Today let’s talk about another female Egyptologist who assisted with the early development of the Egypt Exploration Society in England. Let me introduce you to Kate Bradbury Griffith!
Kate Bradbury was born on August 26th, 1854 in Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester. She was the eldest daughter to wealthy cotton businessman Charles Timothy Bradbury and his first wife Elizabeth Anne Tomlins. Kate had two younger siblings named Harold and Emma. Kate was probably educated at home as a child, but she attended finishing school in Switzerland, where she probably learned German.
Ancient Egypt was her passion, but she was also an avid painter. Botanists apparently sent many samples of her drawings from around Riversvale Hall. In 1882, her father moved to Riversvale Hall, where Kate and her husband would later live.
Kate was among the early supporters of the Egypt Exploration Fund, which was established by Amelia Edwards in 1881 to support British excavations in Egypt. Kate was very good friends with Amelia Edwards, even joining her on a lecture tour of America in 1890. She became a committee member and one of the Fund’s local secretaries, helping to gather subscriptions in Britain.
After Edwards died, Kate took care of her estate, including coordinating Edward’s Egyptian collection being moved and installed at University College London. Kate continued to work for the Egypt Exploration Fund underneath Flinders Petrie. He thanked her in 1889 for preparing Hawara textiles, saying
“all soaked cleaned, and ironed, and finally distributed to various collections; the most important and complete set technologically going to the Manchester Museum.”
Because of her knowledge of German, she translated Dr. Alfred Wiedemann’s Egypt Doctrine of Immortality and Religion of Ancient Egypt into English. She also helped Norman de Garis Davies as a copyist on Petrie’s excavations at Dendera for the 1897/1898 season.
In 1896, Kate married a former student of Petrie, Francis Llewellyn Griffith. He was born in 1862 in Brighton and worked as a student for the Egypt Exploration Fund. He later taught at both UCL, Oxford, and an honorary professor of Egyptology at Manchester University. She collaborated with her husband on translations of ancient Egyptian texts, which were published into a multi-volume work called Library of the World’s Great Literature.
Kate got seriously ill in 1901 and traveled to London for an operation, which was not successful. Her husband then took her to Silverdale near Morecambe Bay to recuperate. She died there on March 2nd, 1902 and is buried in Silverdale. Her husband returned to live at Riversvale with Kate’s father until he died in 1907.
Kate Griffth – http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/4griffith_k_p1890.html
Newspaper of Amelia Edwards in New York – https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv550cxt.6?seq=12#metadata_info_tab_contents