Some trowelblazers don’t just dig; they also write. In the 1920s and 1930s, journalist Emma Reh covered Mexican archaeology and sociology for Science News Letter, the weekly publication of the DC-based organisation Science Service.
From her base in Mexico, Reh wrote about everything from prehistoric pottery analysis to Maya excavations. Being a science reporter gave her unprecedented access to areas usually off-limits to journalists. “Science…enables a lady to travel and do all sorts of unheard things,” she wrote.
She was particularly fond of weeks-long journeys into Oaxaca. An article ($) in the February 18, 1933, issue of Science News Letter described Reh’s exploits in the ruins of the Mixtec site of Hualmelulpan. “Girl Explorer Adds Ancient City to Map,” read the headline.
Reh returned to the United States in 1935 and worked on issues of food security for the rest of her life.
You can read more about Emma Reh and other pioneering women in science journalism here.
Written by Alexandra Witze – @alexwitze
Emma Reh, in Oaxaca ca 1930s. From the Smithsonian Institute Archives (record number: SIA2009-2150). Not to be reproduced without permission.