Edith Hall Dohan was the first student to be awarded a PhD in classical archaeology by Bryn Mawr College, in 1906. She was also the first Bryn Mawr student to become a Fellow in Athens, in 1903 when she joined the American School of Classical Studies - she was the only female student that year. She studied Mycenaean and Cretan pottery there, and met Harriet Boyd, joining her at the dig at Gournia, Crete in 1904 for her first field experience. Her letters home, to her parents and older sister Anne, paint a vivid picture of life for a woman archaeologist in the 1900s.
Later, she taught archaeology at Mount Holyoke College, while continuing to dig in Crete on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, then known as the Free Museum of Science and Art. At Vrokastro, she became the second American woman to direct a dig on Crete, and the third in Greece. In 1912 she left her teaching post to work for the Museum full time.
In 1915, she married, and took a break in her career to bring up two children while teaching part time.
In 1931, she returned to the University of Pennsylvania Museum to take up the post of associate curator of the Mediterranean Section. She was also the book review editor for the American Journal of Archaeology at this time.
Her last important work was a book on Etruscan Tombs. She died suddenly at her desk in 1943.