Author donates rare Egypt collection to AUC
When the desert road to Bahariya reopened in 1978, Vivian ventured out with her camera, often in her blue Beetle Volkswagen, to the remote oasis south of Cairo to document the customs, dialects, and way of life of Bedouin women. She was to explore each of the oases of the Western Desert, in the process amassing a striking collection of artifacts (such as dresses, jewelry, baskets, rugs, and pottery), and photographs. Some of them feature in her bestselling The Western Desert of Egypt: An Explorer’s Handbook, which was published by AUC Press and ran to several editions. Vivian was also the Press’s marketing manager between 1984 and 1988.
“Vivian’s collection is a mine of information about the Egyptian desert and its legacy, filling the huge gap in desert studies after the pioneering research and publications of the explorer Ahmed Pasha Hassanein (1925) and Egyptologist Ahmed Fakhry (1945), said Amr Kamel, Assistant Director, Middle East/Egypt, Rare Books and Special Collections Library.
“It was Kent Weeks, the director of the Theban Mapping Project, who suggested I approach the Rare Books Library about my collection,” explained Vivian. The American Egyptologist initially contacted her to say how useful he found The Western Desert of Egypt. “As we communicated, I told him I was looking for a good home for my material. He liaised with AUC and made it happen,” said Vivian.
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