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Elfriede Regina and Georg Nicolaus Knauer correspondence with Homer A. Thompson

Scope and Contents

The Elfriede Regina and Georg Nicolaus Knauer correspondence consists of thirty unique items, mostly letters and postcards, which are most often addressed by Homer Thompson to Elfriede (Kezia) Regina Overhoff Knauer. Roughly one-third of the correspondence is addressed by Thompson to both Kezia and her husband, Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer, sometimes with the salutation of "NI-KE," which is a combination of the first letters of the Knauers' names as well as a nod to the trio's mutual professional interests. A few pieces of correspondence are exclusively from Dorothy Burr Thompson to either Kezia only or the Knauers. The contents of all the correspondence suggest both a shared interest in their respective professional work and a warm personal relationship among the four parties. Some letters also suggest a working professional relationship, in particular, between Homer and Kezia. One carbon copy letter in the collection is from Kezia to Homer about a translation project in which Kezia was participating on behalf of Homer. Homer's correspondence with Kezia also suggests that Homer vetted and encouraged Kezia's work.

Other materials in the collection include a letter of invitation to the Knauers from The American School of Classical Studies at Athens for Homer Thompson's 90th birthday party, a poem in Latin written by the Knauers on the occasion of his 75th birthday, and a humorous drawing by Kezia for his birthday.


  • Creation: 1974-1996


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are welcome to publish, reproduce, and use the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center’s holdings in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. Under the Fair Use doctrine, users may freely reproduce materials for personal research, teaching, and/or scholarship. Under the same doctrine, users may cite or publish selected passages and/or quotations for comment and criticism. In accordance to U.S. Copyright Law, researchers seeking to reproduce and/or publish materials in the entirety and/or for commercial purposes will require the permission of the copyright holder.

The Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright to materials generated by Institute employees over the course of their work for the Institute. Where the Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright, researchers are free to reproduce materials for one-time, non-commercial purposes. For all other cases, researchers are responsible for contacting the Archives Center to request permission at: For all materials for which the Institute is not the copyright holder, researchers that choose to pursue publication and/or reproduction are responsible for determining the individual who does hold the copyright and requesting permission directly from that individual. Researchers with questions regarding the reproduction or use of archival materials can contact the Archives Center to request help at:

Biographical / Historical

Elfriede (Kezia) Regina Overhoff Knauer (1926-2010) was a German-born scholar with wide-ranging interests including classical studies, art history, archaeology, and East Asian studies. She earned her Ph.D. in 1951 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, and married Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer that same year. The Knauers emigrated to the United States in 1975. Kezia held museum posts in Germany and the United States. She died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Georg Nicolaus (Nico) Knauer (1926-2018) was a German-born classical philologist. In 1952, he earned a Ph.D. from Hamburg University, which was followed by various academic appointments, including on the Faculty of the Freie Universität Berlin. He spent the 1973/1974 academic year as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Historical Studies. After emigrating to the United States in 1975, Knauer held a Faculty position with the University of Pennsylvania.

Dorothy Burr Thompson (1900-2001) was a classical archaeologist. Born in Pennsylvania, she attended Bryn Mawr College where she earned her Ph.D. in 1931. While working as the first woman Fellow of the Athenian Agora Excavations, she met Homer Thompson, who she married in 1934. Over the course of her life, she undertook research and writing projects on topics including Greek lyric poetry and ancient gardens, and held various professional posts, including Acting Director of the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as visiting professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University and Oberlin College. She died in Hightstown, New Jersey.

Homer A. Thompson (1906-2000) was a Canadian-born classical archaeologist who earned a Ph.D. in 1929 from the University of Michigan, where he also became acquainted with The American School of Classical Studies at Athens excavation of the Athenian Agora -- a project that would occupy him for the remainder of his life. From 1933-1947, he was on the Faculty of the University of Toronto and Assistant Director of the Royal Ontario Museum. In 1947, he was appointed to the Faculty of the School of Humanistic Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study. During his tenure as an Institute Professor, and later as a Professor Emeritus, he also served as Director of the Agora Excavations and held various visiting professorships at universities in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. He died in Hightstown, New Jersey.


1 folders

Language of Materials


Custodial History

A letter with the materials dated May 8, 2000, from Kezia Knauer to Glen Bowersock with the Faculty of the Institute's School of Historical Studies asks that this and another collection of correspondence be given to the Institute's archives. Further notations and correspondence with the materials show that the collections were then given to IAS Librarian Marcia Tucker.

Processing Information

Upon receipt, archivists rehoused materials into acid-free containers for long-term storage and preservation.

Guide to the Elfriede Regina and Georg Nicolaus Knauer correspondence with Homer A. Thompson
Finding aid prepared by Erica Mosner.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
This finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2022-01-10: Caitlin Rizzo revised this finding aid to comply with DACS standards.