Martha Goodway

Martha Goodway is an American metallurgist, specializing in archaeometallurgy, the study of traditional techniques of mining, smelting, and working metals; and an expert in the use of metals in historical harpsichords.

Early life and education

Martha Goodway was raised in Roslindale, Massachusetts. She graduated from Roslindale High School in 1952,[1] and earned a bachelor's degree in general engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957.[2] She was one of only nineteen women to earn degrees at MIT that year.[3]


After college she became interested in conservation science, and studied with William Young at the Objects Conservation and Scientific Research Laboratory in Boston. Through Young's connections, she became a metallurgist at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory of the Smithsonian Institution. In that job, she worked on such diverse historical artifacts as waterproof Greek vessels,[4] Etruscan mirrors,[5] 18th-century wire jewelry from Germany,[6] and the crankcase of the Wright Brothers' first flyer.[7] She was also consulted for comments on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.[8]

She developed an interest in the use of metals in historical musical instruments, particularly the harpsichord,[9][10] and co-authored a book on the subject in 1987.[11]

Goodway currently holds the title Archaeometallurgist Emeritus at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute.[12]


  1. ^ Roslindale High School Yearbook, 1952.
  2. ^ CEE in Focus: Alumni News (Spring 2011), Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  3. ^ Lynne Robinson, "Martha Goodway: How History is Made" Journal of Metallurgy 67(9)(2015): 1918–1920. doi:10.1007/s11837-015-1572-8
  4. ^ Ivan Amato, "Researchers Swap Material Evidence in Boston" Science 258(5090)(18 December 1992): 1886.
  5. ^ Martha Goodway, "Etruscan Mirrors: A Reinterpretation" in Stuart J. Fleming and Helen R. Schenck, eds., History of Technology: The Role of Metals (UPenn Museum of Archaeology 1989): 25. ISBN 978-0-924171-95-6
  6. ^ Paul Lee, Vignettes: Musings and Reminiscences of a Modern Renaissance Man (iUniverse 2012): 424-425. ISBN 978-1-4759-5655-9
  7. ^ Frank W. Gayle and Martha Goodway, "Precipitation Hardening in the First Aerospace Aluminum Alloy: The Wright Flyer Crankcase" Science 266(5187)(11 November 1994): 1015–1017. DOI: 10.1126/science.266.5187.1015
  8. ^ Jonathan Waldman, Rust: The Longest War (Simon & Schuster 2015): 27. ISBN 978-1-4516-9161-0
  9. ^ Thomas Donahue, The Harpsichord Stringing Handbook (Rowman & Littlefield 2015): 1. ISBN 978-1-4422-4345-3
  10. ^ Martha Goodway, "Iron" in Igor Kipnis, ed., The Harpsichord and Clavichord: An Encyclopedia (Routledge 2013): 267. ISBN 978-1-135-94978-5
  11. ^ Martha Goodway and Jay Scott Odell, The Metallurgy of 17th- and 18th-Century Music Wire (Pendragon Press 1987). ISBN 978-0-918728-54-8
  12. ^ Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, "Martha Goodway".

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