Deborah Manley, one of the co-founders of ASTENE, has died on January 24, 2020, aged almost 88. Deb had a long career as an editor and published many books of original works and compilations on a wide range of topics. It was a holiday in Egypt with her sister Peta Ree and their joint work on a biography of Henry Salt which led to their meeting first Jaromir Malek at the Griffiths Library and through him a number of others studying Travellers in Egypt and the Near East. A conference in Durham, in 1995, organised by John Ruffle and Janet Starkey and a symposium for Harry James held at Kingston Lacey brought together a group of people with similar interests but differing backgrounds who wanted to continue to meet to share their mutual fascination for this subject. ASTENE was founded to promote further study and hold regular conferences which have been an important part of the association’s history.
Deb was a very active member until ill health made this impossible. She organised conferences with Janet Starkey, she set up several very successful study days at Rewley House in Oxford, she edited the bulletin for two years, she organised the first ASTENE holiday in Cairo and was a member of the committee.
Deb very firmly believed in the importance of encouraging younger people to be involved and that it should be a very inclusive society blending academics and everyone with an interest in travellers in the ASTENE area regardless of background or age. This belief, shared with many of the other members, has undoubtedly contributed to the friendly atmosphere conference attendees have always felt and the variety (sometimes even eccentricity) of contributions to the papers. Despite having many other interests, Deb’s concern with ASTENE was the core of her thoughts and activities for many years.
She was an inspiration to many in ASTENE, greatly encouraging to younger members and always generous in sharing her time, knowledge and research. A conference bursary in her name is already in place to commemorate her role in the establishment and ongoing development of ASTENE.