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Green, Rosalie B.

    Full Name: Green, Rosalie B.

    Other Names:

    • Rosalie B. Green

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 20 August 1917

    Date Died: 24 February 2012

    Place Born: Yonkers, Westchester, NY, USA

    Place Died: Princeton, Mercer, NJ, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Christianity and Medieval (European)


    Medievalist and director of the Index of Christian Art, Princeton University, 1951-1982. Green was the daughter of Sidney Green, a businessman, and Freda Braunstein (Green). At 5 she moved with her family to New York City attending public schools and then Pratt Institute intending on a career in industrial design. After graduation she worked for textile designers. She applied to the University of Chicago and entered the art history program in 1938 where she earned all her subsequent degrees, beginning with a BA in 1939 and an AM in 1941. While working on her doctorate, she researched at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Harvard University, as a Junior fellow between 1943 and 1946. In 1946, she was made a Reader at the Princeton University Index of Christian Art, the medieval image archive begun by Charles Rufus Morey. Green completed her dissertation under Ulrich Middeldorf with a dissertation on Romaneque symbolic typology, accepted for her Ph.D. in 1948. She secured a job indexing the Art Bulletin for Columbia University, joining Rutgers University, as a Lecturer in 1950. When the Index’s director, William L. M. Burke (1906-1961), developed disagreements with professor E. Baldwin Smith, he resigned; Green was appointed his successor in 1951. She relinquished her lectureship responsibilities at Rutgers in 1958. The Index was the locus for seminars in medieval studies and Green built a close rapport with the scholars. Erwin Panofsky once referred to her as Rosa Virens (Hourihan). Green hired Isa Ragusa (b. 1926) for the ICA who quickly became her “right hand” (Weitzmann). The two published a volume in the Princeton monographs in art and archaeology in 1961, an edited and translated manuscript of Saint Bonaventure, Bibliothèque nationale, Ms. Ital., 115, as Meditations on the Life of Christ: An Illustrated Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century. Her two-volume commentary and reconstruction of the writing of the Abbess of Hohenburg (ca. 1130-1195), Hortus deliciarum, was published with the paleography and historian Thomas Julian Brown (1923-1987) and the musicologist Kenneth Levy (b. 1927). Green retired from the Index in 1982 with the expectation that Ragusa would replace her, but the department instead hired Nigel Morgan. The Princeton Byzantinist Kurt Weitzmann ascribed to Green the international reputation of the Index. “Green attracted capable collaborators to the Index, which became a focal point for iconographical inquiries from all over the world” (Weitzmann).

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Daniel in the Lions’ Den as an Example of Romanesque Typology. University of Chicago, 1948;The Art Bulletin: An Index of Volumes I-XXX. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950; and Ragusa, Isa. Meditations on the Life of Christ: An Illustrated Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961; edited, Herrad of Hohenbourg. Hortus deliciarum. 2 vols. London: Warburg Institute, 1979; [collected essays] Studies in Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic Art. Pindar Press, 1994.


    Who Was Who in American Art. 400 Years of Artists in America. 2nd ed. Edited by Peter Hastings Falk. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999; Contemporary Authors; Weitzmann, Kurt. Sailing with Byzantium from Europ to America: The Memoirs of an Art Historian. Munich: Edito Maris, 1995, p. 99, 177; Hourihan, Colum. “They Stand on His Shoulders: Morey, Iconography and the Index of Christian Art.” in Hourihan, Colum, ed. Insights and Interpretations: Studies in Celebration of the Eighty-fifth Anniversary of the Index of Christian Art. Princeton, NJ: Index of Christian Art/Princeton University Press, 2002, pp.11-12; [obituary:] [Princeton] Town Topics. Thursday, July 19, 2012.


    "Green, Rosalie B.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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