Shortly after graduating from Wellesley in 1935, Phyllis Williams Lehmann began her graduate work at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, which ran the excavation on Samothrace, a remote island in the North Aegean. Dr. Lehmann did much of her early work on Samothrace with her archeologist husband, Karl Lehmann. She was assistant field director of the excavation from 1948 to 1960, acting director from 1960 to 1965, and remained closely involved with Samothrace for the rest of her career.
Working on Samothrace in 1949, Phyllis Lehmann made one of her most important discoveries, a tall marble statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, the third of its type to be unearthed from Samothrace. Among Lehmann’s other notable accomplishments was reuniting the first Nike found on Samothrace in 1863, held at the Louvre, with her missing right hand, which Lehmann’s team unearthed in 1950.
In addition to her work in the field, Dr. Lehmann was a member of the Smith College faculty from 1946 to 1978, acting as dean of the college from 1965 to 1970. Dr. Lehmann's many books include The Pedimental Sculptures of the Hieron in Samothrace (1962) and Samothrace III: The Hieron, which was awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award of the Society of Architectural Historians in 1969.
Phyllis Lehmann died in her home in Haydenville, Massachusetts in 2004
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