Children of the West, we are all wayfarers and strangers in an Eastern land…”
-A. Quibell, “Preface”, A Wayfarer in Egypt (1925)
In her opening chapter on Alexandria, amongst descriptions of the remains of the ancient city, Quibell makes special mention of the women weavers near Burg (Borg al Arab), a suburb of Alexandria. Their lives devastated in raids during the First World War, the Egyptian government gave a subsidy for their upkeep. Nina Baird, the English woman in charge of said subsidy, encouraged these Egyptian ladies to turn their domestic weaving skills to commercial use; the carpets and rugs they made were sent to Cairo and Alexandria for sale. It’s hard to know from Quibell’s words what the conditions for these women were like. But the fact that these women and their crafts are among the elements of Alexandrian life that she highlights I think is pretty significant.
When I looked Annie Quibell up in the UCL Library catalogue, I found a copy of her Egyptian History and Art in the Institute library’s Egyptology section. The Institute’s library is another story in itself (involving archaeologist Joan du Plat Taylor). Occasionally inscriptions or book-plates of archaeologists past can be found in the library's copies of old excavation reports and publications. In this case, pasted inside the front cover of the Institute’s copy of Quibell’s Egyptian History was an obituary of the woman herself; a fading reminder of the role she played in the history of archaeology in Egypt.
Quibell, A. 1925. A Wayfarer in Egypt. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
Quibell, A. 1923. Egyptian History and Art with reference to museum collections. London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.
Quibell, A. [c. 1910] The Pyramids of Giza. Cairo: Church Missionary Society.
Young, L. 2014. Annie Abernethie Quibell. Ancient Egypt 14 (4): 16-23.
Young, L. 2013. Tale of a Mysterious Photo Album. Nekhen News 25: 28-29.
Young, L. 2012. Death on the Nile. Nekhen News 24: 29-30.
Nekhen News. 1997. Hierakonpolis Centenary. Nekhen News 9: 12-13.