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Isabelle Pingree

August 13, 1933 November 14, 2019
Isabelle Pingree
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Obituary for Isabelle Pingree

Isabelle Pingree was the beloved wife of the late David E. Pingree, Brown University Professor of the History of Mathematics and Classics, and mother of Amanda Pingree. She was the daughter of the late Morris and Frances Sanchirico and sister of the late John A. Sanchirico of Bristol, Connecticut.
A graduate of the University of St Joseph in Connecticut, she went on to study at the University of Toronto. She met her husband David during a visit to Harvard, where he was a member of its Society of Fellows. During the early years of their marriage Isabelle and David travelled in the Middle East and Europe, returning to the University of Chicago and subsequently settling at Brown University in Providence, where they remained for 40 years. Isabelle trained as a bookbinder with Daniel Gisbon Knowlton of the John Carter Brown Library, adding fine binding to her artistic gifts as a watercolorist and gardener. She went on to run her own business, and also served on the board of the John Russell Bartlett Society, running its Margaret B. Stillwell Prize for many years. She and her husband spent sabbaticals in Oxford and London, where the libraries offered special opportunities for her to pursue research into the craft and creators of 15th-century bindings. Following her husband’s death, Isabelle continued to pursue her love of books and bookbinding, as an active member of the Providence Athenaeum and visitor of libraries and private collections wherever she travelled. She especially enjoyed being welcomed in the summer of 2006 as a researcher at the Biblioteca Bodmeriana, housed in the Martin Bodmer Foundation in Cologny, Switzerland. In 2014, she edited together with John M. Steele a collection of her late husband’s essays Pathways into the Study of Ancient Sciences: Selected Essays by David Pingree, published by the American Philosophical Society Press.
Isabelle lived a happy and full life. She was dearly loved by her family as well as by her many life-long friends in places across America and the world. They will miss her generosity, her kindness, and her gentle humor.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Amanda Pingree and Jean-Paul Jacot of Lausanne, Switzerland; sister- and brother-in-law Sarah P. and Mike Dousa of Sarasota, Florida; niece Anne P. Smith, nephews John and Michael Sanchirico, and cousins John, Lucia and Leonard DiVenere, and their families. Memorial services will be announced in 2020.

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