In Memory of Mary Ellen Soles August 2, 1948 – January 4, 2018
Mary Ellen Carr Soles, former Curator of Ancient Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, is dead at 69. She served as Curator at the Museum for 28 years and transformed its minor collection of ancient art into one of national significance. In her expansion of the collection she was aided first by Gordon and Copey Hanes of Winston-Salem whom she persuaded to donate their own collection of antiquities and after their passing she launched the Friends of Greek Art, an organization of North Carolinians of Greek heritage which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for museum acquisitions. In her expansion of the collection she travelled the world and had many adventures, but was also adamant that the Museum follow the guidelines of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property and the Code of Ethics of the Archaeological Institute of America, and this is because she was also an archaeologist who worked as cataloger and registrar on her husband’s excavation in Crete and realized the damage that the unscrupulous collection of antiquities does to the world’s common cultural heritage. Mary Ellen’s special academic and professional interest was Greek and Roman art.