Index of Posts: Slices of Shona's Life
Memories of Shona

From Monica Green

Memories of Shona

Dear Maggi (if I may),

I communicated with the Chair of History at UMKC shortly after Shona's death and sent him a copy of the letter of support I wrote for Shona the year before last when she was applying for the I Tatti scholarship.  

I could go on for pages about how wonderful and pathbreaking Shona's scholarship was (and augured to be in the future).  Indeed, if you've seen that letter, I in fact *have* been known to go on for pages about her work.

But what has elicited this outpouring of remembrance from others was the same thing that most struck me about Shona:  her generosity and curiosity, her frankness and her boldness, her sense of fun and her sense of the seriousness of history and the importance of "getting it right."

One anecdote from 2005:  I was working on a chapter of my book and it dawned on me that there might have been a significant change in medical practitioners' therapeutic practices because of the plague.  So I wrote to Shona asking her if anything was mentioned in the wills from the time of the Black Death that she was working on.  I closed my query, "If this is a crazy question, just say so."  

Well, sure enough, Shona had both the "archival goods" and the generosity to offer a rich answer my question:  "I can't think of any reason why a 14th-century testament would include such explicit and precise medical info [as you're inquiring about]. I certainly have never seen anything like it. No testament even mentions the plague! However, I don't think your question is crazy at all, because it got me wondering how you could find such info."  And so it went.  

My first thought when I heard of Shona's passing was of her children.  I have not met them but I heard of them whenever Shona and I talked.  I want them to know how truly wonderful their mother was, and that so much of her wonderfulness was captured in her humility, her pride in her work, and her joy in life.  She has given you an amazing inheritance.

Monica Green
Professor of History
Arizona State University

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