Remembering Natalie Kampen

It is with deepest sadness that I must announce the death of Professor Emerita Natalie Kampen on Sunday, August 12. Below are some words from Barnard's President, Debora Spar, and Professor Helene Foley of the Columbia Classics Department that capture what Tally meant to the Barnard and Columbia communities.

— Holger A. Klein, Department Chair

Natalie Kampen with former graduate students.Natalie Kampen with former graduate students. From left to right: Elizabeth Marlowe, Jim Frakes, Natalie Kampen, Rebecca Molholt and Herica Valladares.


With deep regret, I'm writing to share the sad news that Natalie Kampen, professor emerita of art history and women's studies, passed away this weekend. During her decades as a member of Barnard's faculty, "Tally" chaired women's studies for many years and established strong foundations for the current department of women's, gender, and sexuality studies at the College. She was the inaugural occupant of the Barbara Novak Chair in Art History at Barnard as well as a valued member of the graduate faculty in art history at Columbia. Internationally recognized in her field, Tally's research focused on Roman art and architecture of the imperial period. She was the author and editor of several books, most recently Family Fictions in Roman Art (Cambridge, 2009). After her retirement from Barnard in 2010, she continued to mentor graduate students at Columbia and at Brown University, where she had received her PhD years before.

When former students and colleagues of Tally talk about her, they inevitably speak of her razor-sharp intellect, her contagious sense of humor, her fierce mentorship and advocacy for junior colleagues, her intellectual and personal generosity, and her abiding commitment to the life of the mind. Not only an art historian and a feminist scholar, she was a horse-back rider, a gardener, and a beloved friend and neighbor. She is survived by her dear sister, Susan Udin, and brother-in-law, David, as well as all the friends she cultivated over the years.

Condolences can be sent to 33 Shadow Farm Way, South Kingston, RI 02879. Contributions can be made in Tally's name to Rhode Island Community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Avenue, Providence, RI 02907. Her family will be sitting shiva at 33 Shadow Farm Way for 7 days between 2 and 8 pm, beginning on Monday 8/13/12.

With heartfelt sympathy to her friends and family, Tally will be remembered by all of us at Barnard as a passionate scholar and teacher, whose generosity and enthusiasm touched the lives of countless members of our community. She will be dearly missed.

— Debora Spar, President, Barnard College


Dr. Natalie (Tally) Boymel Kampen, a pioneering feminist scholar and teacher of Roman Art History and Gender Studies, died on August 12, 2012 at home in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She was 68. Kampen taught graduate courses on the ancient world at Columbia University and undergraduate courses in feminist theory and gender studies at Barnard College, where she was the first faculty member to hold the endowed Barbara Novak chair in Art History and Women's Studies, and became professor emerita in 2010. She was most recently a visiting professor of Roman Art and Architecture at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University and co-administrator of a Getty Foundation Grant sponsoring international study of the art and architecture of the Roman provinces. She was one of the world's most notable experts on the history of the Roman provinces.

Dr. Kampen was an internationally known teacher and scholar. She was a research fellow at Oxford University in 2000, received the Felix Neubergh Medal at the University of Gothenburg in 2004, and was a visiting professor of Art History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 2010. As a senior scholar she was interested not only in promoting the careers of her Columbia students but of graduate students in Eastern Europe, South Asia and the Middle East. She was the author of Image and Status: Roman Working Women in Ostia (1981) and Family Fictions in Roman Art (2009), editor of Sexuality in Ancient Art (1996), and author of numerous articles and chapters in scholarly journals, encyclopedias, and books, including Art Journal, American Journal of Archaeology, Art Bulletin, and The Art of Citizens, Soldiers and Freedmen in the Roman World (2006), edited by Metrau and D'Ambra.

Dr. Kampen was born on February 1, 1944 in Philadelphia, the daughter of Jules and Pauline (Friedman) Boymel. She was an enthusiastic supporter of left causes from the 1950s to the present, was an effective force in the development of feminist philosophy, and played a key role in the struggle for women's rights. She raised generations of women's consciousness. She received her BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965 and 1967 and her Ph.D. from Brown University in 1976. She taught Art History at the University of Rhode Island between 1969 and 1988, where she helped to found one of the first Women's Studies programs in New England and became a life-long patron of the Hera Gallery, a feminist artists' collective in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She was an avid horseback rider and a lifelong owner of Labrador dogs. She was married to Michael Kampen from 1965 to 1969 and to John Dunnigan from 1978 to 1989. In all her pursuits, scholarly and otherwise, Tally's generosity was extraordinary. She was famous as a beloved friend and colleague who nurtured lifelong friendships, forged groups of strangers into friends, and could change a person's perspective on life after only an hour's acquaintance in an airport. Even after the onset of her final illness, she led a group of younger scholars to Greece, determined to work with them while she was still able.

Dr. Kampen is survived by her sister, Susan Boymel Udin, her brother-in-law David, and her niece and nephew Rachel and Michael Udin. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Contributions can be made in Dr. Kampen's name to Rhode Island Community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Avenue, Providence, RI 02907. The family will be observing a week of Shiva at 33 Shadow Farm Way, Wakefield, RI 02879. Visitors will be welcome from 2-8 PM beginning August 13, 2012.

— Professor Helene Foley