Larissa Bonfante, a professor emerita in New York University’s Department of Classics, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society. Others elected this year include Warren Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, composer Philip Glass, and University of Miami President Donna Shalala.
Bonfante has published articles or books on Julian the Apostate, Roman triumphs, the Etruscan language, Etruscan mirrors and Poussin, and ancient dress. She has translated the plays of Hrotswitha of Gandersheim and curated the department’s collection of antiquities since 1973. Among her publications is Classical Antiquities at New York University, co-edited with Blair Fowlkes of NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. The work, a publication of NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies, is a catalogue of the most interesting objects from NYU’s archaeological collection, which includes pieces from Egypt, the Near East, Cyprus, Greece, South Italy, and Rome. The purpose of the catalogue is to re-contextualize the objects selected and to make the historic objects accessible to a larger audience.
The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Early members included George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, and in the 19th century John James Audubon, Robert Fulton, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Edison were among those elected. During the 20th century, more than 200 members of the society received the Nobel Prize.