alan Boegehold was a professional friend. I was neither his student nor his colleague; we probably met at one of the Classics conventions, and it was one of those instant friendships. I was always glad to talk with Alan at the annual meetings."

Alan Boegehold with kleroterion.

Boegehold with a kleroterion in the Agora Museum of the Stoa of Attalos, ca. 1980 (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

Hartigan continues, "I mostly knew Alan through his scholarship. Although my main focus of study was ancient drama, I pursued an interest in the Athenian law courts for some years and turned to Alan's work frequently. My favorite artifact in the Agora Museum is the jury-court allotment machine (kleroterion), an object obviously included in Alan's discussion of the law courts. As law and legal issues are part of many dramas, a knowledge of Athenian law was important to my reading of the plays. Alan and I also shared an interest in modern Greek poetry. He did translations of Cavafy; I did also and I taught the contemporary poets as part of my work in our Center for Greek Studies and with the Modern Greek Studies Association.

"While our paths crossed mainly through scholarship and professional interests, there were "in Greece" connections as well. In 1965, I won the Eta Sigma Phi Scholarship to the American School, an event that changed my life in so many ways. When I led the School's summer program in 1997, I felt my life had come full circle and that it was my best achievement. Alan, of course, led the summer program several times. He was also associated with the Aegean Institute; I taught at Galatas throughout the 1980s. One summer, Alan came by and gave a lecture on the use of gestures, the subject of his 1999 book. I remember what a pleasure it was to talk with him on the Galatas waterfront.

"So when I wanted to donate a room at the American School in honor of someone closely connected to the institution, a worthy scholar, and someone I considered a good professional friend, Alan Boegehold was the first name I put forward. I am proud that his name will be among those posted in the Student Center."

Alan Boegehold by ballot box.

Boegehold by the ballot box in the Stoa of Attalos basement, ca. 1980 (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

Nassos Michas, a School trustee and Vice-chairman of the Overseers of the Gennadius Library, and his wife April add, "Alan is widely recognized as a great scholar, educator, and talented Classicist, but we appreciated him the most as a wonderful human being."

Alan and Julie Boegehold.

Alan (then Chair of the School's Managing Committee) and Julie Boegehold, 1991

Julie Boegehold reflected on the memorable times they spent at the School. In their first stay, the couple lived in the bedroom at the end of the hall in the Loring Annex, overlooking Aristodimou Street up from Souidias Street. She recalls, "Alan's first and lasting delight was the delicious oatmeal and ever-changing company and conversation at the breakfast table in the Loring Hall dining room, which continued through his lifelong love of the School and Greece. Alan spoke of this deep affection during his Aristeia Award acceptance speech: at the close of a joke, he said, 'everybody has to be somewhere.' That 'somewhere' for Alan was the American School." Boegehold's daughter Lindley Boegehold adds, "We are delighted that his room is next to that of his dear friend Ron Stroud and that they will be neighbors in perpetuity."

Alan Boegehold with Ron Stroud and colleague.

Ronald Stroud, former Mellon Professor of the American School; Boegehold; and a colleague (courtesy of the Boegehold family)

Rob Loomis, President of the American School's Trustees, states, "On behalf of the Trustees, I want to thank the generous donors for memorializing Alan Boegehold's legacy with this named double bedroom. In addition to Alan's substantive achievements, he will be remembered for his skill, judgment, tact, and sense of humor in dealing with various challenges facing the School."

Alan Boegehold with John Camp.

Boegehold (left) with John Camp, former student, friend, and current Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations, 1974 (courtesy of the Boegehold family)

John Camp, Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations at the American School, underscores the extraordinary generosity of his close friend and colleague of 50 years: "While Alan taught at Brown University for most of his career, he spent almost every spare moment in Greece and at the American School, where he had a profound impact on dozens of students."

Boegehold speaks at the Archilochus Conference.

Boegehold speaks at the Archilochus Conference, ca. 2005 (courtesy of the Boegehold family)

Boegehold's longtime friend and colleague, Adele Scafuro, Professor of Classics at Brown University, remarks: "I began teaching at Brown in 1983; Alan had chaired the committee that hired me (it is well-known, I think, that he fell asleep during my interview); he was absent from Brown during my first year, on leave as a Senior Associate Member at the American School. We were colleagues and good friends until he retired from Brown in 2001, and thereafter, we remained good friends and near neighbors until his death in October 2015. For many years, my office was across from Alan's and next door to Bill Wyatt's. Every morning, the two men would carry out their daily routine outside or inside one office or the other: After exchanging pleasantries ('Good morning, Al'; 'Good morning, Bill'), some conversation would follow ('I saw your editorial in the Providence Journal—you don't mince words, Bill'), Alan would leave his briefcase on a chair or in Bill's room, and there would be a comedic search. It was a daily routine of humorous courtesy and lifelong friendship. Alan was a naturally elegant and generous man, an exceptional scholar who valued family, friends, and language; he also loved cartoons and jokes. Friendships stuck with him, especially in Providence, Rhode Island; South Dartmouth, Massachusetts (where he lived); and of course, in Greece. In 1994, he brought a young Greek epigraphist named Angelos Matthaiou to lecture on the Persian War epigrams to his Brown epigraphy seminar. Angelos visited intermittently after that, and Alan always met him in Athens. Finally, in 2014, Angelos visited one last time and brought Alan (then in a wheelchair in South Dartmouth) drawings and photographs of the newly excavated 'Pericles's drinking cup' and delivered a brief lecture on the exciting artifact—a conjoining of friendship and scholarship in one. Alan's scholarship embraced philology and material artifacts alike.

1993 Brown Classics Department

Front row: Adele Scafuro (third from right), Michael Putnam (second from left), William F. Wyatt Jr. (second from right), and Boegehold (far right) with the 1993 Brown Classics Department (courtesy of Brown)

"What I like especially about Alan's work, what I find so appealing, is its directness; it goes straight to the question (in fact, some essays are titled with questions, 'What Was Leogoros Saying?' or 'Kallimachos Epigram 28: What Does Echo Echo?'). His essay 'Three Court Days'— first published in a Symposion volume in 1991 and then as an extended chapter in his Agora volume, The Lawcourts at Athens, in 1995—is exemplary for its depiction of three periods for which datable artifacts and monuments (e.g., voting tokens and court buildings), literary sources, and inscriptions converge to provide a blueprint for the working of the Athenian court system and its legal procedures. It is mandatory reading for anyone interested in law—for me, it certainly has inspired a decades-long engagement with Greek law and epigraphy. Alan often started with a simple observation—perhaps about the lettering on a vase or a word in a decree—and then went after it, digging deep and beyond the letters to find the historical and cultural edifice behind it. His 1972 essay 'The Establishment of a Central Archive at Athens' is one such early example, a landmark piece that begins by examining the meaning of τὸ δημόσιον in an Attic decree. Alan loved writing, both good prose and good poetry, but also cared about individual words and letters and letter forms, both ancient and modern. He read world poetry and shared with friends his favorite poems, which included those of Zbigniew Herbert. Alan himself wrote poems, many situated in Greece, and translated Cavafy, for decades and decades."

Boegehold's Festschrift, Gestures

Boegehold's Festschrift, Gestures

Geoffrey Bakewell and James Sickinger co-edited Boegehold's Festschrift (pictured above). Both were Boegehold's students at Brown and wrote their dissertations under his direction; both credit him for passing on to them his love of Greece and the American School. Bakewell is Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Chair of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Rhodes College and a former Whitehead Professor at the American School. Sickinger is Associate Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics at Florida State University and a former Mellon Professor at the American School. Below are excerpts from Gestures about their beloved mentor:

"At Brown, Alan was an inspirational teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Among his hallmarks were his patience, his willingness to entertain new ideas, and his approachability. In Greek reading classes, he patiently led students through difficult texts; in Greek prose composition, he entertained various translations into Greek. Alan's courses also inculcated in students a respect for scholarship and a sense that their work was part of something greater in scope. He himself was a student of Sterling Dow, who had been a student of William Scott Ferguson. And Alan's students became part of that same tradition. In his unassuming way, Alan constantly helped us to see our debt to the great scholars in whose footsteps we follow. Moreover, Alan treated students as peers and colleagues whose ideas merited airing and respect. His office door was regularly open, and he was always willing to read authors, both Greek and Latin, even ones outside his primary research interests, with undergraduate and graduate students alike. The range of contributions to this volume best illustrates how freely and widely he gave of his time. Over the years, he has supervised some ten doctoral dissertations on topics ranging from Attic inscriptions and the Gortynian law code to authors such as Aeschylus, Isaeus, and Xenophon."

Bakewell and Sickinger recall that some of their fondest memories of Alan come from indelible moments with him. For example, the best way to discuss Aeschylus was, without a doubt, seated on a dock, slurping raw oysters fresh from the water off Great Neck. Fittingly, they concluded their Festschrift tribute to him on a personal note, praising Alan "not only as scholar and teacher, mentor, and administrator but also as a friend. He appreciates many of life's facets and helps others value them as well. Indeed, he has been without peer in helping his students locate the life of the mind within robust, rich, and fully satisfying lives. He deserves far more than a 'gesture' [the title of the Festschrift volume], for he has helped us celebrate the full range of human milestones."


Alan L. Boegehold was born on March 21, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan, to Alfred L. (a scientist and personal adviser to the president of General Motors) and Katherine E. (née Yager) Boegehold. He graduated from the Detroit Country Day School in 1944 and then enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program, a military training program instituted by the U.S. Army during World War II. While stationed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Boegehold met the late Mortimer Chambers, who would become a lifelong friend and a future legend in the world of Ancient History.

Alan and Julie Boegehold on an American School summer trip.

Alan and Julie Boegehold on a 1957 American School summer trip (courtesy of the Boegehold family)

After his military service, Boegehold enrolled at the University of Michigan to study classics, a subject that came readily to him: "It was one of the easiest and most natural of things for me to do," he said. He received his B.A. in Latin in 1950 under the tutelage of Frank Copley, Orsamus Pearl, and Roger Pack and then worked for a short period as an insurance claims adjuster. Chambers, who had matriculated at Harvard, strongly encouraged Boegehold to join him there. Boegehold applied and was accepted in 1952. Once at Harvard, he says, "Ι never looked back." He and Chambers studied under renowned professors Sterling Dow (who is also honored with a suite on the third floor of the Annex, next to the Stroud and Boegehold rooms), Eric Havelock, Mason Hammond, and Peter Elder. Among Boegehold's classmates were Charles Rowan Beye, William M. Calder III, James Day, David Pingree, Michael C. J. Putnam, and William F. Wyatt Jr. In the following decades, several of them rejoined him as colleagues at Brown University and helped build its Classics Department into one of the nation's finest. In 1954, Boegehold earned his A.M. in Classics and married Julie Elizabeth Marshall, whom he had met "on a boat trip on the Charles [River in Cambridge, Massachusetts]. Within a couple of weeks, we decided to get married." The Boegeholds would later have four children: Lindley, David, Alison, and Alan Jr.

The Boegehold family in South Dartmouth, MA.

The Boegehold family in South Dartmouth, MA, summer 1981 (from left: Julie, Alan, Lindley, Alan Jr., David, and Alison; courtesy of the Boegehold family)

The newlyweds went to Athens in 1955. Julie, who had been an editorial assistant at Houghton Mifflin, went to work with Oscar Broneer at Corinth and in the newly completed Stoa of Attalos. Boegehold took part in the School's regular academic program as Thomas Day Seymour Fellow in his first year and as Charles Eliot Norton Fellow during his second. He also participated in excavations at the Athenian Agora for two seasons, under Homer Thompson and Eugene Vanderpool.

Alan Boegehold with the 1962 Brown Classics Department.

Boegehold (front row, fourth from right) with the 1962 Brown Classics Department (courtesy of Brown)

Boegehold returned to the United States in 1957 and began his nearly five-decade teaching career at the University of Illinois. In 1958, Boegehold earned his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Harvard. His dissertation, "Aristotle and the Dikasteria," was written under the supervision of Dow. Boegehold joined the faculty of Brown University in 1960 and spent the next 41 years there, where he was Professor of Classics and intermittently served as the Department of Classics' Chairman (1966 and 1974) and Director of Ancient Studies (1985–1991). Over the years, he devoted much of his time to the American School and was a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Amherst College, and Florida State University. In addition, he held a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1980–1981) and served on the boards of the Aegean Institute (1976–1995) and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (1973–1982).

Alan Boegehold with his grandchildren in Olympia.

Boegehold at Olympia explaining an inscription to his grandchildren, summer 2003 (courtesy of the Boegehold family)

Boegehold's published works were broad and deep. His profound expertise in the Athenian legal system is evident from his writings: his first scholarly article, "Aristotle's Athenaion Politeia, 65.2: The 'Official Token'" (Hesperia, 1960); and his first book, The Lawcourts at Athens (Princeton, 1995). His second book, When a Gesture Was Expected (Princeton, 1999), explored the performative aspects of ancient literature not only in fiction genres such as epic and drama but also in historical, philosophical, and rhetorical works. "Understanding these gestures may help to understand why there is an ellipse in a classical text, where something seems to be missing in the structure of a sentence," said Boegehold. Of this monograph, Chambers remarked, "Again and again he invites us, even forces us, to follow the original author's conceptions of what takes place in the narrative. It is only fair to say that Alan has offered us a new technique for the reading and understanding of written texts." Boegehold also enjoyed reading and writing poetry, evidenced by more creative pieces in his oeuvre such as his celebrated English translation of Constantine Cavafy's lyrical poems (Cavafy: 166 Poems, Axios Press 2009) and three volumes of highly personal verse. He also authored more than 50 refereed articles as well as a number of reviews and shorter pieces. A Festschrift to Boegehold, appropriately titled Gestures, contains 30 essays written by friends and colleagues.

Alan Boegehold talks to Barbara Tsakirgis.

Boegehold talks to Barbara Tsakirgis, former Vice-Chair of the School's Managing Committee, in the School gardens, 1998 (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

In the acknowledgments in Cavafy: 166 Poems, Boegehold recognized the profound impact the School had on his life and career: "Indeed I owe my whole exploration of modern Greece to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and these days especially to the Gennadius Library." Truly, the debt is mutual.

Alan Boegehold with Hunter Lewis.

Boegehold (then Chair of the School's Managing Committee) with Hunter Lewis, President Emeritus of the School's Board of Trustees, in the School gardens, early 1990s (courtesy of ASCSA Archives)

Boegehold died on October 28, 2015, at his home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, with Julie and other family members by his side.

Alan Boegehold

Alan Boegehold


Mortimer Chambers delivers his eulogy during Alan Boegehold's memorial service at Brown University.

Mortimer Chambers delivers his eulogy during Alan Boegehold's memorial service at Brown University

Alan Boegehold's remarkable life was celebrated in a moving memorial service at Brown University in 2015. Boegehold was remembered fondly by family, friends, colleagues, and students, including distinguished scholars such as Ronald Stroud, Mortimer Chambers, John Camp, Adele Scafuro, Edward Cohen, George Huxley, James Sickinger, and others. Watch the ceremony at this link (video courtesy of Brown University).


The Student Center Campaign was launched in October 2018 to raise funds for renovating and expanding the three aging buildings that serve as the intellectual and residential heart of the American School: Loring Hall, the Annex, and West House. This transformative project will increase housing capacity, reduce energy consumption, add state-of-the-art features and technology, and bring the buildings up to the latest technical standards—all while preserving the complex's historical appearance. The Student Center will remain the place where members of the community gather for meals, tea, ouzo hour, holiday celebrations, and lectures—a source of lifelong professional and personal relationships that characterize the collegial and intellectually vibrant atmosphere of the School. This modernized setting will enhance that experience and will meet the needs of the School community well into the future.


The goal of the Student Center campaign is $10.1 million, inclusive of a maintenance endowment. Thanks to generous support from our trustees and others, $8.1 million has been raised to date. The new Student Center will be formally dedicated in June 2022.

To learn more about how you can support this historic initiative, please contact Nancy Savaides, Director of Stewardship and Engagement, at or 609-454-6810. Naming opportunities for a variety of spaces in the Student Center are still available. Donors can choose from a wide range of gift levels to name a room or area in honor of themselves, an American School scholar, or a family member, friend, or group. Please click the links below to view the nameable spaces and options that remain: