Willing Prosperity

Exploring how to analyze deathbed gifts to and from women in medieval Cairo

Willing Prosperity

Rachel Richman plans to use her Data Fellowship to examine wills by women and wills bequeathing to women in the Cairo Geniza, a cache of thousands of documents found in a synagogue in Egypt and the focus of the CDH-Princeton Geniza Project research partnership. Richman will work with CDH staff to build either a spreadsheet or a relational database in order to identify patterns in the wills and create data visualizations that illuminate women’s role in the medieval Egyptian economy. Richman’s dissertation research on inheritance and women’s property ownership will fill a gap in the scholarship; so far, historians have focused primarily on dowry when studying the wealth of medieval Jewish women. In addition, Richman’s project will offer a model to future historians hoping to analyze wills using computational methods.

Image: Cambridge University Library

CDH Grant History

  • 2022–2023 Data Fellowship