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Wilhelmina F. Jashemski papers

 Collection 0162-UA

Wilhelmina Feemster Jashemski (1910-2007) was a faculty member in the University of Maryland History Department renowned for her expertise in Roman gardens, specifically those in Pompeii. Through her research and excavation work, she helped to develop the field of garden archaeology. Jashemski began teaching at Maryland in 1946 and remained until her retirement in 1980. This collection chronicles Jashemski's archaeological trips to Pompeii and other Roman ruins and includes her research notes on the subject of Roman gardens, extensive drafts from several of her books and essays, grant applications, speeches, teaching materials, and awards. In addition, there is a significant amount of correspondence from publishers, faculty, and other Roman scholars, as well as personal correspondence from family members and friends. Highlights in the collection consist mainly of drafts, notes, and correspondence related to two of her notable publications The Gardens of Pompeii and A Pompeian Herbal. An entire box is devoted to essays, maps, and correspondence from Gardens of the Roman Empire, a scholarly compilation edited by Jashemski and published after her death. Drafts of letters to be included in Letters from Pompeii, Jashemski's epistolary-style book for young people, are also included.


  • 1945-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1985

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection contains restricted material, please check the series and folder listings for additional information.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


13.50 Linear Feet


Wilhelmina Mary Feemster was born on July 10, 1910, in York, Nebraska, the oldest of four children to parents Howard C. Feemster and Emma L. Groelz. She married physicist Stanley Jashemski in 1946 and moved to the Washington, D.C., area shortly thereafter. Jashemski died on December 24, 2007, at the age of 97.

Jashemski earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics and Latin from York College, Nebraska, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1931. She then served as a public school teacher in Walthill, Nebraska, before beginning the history graduate program at the University of Chicago. She received her doctorate in ancient history from the university in 1942 and specialized in Roman law. Jashemski taught at Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, from 1942 to 1945. After moving east in 1946, Jashemski began her 34-year tenure in the History Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.

During the course of her career, Jashemski established herself as an expert on the history of the gardens of Pompeii, Italy. She first visited Pompeii in 1955 and became the first non-Italian to conduct archaeological excavations there. Jashemski spent 16 summers in Pompeii and examined more than 600 ancient gardens. Her excavations and research helped develop the field of garden archaeology and led to the publication of her two-volume masterpiece, The Gardens of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Villa Destroyed by Vesuvius (volumes published in 1979 and 1993). Later publications include A Pompeian Herbal: Ancient and Modern Medicinal Plants (1999) and The Natural History of Pompeii (2002). At the time of her death, Jashemski was editing a volume on the gardens of the Roman Empire, published after her death.


This collection is arranged into one series

Series 1
The Wilhelmina F. Jashemski Papers

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Dr. Henry Ferry in July 2012.

Related Material

In addition to her personal papers, several of Jashemski's publications can be found in the Marylandia book collection in Hornbake Library. The library subject guide Pompeii Resources in University of Maryland Libraries also includes a section devoted to sources on Jashemski.

Processing Information

This collection is minimally processed mean the majority of the collection remains in the order in which it was received from the donor. Some limited arrangement was performed within boxes to group related materials together. Some folders have been replaced with new acid-free folders. Most photographs are individually sleeved or housed in archival envelopes.

Guide to the papers of Wilhelmina F. Jashemski
Minimally Processed
Minimally processed finding aid created by Amanda Hawk.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742