North American Scholar

GOLDMAN, Norma Wynick

  • Image
  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1922-03-30
  • Born City: Pittsburgh
  • Born State/Country: PA
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2011-10-01
  • Death City: Fountain Hills
  • Death State/Country: AZ
  • Married: Bernard M. Goldman, 1944
  • Education:

    B.A., Wayne University (now Wayne State University), 1944.  

  • Professional Experience:

    CAMWS ovatio, 1988; Merita award, ACL, 2006.

  • Publications:

    Latin via Ovid, with Jacob Nyenhuis (1977; 2nd ed. 1982); "Reconstructing the Roman Colosseum Awning," Archaeology 35.2 (1982) 57-65; Practice, Practice (electronic workbook), with Michael Rossi (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, rev. ed. 1993) English Grammar for Students of Latin: A Study Guide for Those Learning Latin (Ann Arbor, MI: Olivia and Hill Press, 2nd ed., 1993) The World of Roman Costunme (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993); Cosa: The Lamps, with Cleo Rickman Fitch (Ann Arbor, MI: American Academy at Rome, 1994);  New Light from Ancient Cosa: Clasical Mediterranean Studies in Honor of Cleo Rickman Fitch (New York: Peter Lang, 2001); The Janus View: Essays on the Janiculum (Rome: American Academy at Rome, 2007); My Dura-Europas: The Letters of Susan M. Hopkins, 1927-1935 (ed. with Bernard Goldman) (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011).

  • Notes:

    Norma Goldman moved with her family to Detroit in her teens and never really left. Her 48-year career at her alma mater was chiefly distinguished by her indefatigable devotion to making learning Latin as pleasant and culturally enriching a process as possible, teaching Introductory Latin, Life in Ancient Rome, and Etymology. In the summers she was a regular fixture at the American Academy in Rome and regularly guided students energetically around the great sites, linking the Latin language, literature, and monuments into a seamless story as late as the last summer of her life. Her classroom approach is embodied in her several textbooks. 

    Goldman made a considerable contribution to Roman archaeology. Her friend Cleo Rickman Fitch (1910-1995) had joined the archaeological investigations at Cosa, north of Rome, in 1962. She had been assigned to catalogue the nearly 1200 terra-cotta lamps (largely in fragments) existing at the site. Though almost all had been crushed in the various rebuildings of the forum and other parts of the city, Fitch set about carefully cataloguing and expertly drawing the pieces. In 1979 she invited Goldman to join her. In the course of her work, Goldman even acquired the potter's skills to have a clearer understanding of the craftsmanship that went into the lamps. This indirectly led to her efforts to determine the formula for making Roman concrete, which won her a featured appearance on the BBC's Nova program about the Colosseum. A quarter century after they began their collaboration,  Fitch and Goldman published Cosa: The Lamps. She also participated in archaeological digs at Caesarea in Israel and Persepolis in Iran. In her 70s she began to practice underwater archaeology. 

    Skill in sewing learned as a young girl led to another interest in her chosen field. She combined her knowledge of needlecraft and archaelogy in 1982 to show that the velarium that shaded spectators from the afternoon sun at the Colosseum was made of sail canvas and plied on site by sailors from Misenum stationed near the building "to handle the rope and cloth." During an interview on the Nova television program in 1997, she spoke not only of the velarium but of he Roman use of volcanic sands from the Bay of Naples to make waterproof concrete. She gave nearly 30 shows of Roman costume at home and abroad, published a scholarly book, The World of Roman Costume and produced a video for students, "Let's Wrap: 1000 Years of Roman Costume." 

    She had a particular fondness for the American Academy at Rome, which she visited for 31 summers in succession. With Katherine A. Geffcken she published an architectural history of the Academy. 

    With her colleague Edith M.A. Kovach she founded the Detroit Classical Association which she served as president for a number of years. She was secretary of antiquities at the Detroit Institute of the Arts in which capacity she led numerous tours of Rome and the Bay of Naples for the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Her final project was a joint effort with her husband Bernard, an art historian who had gathered the letters of Susan M. Hopkins who, with her husband Clark, comprised half the original team of archaeologists excavating the site of Dura-Europos which had lain buried until just after World War I.

  • Sources:

    Michele Valerie Ronnick, APA Newsletter (Summer/Fall 2011).

  • Author: Michele Valerie Ronnick