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Dr Sophie T <I>Dobzhansky</I> Coe

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Dr Sophie T Dobzhansky Coe

Birth
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death
25 May 1994 (aged 60)
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
Burial
Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID
203524435 View Source

SOPHIE COE's Ukrainian parents, Natalia Sivertzeva and Theodosius Dobzhansky, the noted geneticist and evolutionary biologist, emigrated to the United States from the USSR in 1927. Sophie, their only child, was born in Pasadena, CA, July 7, 1933. The family moved to New York in 1940 when she was seven years old.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sophie spent her summers assisting at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where Barbara McClintock, the Nobel Prize-winning cytogeneticist, particularly valued the care and gentleness with which she dealt with her experimental plants.

She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1955, majoring in anthropology. Known for her linguistic prowess (speaking Russian and Portuguese) and for keeping a tarantula in a bottle, she continued her postgraduate studies at Harvard and received her PhD in anthropology in 1964.

On June 5, 1955, in a Russian Orthodox ceremony in New York City, she married Dr. Michael Douglas6 Coe, PhD (William Rogers5, William Robertson4, Frederick Augustus3, Robert2, Robert1), an archaeologist and anthropologist renowned for his work on Maya civilization and pre-Columbian Mesoamerican studies, and a professor at Yale. It was the summer of her undergraduate graduation and the day before her final exam in Byzantine history.

They traveled and worked together extensively. In 1969 they bought Skyline Farm in Heath, MA, where Sophie honed her much-admired cooking and gardening skills. They had five children—Nicholas, Andrew, Sarah, Peter, and Natalie.

Sophie translated from Russian selected chapters from Yuri Knorozov's "The Writing of the Maya Indians" (1967). Knorosov based his studies on De Landa's phonetic alphabet and is credited with originally breaking the Maya code. Sophie's translation played a major role in legitimizing his previously derided theories.

She made another unique contribution to the field through her study of native New World cooking, writing a number of scholarly essays for Petits Propos Culinaires (PPC). Her research in this area culminated in America's First Cuisines (1994). This work contained a substantial amount of material on chocolate, which Sophie decided to expand upon for her next book, The True History of Chocolate (1996).

Coe built an extensive collection of books on culinary history including community cookbooks. Her collection contained nearly a thousand volumes from around the world dating from the eighteenth century, as well as a group of manuscript cookbooks. She donated her collection of community cookbooks to the Schlesinger Library before her death, and afterwards her husband gave the library the rest of her collection.

She became seriously ill during the research and writing of her book on chocolate. It was published posthumously in 1996, having been completed by her husband, Michael Coe. It is now in its third edition.

Sophie Coe died of cancer, May 25, 1994, in New Haven, CT.

After her death, Michael Coe, with the help of their friends Alan Davidson and Harlan Walker, set up the Sophie Coe Prize, a charitable trust based in the UK. The prize is awarded annually at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery (which Coe attended every year) to an outstanding and original essay or book chapter in food history. One of the first of its kind at its foundation in 1995, the Sophie Coe Prize remains the most generous and esteemed prize for thorough and readable food history scholarship.

SOPHIE COE's Ukrainian parents, Natalia Sivertzeva and Theodosius Dobzhansky, the noted geneticist and evolutionary biologist, emigrated to the United States from the USSR in 1927. Sophie, their only child, was born in Pasadena, CA, July 7, 1933. The family moved to New York in 1940 when she was seven years old.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sophie spent her summers assisting at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where Barbara McClintock, the Nobel Prize-winning cytogeneticist, particularly valued the care and gentleness with which she dealt with her experimental plants.

She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1955, majoring in anthropology. Known for her linguistic prowess (speaking Russian and Portuguese) and for keeping a tarantula in a bottle, she continued her postgraduate studies at Harvard and received her PhD in anthropology in 1964.

On June 5, 1955, in a Russian Orthodox ceremony in New York City, she married Dr. Michael Douglas6 Coe, PhD (William Rogers5, William Robertson4, Frederick Augustus3, Robert2, Robert1), an archaeologist and anthropologist renowned for his work on Maya civilization and pre-Columbian Mesoamerican studies, and a professor at Yale. It was the summer of her undergraduate graduation and the day before her final exam in Byzantine history.

They traveled and worked together extensively. In 1969 they bought Skyline Farm in Heath, MA, where Sophie honed her much-admired cooking and gardening skills. They had five children—Nicholas, Andrew, Sarah, Peter, and Natalie.

Sophie translated from Russian selected chapters from Yuri Knorozov's "The Writing of the Maya Indians" (1967). Knorosov based his studies on De Landa's phonetic alphabet and is credited with originally breaking the Maya code. Sophie's translation played a major role in legitimizing his previously derided theories.

She made another unique contribution to the field through her study of native New World cooking, writing a number of scholarly essays for Petits Propos Culinaires (PPC). Her research in this area culminated in America's First Cuisines (1994). This work contained a substantial amount of material on chocolate, which Sophie decided to expand upon for her next book, The True History of Chocolate (1996).

Coe built an extensive collection of books on culinary history including community cookbooks. Her collection contained nearly a thousand volumes from around the world dating from the eighteenth century, as well as a group of manuscript cookbooks. She donated her collection of community cookbooks to the Schlesinger Library before her death, and afterwards her husband gave the library the rest of her collection.

She became seriously ill during the research and writing of her book on chocolate. It was published posthumously in 1996, having been completed by her husband, Michael Coe. It is now in its third edition.

Sophie Coe died of cancer, May 25, 1994, in New Haven, CT.

After her death, Michael Coe, with the help of their friends Alan Davidson and Harlan Walker, set up the Sophie Coe Prize, a charitable trust based in the UK. The prize is awarded annually at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery (which Coe attended every year) to an outstanding and original essay or book chapter in food history. One of the first of its kind at its foundation in 1995, the Sophie Coe Prize remains the most generous and esteemed prize for thorough and readable food history scholarship.


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