The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project

search icon
jQuery UI Tabs - Default functionality jQuery UI Accordion - Collapse content

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016

The research and development for the 'Portrait of a Girl' have been undertaken for the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Washington. Freshman student Claire Summa created a Storymap, Omeka Exhibit and printed Poster with research materials and guidance from Dr. Sarah Ketchley.

Thanks also to Dr Dietrich Seybold for generously sharing his extensive knowledge of connoisseurship, Morelli, Richter and Berenson.

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016

Undergraduate Research Symposium May 20th 2016

The Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium is a chance for undergraduates to present what they have learned through their research experiences to a larger audience. The Symposium also provides a forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss cutting edge research topics and to examine the connection between research and education. The Symposium includes poster and presentation sessions by students from all academic disciplines and all three UW campuses, plus invited guests. 


12.45pm - 2.30pm Reimagining the Past: The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project. Digital Humanities, the Golden Age of Egyptian Archaeology and the 'Invisible Diarist' 

Oral Presentation by Karena Vongampai, Nitya Sampath, Claire Summa & Jiafei Li 

As millionaire art collector turned excavator Theodore M. Davis’s mistress, Emma B. Andrews documented significant archaeological excavations during the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Egyptian archaeology at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Within the pages of her journals, Emma detailed annual voyages along the Nile for over more than two decades, providing important contemporary insights into Egyptian society, both native and expatriate.  The goals of our Diary Project include the digitization and publication of diary content along with wide-ranging biographical and historical research. To date, student interns have transcribed all 19 volumes of the original diaries. This year we have focused on completing structural markup to prepare the texts for online publication.  Our historical research has been wide-ranging, bringing to light many contemporary images of family, friends, fellow travelers, archaeological sites and Nile travel. However, we have not yet discovered a clear photograph of Emma herself.  Although she was the daughter of a prominent Ohio family, and a nexus of archaeological and social activity in Egypt, her controversial affair with Theodore Davis may have caused her family to destroy documents and photographs after her death in 1922.

Using digital tools and methodologies, our intention is to use the information we have gathered programmatically from the diaries as the basis for creating an artist’s sketch of Emma Andrews.  We have customized a generic Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) tagset to create a new ‘trait’ tag enabling us to document physical characteristics and automatically compile them in a database.  We will be incorporating similar details mined from related contemporary diaries and correspondence that reference Emma. We are completing a pictorial analysis of close family members along with further written descriptions we have identified to facilitate the recreation of our ‘invisible diarist’. Our proposal melds digital technology, traditional humanities research and an imaginative recreation of the past.

4.00pm - 6.00pm The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project:  Tracking the Mysterious Acquisition and Disappearance of the ‘Donna Laura Minghetti Leonardo’.

Poster Presentation by Claire Summa

In creating this first interactive digital chronology of the history of a little-known painting once fêted as the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, we follow a tale of smuggling and intrigue as the piece moves from the hands of famed Italian art collectors, to Roman dignitaries, American connoisseurs and 'Robber Barons'. Our research has shed light on the fate of this work which had disappeared into apparent obscurity for almost a century.  

The narrative has been developed using the open source online platform StoryMap JS, and seeks to visually guide the user through an exploration of the history and significance of this artwork, allowing users both a focused and customized experience.  

The ‘Leonardo Project’ derives from work completed by interns on the Emma B. Andrews Diary Project, which has been digitizing and researching the late 19th/early 20th century diaries of the mistress of millionaire art collector turned archaeological excavator Theodore Davis. The 5th volume details the acquisition of the 'Portrait of a Girl' and its stealthy exit from Italy, across Europe, and eventually to Davis and Andrews’ home in Newport, R.I. 

Intern work has focused on sourcing and analyzing related contemporary material including correspondence, images and other original documents, along with published scholarly articles, to create a detailed digital timeline narrative available to the public.  We have uncovered the sometimes difficult interpersonal relationships that influenced the movement of the painting, the story behind its mistaken authentication, and how it has ended up hanging in the cozy hallway of a private home in the US.  Our unique digital exhibit gives an unparalleled glimpse into the early twentieth century world of art, politics and acquisition.

Claire Summa

Claire Summa

Claire Summa is a freshman at the University of Washington. She plans to major in Statistics and minor in Microbiology (Virology), and hopes to apply this to epidemiology and global health. She is from Gig Harbor, Washington. Claire loves to read, travel, and learn about other time periods and societies. This is her first year as a research intern on the Emma B. Andrews Diary Project. She has been a key team member completing transcriptions and historical research. 

Claire has taken the 5-credit 'Introduction to Digital Humanities' course offered through the University of Washington's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and taught by Project Director Sarah Ketchley.

Claire says, "I like working on the project because I've learned valuable new skills, and because I love viewing Emma herself as a character study. She was a fascinating woman; I learn something new about her, and the time she lived in, every time I open her diary. The preservation of history and sharing that history with others through digitization and/or curatorial work is something I have always been interested in, and I am lucky to be a part of it on this project."