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  • Preserving the Past, Inspiring the Future — Dumbarton Oaks
    to 1940 1941 It was the first year in which Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection operated under the aegis of Harvard University after its gift by the donors Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss As we celebrate seventy five years of support for the humanities and arts we look forward to considering the state of our fields on the eve of World War II their current condition and their prospects for the future We will focus especially on Byzantine Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Studies but we will pay heed to music art and gardens more generally Our year began with a Harvard College Wintersession course on Culture and Power Philanthropy Art and Diplomacy in America The anniversary will include in addition to our regular scholarly events a number of extra initiatives to mark this moment in our institutional development and to provide opportunities for reaffirming and strengthening our support for the arts and humanities Celebrating 75 Years at Dumbarton Oaks Anniversary Blog Seventy five blogs posts highlighting the history people buildings gardens and collections of Dumbarton Oaks New posts will be added each week throughout the anniversary year Learn more about Dumbarton Oaks in the latest posts Special Exhibition Celebrating the anniversary year 75 Years 75 Objects presents objects from across the Dumbarton Oaks Museum s three collections Arranged in sequences of nine themed consecutive rotations over the course of nine months the works on view reflect the significance of the historical anniversary year as well as the ongoing assessment of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss collecting passion and appreciation Garden Perspectives The seventy fifth anniversary of the gift of Dumbarton Oaks provides an opportunity to exhibit archival photographs of the garden beginning with its early design and development in the 1920s by Beatrix Farrand and

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/dumbarton-oaks-75th-anniversary (2016-02-18)
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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    the Friends of Music commissions and performances of contemporary music Friends of Music Concert A Program of Music by Young American Composers February 7 1940 Read More Beatrix Jones Farrand Dumbarton Oaks Landscape Gardener Posted on Jan 28 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Garden Library Garden and Landscape Studies Beatrix Farrand Dumbarton Oaks Gardens Read comments None yet Beatrix Jones Farrand 1872 1959 was raised in the gilded splendor of New York s nineteenth century upper class Yet Farrand eventually decided to avoid what society and the pomp and polish of the era expected of her and instead to pursue her passion for garden design which had been kindled by childhood trips to Reef Point in Maine Her mother Mary Cadwalader Jones and her father the handsome Frederic Rhinelander Jones who came from a wealthy family and worked in manufacturing divorced in 1896 after years of estrangement The separation placed a long standing financial burden on her and her mother Fortunately they maintained their relationship with Farrand s paternal aunt the novelist Edith Wharton Wharton provided critically needed employment to Mary over the years as well as inspiration and encouragement to the young Farrand From 1893 to 1894 Farrand studied under Charles Sprague Sargent a professor of horticulture at Harvard University and founder of Harvard s Arnold Arboretum An outstanding student Farrand recognized that much of the knowledge she obtained during her time there had not been found in books With this in mind she toured Europe after completing her studies to gain additional insight into garden design To augment her limited finances Farrand sought work as a landscape gardener For a woman to pursue such a career was not entirely unheard of at the time however most found limited success in the field Initially depending on sponsorship and commissions from wealthy family friends Farrand soon became renowned and expanded her clientele In 1899 she became the only female founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects Beatrix Farrand in Maine at her Reef Point library In 1921 Farrand first met with Mildred Bliss who needed a landscape gardener to oversee the development of the gardens at the newly acquired Dumbarton Oaks With overlapping social circles and similar backgrounds Farrand and Bliss immediately took a liking to each other and became close enough in the course of their relationship to consider themselves gardening twins Though certainly not Farrand s only clients Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss would become her close friends and her work at Dumbarton Oaks would become one of her longest and most rewarding projects earning her international recognition When Robert was appointed U S Minister to Sweden in 1923 the Blisses moved to Europe leaving Farrand alone for much of the garden design process Corresponding frequently with Mildred Farrand continued her work overseeing everything from the grandest conceptual schematics to the smallest aesthetic decisions Inspired by classical Roman ideas about the purpose of gardens Farrand and Mildred together designed many of the gardens to serve as extensions of the home living space Accordingly Farrand constructed enclosed garden areas for both pleasure and entertaining allocating space in the garden plans for facilities such as a swimming pool a tennis court and an outdoor theater Beatrix Farrand correspondence to Mildred Bliss August 14 1950 After the Blisses gave Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University in 1940 the purpose and use of the estate changed dramatically Farrand was now charged with adapting the gardens to suit institutional and public needs At the request of John S Thacher the first Director of Dumbarton Oaks Farrand began work on her Plant Book in 1941 It was hoped that with the Plant Book as a directive proper steps could be taken by the institution and future landscape architects to preserve the original artistic spirit of the garden when Farrand s involvement came to an end This private manual was published in 1980 and the work reveals a deep connection between Farrand and her landscape creation as evidenced in numerous references to individual plants and specific outlines for their care Approaching her seventies after nearly twenty years of work at Dumbarton Oaks Farrand began to distance herself from the active refashioning of the gardens Ruth Havey a longtime member of Farrand s staff who was familiar with Dumbarton Oaks began to work with Mildred on new projects By 1947 even Farrand s advisory position for the gardens had become too much for her and she instead devoted her time to helping Mildred assemble a garden library of rare books for Dumbarton Oaks By the early 1950s the library had more than tripled in size and the Blisses donated it to Dumbarton Oaks In 1951 they created the Garden Endowment Fund which partly was to be used for the maintenance and enlargement of the Garden Research Library already established at Dumbarton Oaks Read more about the Garden Endowment Fund in posts about the Garden Library Rare Book Collection and the evolution of the Garden and Landscape Studies program In 1950 Farrand gave Dumbarton Oaks her archive of drawings photographs and letters that related to the creation of the gardens She felt that this collection was of real value as few places have so long a carefully kept record of attempts accomplishments and failures For the art of landscape these records are worthwhile and they should be kept safely catalogued and protected She advised Thacher It is rare that a continuous history of a place covering more than 20 years is to be found Therefore the papers have considerable professional value You will of course want to make this material available and useful to students of Landscape Architecture After thirty years of involvement with Dumbarton Oaks Farrand retired in 1951 She remained in close contact with the Blisses until her death in 1959 Grieving the loss of a dear friend as well as a creative collaborator Mildred paid tribute to Farrand in a publication that she edited in 1960 Beatrix Jones Farrand 1872 1959 An Appreciation of a Great Landscape Gardener Read More The Collection Goes Underground Posted on Jan 25 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Dumbarton Oaks at War Collection Read comments None yet The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection opened a little more than a year after the outbreak of the Second World War Indeed its founder Robert Woods Bliss later recounted that the war s beginning and the opening of the institution were more than coincidental As the depression increased and Nazism gained control of Germany we knew war was a certainty and that inevitably this country would be sucked into the cataclysm So we faced the future squarely and decided to transfer Dumbarton Oaks to the University in 1940 To ease the wrench we assured each other that freedom of choice is a privilege not often granted by Fate and that to give up our home at our own time to assure the long range realization of our plan was the way of wisdom Mildred Bliss right in her American Women s Voluntary Services uniform with an unidentified woman 1943 At first the war seemed to have little impact on the embryonic institution However with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 and America s entry into the conflict Dumbarton Oaks quickly shifted from the academic to the pragmatic Dumbarton Oaks in effect reacted to and then joined the war effort the collection was quickly packed and sent to various distant locations for safekeeping until the end of the war in 1945 use of the property was offered to relief organizations and then to the Departments of War and State first to expedite the war effort and then to facilitate the establishment of world peace a victory garden was maintained and Dumbarton Oaks Fellows provided the War Department with lists of potentially endangered sites monuments and artworks in Hungary Bulgaria Germany Greece Yugoslavia Romania and Tunisia in order to help insure their protection These activities notwithstanding throughout the war years the Blisses also continued to collect art in order to further improve the Byzantine collection that they had given to Harvard University On December 7 1941 the Dumbarton Oaks staff began to pack the Collection s artworks and antiquities in order to store them at various locations across the country including a basement vault that was constructed at Dumbarton Oaks Some objects went to other museum storerooms and the most precious objects were deposited in the vault of the City Bank Farmers Trust Company in New York City Having seen wartime destruction firsthand while living in France during the First World War the Blisses asked Dumbarton Oaks to make this preemptive move to protect artworks in case there was a military attack on Washington Mildred Bliss was particularly anxious On January 16 1942 she wrote to Director John Thacher I hope you are getting on with the protection of the vault in the new building for I have a feeling that the raiding season will come sooner than expected She continued It is also of vital importance to the future of Dumbarton Oaks and consequently to that of the University itself that nothing harmful to the best interests of the plant life should be done unless the war makes it necessary by making their continued care impossible But nothing short of impossible would justify it to us After the establishment of peace in 1945 120 Dumbarton Oaks artworks that had been stored at Harvard s Fogg Art Museum were shown there between November 15 and December 31 in an exhibition titled A Selection of Ivories Bronzes Metalwork and Other Objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Collection Upon their return to Dumbarton Oaks the Collection was reinstalled and opened once again to the public in the fall of 1946 Read More Pre Columbian Studies From Collection to Research Program Posted on Jan 21 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Collection Pre Columbian Studies Collection Fellows Pre Columbian Pavilion Read comments None yet Although Pre Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks can be dated to 1963 it matured somewhat slowly as a program and became full fledged only in 1970 with the appointment of its first Fellow Arthur Miller In December of 1963 curator Elizabeth P Benson and Director John S Thacher opened the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art The collection formerly exhibited at the National Gallery of Art was beautifully installed in a glass walled pavilion designed by the architect Philip Johnson In addition to the art collection Robert Bliss had also given Dumbarton Oaks 2 400 books on Pre Columbian art history anthropology and archaeology and this library would provide the basis for the research program In 1964 soon after the collection opened Dumbarton Oaks appointed a Pre Columbian Advisory Committee Initially tasked with making recommendations on acquisitions for the collection the Committee soon also came to advise on lecturers and conferences as well as on publications resulting from these events Central to this early period in the development of the Pre Columbian Studies program at Dumbarton Oaks was Michael D Coe professor of anthropology at Yale and a noted Mayanist In 1963 Coe authored the Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art and in 1964 he was appointed Advisor for Pre Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks a position he would hold through 1979 Coe also gave the first Pre Columbian public lecture at Dumbarton Oaks On February 7 1964 he delivered a paper The Beginning of Mesoamerican Civilization which would be the basis for a 1966 Dumbarton Oaks publication An Early Stone Pectoral from Southeastern Mexico This would be the first of a now 37 volume series of occasional papers in a series published by Dumbarton Oaks titled Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Michael D Coe b 1929 Robert Bliss s first exotic cultural other acquisition diopside jadeite standing figure Olmec 900 300 BCE PC B 014 Pre Columbian Collection Dumbarton Oaks Museum Michael Coe also led the first Pre Columbian symposium then called a conference in 1967 Titled the Dumbarton Oaks Conference on the Olmec the papers would be published by Dumbarton Oaks the following year in a volume edited by Elizabeth Benson The Olmec civilization was of particular significance to Dumbarton Oaks as one of the first pieces of Pre Columbian art that Robert Bliss had acquired in 1912 was an Olmec jadeite carving although at the time of its purchase it was not yet recognized as being Olmec in origin In addition scholarly understanding of the antiquity of the Olmec culture had recently profited from the advent of carbon 14 dating technology which helped to date the Olmec civilization to early within Pre Columbian history ca 1500 300 BC After the death of Mildred Bliss in 1969 and the appointment of a new Director William Royall Tyler who served from 1969 to 1977 Pre Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks began to quickly evolve into a research program that was parallel if smaller in scale to the Byzantine Studies program The Garden and Landscape Studies program then called Studies in Garden and Landscape Architecture underwent a similar transformation at that time In 1970 the Robert Woods Bliss Fellowship in Pre Columbian Studies was created and the first fellowship was awarded to Arthur G Miller Miller worked for two years on a catalogue of the Teotihuacán mural fragments in Mexico work that Dumbarton Oaks published as The Mural Painting of Teotihuacán in 1973 In 1971 the number of Bliss Fellow appointments in Pre Columbian Studies was increased to two with the appointment of the first doctoral candidate Junior Fellow S Jeffrey K Wilkerson In 1973 the program invited its first Visiting Scholar Floyd G Lounsbury Summer Fellowship appointments were first made in 1980 Informal gathering of the Pre Columbian Studies program and others in the Dumbarton Oaks Refectory The Pre Columbian Studies program evolved in other ways as well Although the program was initially grounded in the collection and the early publications and lectures were focused on Pre Columbian art history the research program quickly grew to be more inclusive of the varied disciplines that make up Pre Columbian studies Pre Columbian history anthropology ethnography and especially archaeology became important components of the studies program This was due in large part to the next program director and curator Elizabeth Hill Boone and the noted archaeologist Gordon R Willey who had served on the Board of Advisors since 1963 and would transition to the board of Senior Fellows in the 1970s He was an influential chair of the Senior Fellows for over a decade between 1973 and 1986 During this period the Pre Columbian library also grew exponentially under the stewardship of librarian Bridget Gazzo and transitioned from a specialized art library to a world class comprehensive collection Since 1963 the Pre Columbian library has since grown to more than 33 000 volumes In his oral history interview former Director of Pre Columbian Studies Jeffrey Quilter emphasized the unique significance of the Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Studies program Pre Columbian studies as a field or a discipline or area realm arena of discussion or interaction really only exists at Dumbarton Oaks So by the very framing of the discourse as Pre Columbian Studies Dumbarton Oaks created a place and a space where art historians and field archaeologists and whose who work in the early colonial period on documents and those who work in remote antiquity can all not always all at the same time but over the long haul over years have a place to meet exchange views and interact in ways that they often don t get to do or at least get to do as easily elsewhere Jeffrey Quilter and Juan Antonio Murro in the Pre Columbian Collection Read More A Poem for Dumbarton Oaks during Wartime Posted on Jan 18 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Dumbarton Oaks at War Read comments None yet This poem was published in the Washington D C newspaper the Evening Star on September 21 1942 Dumbarton Oaks Anna M Priestley 1883 1967 Could Eden have been lovelier than this A woman asked who wandered at my side Through these vast grounds that once were one man s pride Whose home was in this stately edifice This is an Eden with no serpent s hiss No flaming sword by which men are denied Entrance through gates hospitably set wide That art and nature s union none may miss We may not lose our faith in humankind While through the generosity of men Such beauty spots as this invite the soul The world will not continue to be blind The flowers of hope and love will bloom again When a torn earth has once more been made whole Read More Hans Peter L Orange Remembers His Year at Dumbarton Oaks 1950 Posted on Jan 14 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Life at Dumbarton Oaks In Their Own Words Visiting scholar Read comments None yet Hans Peter L Orange 1903 1983 an art historian and classical archaeologist was a Visiting Scholar in the Byzantine Studies program at Dumbarton Oaks in 1949 50 and he participated in the 1950 symposium The Emperor and the Palace After his return to Oslo he wrote the Blisses on July 5 1950 reminiscing on his year at Dumbarton Oaks An excerpt from that letter follows Some part of my person is still staying with the friends and colleagues at the Dumbarton Oaks working in the library and meditating in the gardens and will not in spite of my energetic efforts acquiesce to the forms and principles of pre Dumbartian life The energies of this part of my person would naturally manifest themselves in some written records from the Dumbarton Oaks its library collections and gardens and first of all its scholarly life I would prepare these records for some Scandinavian reviews and newspapers but cannot begin before having the photographs from the Dumbarton Oaks which I am eagerly waiting for At the Dumbarton Oaks it impressed me very much to see how in a circle of specialized scholars who are supplementing each other the true reality of knowledge which was the fortune of earlier generations and modern specialized research has lost in some way is reestablished This was perhaps my greatest experience in that beautiful American Platonopolis of Washington which was more successful than that of Plotianus in Campania 17 centuries ago When I recall this experience and my whole stay at the Dumbarton Oaks not only as a place of study and scholarship but also of art and beauty and last but not least of what I think is true American friendliness I am full of thankfulness to the country the institution and persons who offered it to me My special thank is then addressed to you Mr and Mrs Woods Bliss also for all your kindness to me in your house in Washington Speakers at the 1950 Byzantine Studies Symposium left to right Andreas Alföldi Francis Dvornik Albert Mathias Friend Jr Hans Peter L Orange Ernst Kantorowicz Paul Underwood André Grabar seated Read More Librarian Bookbinder Poet Patriot Ethel Burnet Clark Posted on Jan 11 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Rare Book Collection Garden Library Underworld Courier Dumbarton Oaks Research Library The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Oaks News Acorn House February 2016 Dumbarton Oaks at War Read comments None yet A devoted bibliophile and longtime friend of the Blisses Ethel Burnet Clark helped Mildred Barnes Bliss catalog the Blisses personal library before the transfer of Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University in 1940 After the transfer she served as Keeper of Rare Books from 1940 until 1944 when she reached mandatory retirement age Highly knowledgeable about the rare holdings of Dumbarton Oaks Clark published occasional essays on the collection such as Chronicles of Froissart at Dumbarton Oaks in 1947 Particularly close to Mildred Clark wrote to her frequently and enthusiastically often compiling extensive accounts of events at Dumbarton Oaks While the Blisses were in California after they transferred Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard in 1940 Clark helped to generate the Underworld Courier a short and sometimes tongue in cheek summary of events taking place at Dumbarton Oaks see post Mildred commented encouragingly on both the versatile informativeness and feather pated folly that characterized the publication In a letter written to Mildred Clark expressed how fond she had become of writing for the publication noting that after it ceased she had been lonely without it as her heart had been kept warm and young as a result of the pleasant exercise of weaving pieces for it Mildred Robert Woods Bliss in the Dumbarton Oaks Founders Room with the Rare Book Collection March 2 1956 Sunday Star Clark was also fond of creative writing and she frequently wrote short segments of poetic prose to Mildred An excerpt from one such work reads Life has bestowed many gifts upon me Health with its companion resiliency delight in the sky the earth and the sea unaccountable joy in life itself that surprises and sometimes shocks me by flashing its light when I ought to be sad Clark was especially moved by the Blisses donation of Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University She wrote about the gift All this time I have marveled saying It can t be possible No human being certainly not two could so consistently so unswervingly follow an ideal She compared the Blisses creation of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection to a road built with wisdom vision and will for pilgrims aspiring to reach the mountain top During her time working for the Blisses Clark contributed much to the growth of what came to be called the Founders Room collection Working with all forms of media including books manuscripts letters photographs and even 78 rpm vinyl records Clark was responsible for cataloging a significant portion of both the Blisses personal holdings and Mildred s garden library rare book collection Beyond cataloging she took responsibility for the acquisition of new rare books and miscellaneous other library matters As such she frequently interacted with book dealers collectors and authors to obtain new works She also dealt with what she called the exciting challenges relating to the functioning of the library Some of these challenges included rebinding library books devising and mounting bookplates and sensibly and efficiently organizing the location of books in the rooms at Dumbarton Oaks She assisted in the binding of 388 volumes during her time working in the house bindery from 1940 to 1942 In 1943 44 Clark supervised a volunteer group that assisted the Arts and Skills Corps of the American Red Cross This group took equipment and supplies to the Forest Glen Hospital an annex of the Walter Reed Hospital where they taught convalescing soldiers the art of bookbinding She was strongly affected by the Second World War and strove to serve the nation s war effort as best she could She attempted to qualify for the cipher and code division of the Office of Naval Intelligence In a letter to Mildred Clark revealed her diligence in preparing for the aptitude exam Often I reluctantly put away my pads and pencils at midnight and later jump out of bed because a possible solution has flashed across my brain Clark contributed her time and effort as well to several book sales organized to raise funds for American troops Acorn House converted from a kennel by G Chapman as a residence for Ethel Burnet Clark 1941 Having happily worked to catalog and build the libraries at Dumbarton Oaks Clark only surrendered her position because she had reached the age at which Harvard required retirement A year before Clark had commented on the sorrow of her predicament especially after learning that she had no chance of being an exception to the retirement age after several conversations with gentle and compassionate John Thacher the first Director of Dumbarton Oaks Nonetheless Clark was able to remain at Dumbarton Oaks after her official retirement under the title Keeper of Rare Books Emerita In this capacity Clark continued her work at Dumbarton Oaks and received a small monthly pension in addition to living quarters at the Acorn House a small cottage on the Dumbarton Oaks property Later in the 1960s she also helped catalog the Mary Mellon collection of books and manuscripts on alchemy and the occult which Paul Mellon then gave to Yale University Robert Woods Bliss remembered Clark s service and friendship She was the doyenne of our staff and bore the strain and inconvenience of bringing order out of our personal Library as well as in organizing a Bindery rebuilding the Quarters and making catalogues at the same time For this and much besides the unfailing charm she brings to all her relationships and duties we thank her warmly Particularly fond of the Acorn House which had originally served as a kennel for the Blisses guard dog Doberman Pinchers Clark wrote about her new home lovingly in correspondence with Mildred describing her fundamental happiness and content in being allowed to reside in the small house and even admitting that she had not dared to put her delight into words for fear that she would suddenly wake up Mildred expressed her equal thrill at having Clark on the estate writing I long to cross your threshold and to have you think aloud to me as we sit on the little terrace sipping lemonade Read More Then and Now Midday Meals at Dumbarton Oaks Posted on Jan 07 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Life at Dumbarton Oaks Fellows Read comments None yet Midday mealtimes have always played an important role in the culture of Dumbarton Oaks providing an opportunity for Fellows and staff to both socialize and strengthen interdepartmental bonds For over sixty years midday dining took place in the Fellows Building now the Guest House see post until the Refectory was opened in the fall of 2006 occupying a space that had once been the Director s house Dining however did not always include the entire institution Prior to the directorship of Giles Constable from 1977 to 1984 see post only the faculty and the Fellows dined together the general staff were excluded Constable in an effort to democratize Dumbarton Oaks both opened up the midday meal to all staff and Fellows and switched the dining style from a formal served affair to buffet style allowing diners to come at their convenience and sit where they wanted Constable remembered this change in his oral history interview Of course when I went there the memory of Mrs Bliss serving tea and Sirarpie Der Nersessian presiding at the lunch table and ringing the bell for the servants to come in was still there And there was this rather strong and not altogether bad sense of being one large family with a number of family retainers But that is not the basis upon which a serious scholarly institution can run And on the straight forward level one of my first initiatives was to open up the Fellows Building But even so the feelings of resentment were so great that some of the staff would never come to lunch Above all Irene Vaslef who is my dear friend still is she absolutely refused to come to lunch because she had so bitterly resented being kept out for so many years And I absolutely sympathized with that Today Fellows and the Dumbarton Oaks staff continue to enjoy the midday dining tradition at Dumbarton Oaks in the Refectory sharing in Chef Hector Paz s delicious and eclectic preparations Following are some images of the midday meal at Dumbarton Oaks Fellows Building dining room 1953 Lunch in the Fellows Building 1962 Lunch in the Fellows Building ca 1977 1978 Midday meal in the Refectory Summer 2015 Lunch in the Refectory prepared by Chef Hector Paz August 2015 The Refectory s coffee and dessert room The Dumbarton Oaks Refectory formerly the Blisses male staff quarters and later the Director s House Read More In Memoriam Gifts to the Dumbarton Oaks Collection Posted on Jan 04 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Pre Columbian Collection Byzantine Collection Collection Read comments None yet The Dumbarton Oaks Collection has received a number of remarkable objects that were given to the museum in someone s memory Since the giver typically wished to commemorate someone who had recently died these gifts were doubly meaningful they both enriched the collection and kept alive the memory of the deceased associating the person with an object of beauty and importance Frequently the gifts that came to Dumbarton Oaks were offered in memory of a spouse or family member Robert Woods Bliss was also honored in this way After his death in 1962 many friends and dealers gave Pre Columbian artworks in his memory for the Pre Columbian Collection that was about to open to the public see post The dealer John Wise for example gave a unique incised Moche stone box PC B 536 in Bliss s memory and this object is the only known complete Moche stone box of its kind in existence Hayford Peirce an amateur Byzantine scholar and collector was a close friend of the Blisses and a collaborator with the Blisses friend Royall Tyler Peirce died on March 4 1946 and in his memory in 1947 his widow Polly Peirce gave Dumbarton Oaks a Byzantine micromosaic icon which the Blisses had been interested to acquire in 1931 but had not pursued due to its price At the time of the gift Polly Peirce also lent Dumbarton Oaks other objects from Peirce s collection including his 5 000 piece Byzantine coin collection In 1948 the Blisses would fund the acquisition of the coins and in 1963 Mildred Bliss would fund the acquisition of the objects a rock crystal ring and a red porphyry head On December 18 1947 Robert Bliss wrote Royall Tyler We have seen the Peirce miniature mosaic which is a wonder I am about to write Polly to tell her how grateful and pleased we are to have at Dumbarton Oaks such an object as a memorial to Hayford She has left at Dumbarton Oaks as a loan the rock crystal ring and a red porphyry head both of which are very fine In addition she has deposited at Dumbarton Oaks also on loan that part of the collection of coins which was in America with the assurance that those coming from Europe will be added upon arrival I have not seen the coins yet but Jack Thacher says they are very fine Miniature Mosaic Icon with Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia gift of Polly Peirce in memory of her husband Hayford Peirce 1947 BZ 1947 24 Byzantine Chalice gift of Elisina and William R Tyler in memory of Royall Tyler 1955 BZ 1955 18 Royall Tyler himself died on February 3 1953 His wife Elisina Tyler and the Tylers son William Royall Tyler who was Mildred Bliss s godson and who would be the second Director of Dumbarton Oaks gave Dumbarton Oaks an early Byzantine silver chalice BZ 1955 18 in his memory Royall Tyler had acquired this chalice in 1913 as one of his first Byzantine purchases see here for letters in the Bliss Tyler Correspondence that mention the chalice This gift was particularly poignant to the Blisses as the chalice was from the same hoard as their silver paten BZ 1924 5 and liturgical fan BZ 1936 23 and the Blisses and the Tylers often referred to these pieces as their family When Royall Tyler first alerted the Blisses to the paten in a letter of January 26 1924 he noted It is perhaps the most moving thing possibly excepting my chalice I ve ever seen for sale If you do get it live with it for a good long time anyway It will teach you a great deal about the age when Santa Sophia and the great churches of Ravenna were built when the most perfect Byzantine enamels were made and the throne of Maximian was carved Eventually give it to the Cabinet des Médailles the only place in the world I know of that s fit to receive it You may imagine how excited I am The thought of your having it intoxicates me and it would be a happiness for life to think that the two pieces would one day be joined together and live happily ever after at the Cabinet des Médailles Byzantine amethyst gem depicting Christ gift of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss in memory of Royall Tyler 1953 BZ 1953 7 Maya panel from Palenque gift to Dumbarton Oaks from Mildred Bliss in memory of her husband Robert Woods Bliss 1963 PC B 528 The Blisses themselves made a gift to Dumbarton Oaks in memory of Royall Tyler a sixth seventh century carved amethyst gem with a standing figure of Christ Tyler had discovered the intaglio gem at the Parisian dealer Charles Ratton and had recommended it to then Director John Thacher on April 16 1952 The Blisses presented the gem to Dumbarton Oaks almost exactly a year later on April 14 1953 which was also their forty fifth wedding anniversary Between 1958 and his death on April 19 1962 Robert Woods Bliss was engaged in the construction of the Philip Johnson designed pavilion for his Pre Columbian Collection see post Unfortunately he would not live to see the building s completion or the installation of the collection Mildred Bliss took over that responsibility opening the collection in December 1963 In memory of her husband Mildred Bliss gave Dumbarton Oaks a large limestone Maya panel from Palenque PC B 528 Others also remembered Robert Bliss with gifts to the Pre Columbian Collection Director John Thacher gave a Maya polychrome ceramic PC B 563 Maya polychrome ceramic gift of John S Thacher in memory of Robert Woods Bliss 1968 PC B 563 Floor Panel gift of Ernest Brummer and Mrs Joseph Brummer in memory of Joseph Brummer 1949 BZ 1949 2 Other gifts made in memoriam to the Dumbarton Oaks Collection include a Cosmati floor panel BZ 1949 2 given in 1949 by Ernest Brummer and Mrs Joseph Brummer in memory of the dealer Joseph Brummer who had died on April 14 1947 The Blisses and Dumbarton Oaks had acquired some 160 Byzantine objects from the Brummers In 1951 Victoria Tytus Steward who was Mildred Bliss s goddaughter gave the Byzantine Collection a silver dish BZ 1951 31 in memory of her father the archaeologist and collector Robb de Peyster Tytus 1876 1913 Director John Thacher gave the Byzantine Collection a gold and cloisonné enamel closure with representations of Christ and Mary BZ 1965 4 in memory of his mother Frances Lake Thacher who had died in January 1962 And in 1969 the numismatist Alfred Bellinger who had authored volumes on the Byzantine coin collection gave the Byzantine Collection three Byzantine textile fragments BZ 1969 61a c in memory of his sister the textile specialist Louisa Bellinger who died in November 1968 In the early years of Dumbarton Oaks Louisa Bellinger had worked on the Byzantine Textile Census see post Read More Wilhelm Koehler The Dumbarton Oaks Program and the Principle of Collaborative Research Posted on Dec 31 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks In Their Own Words Byzantine Studies Fellows Read comments None yet Wilhelm Koehler a professor of medieval art history at Harvard University came to Dumbarton Oaks in 1941 as Senior Research Fellow in Charge of Research

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog (2016-02-18)
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  • Garden Perspectives — Dumbarton Oaks
    with its early design and development in the 1920s by Beatrix Farrand and Mildred Bliss through numerous and varied changes over the course of its life Within the Catalogue House with its unique historical setting in the garden and adjacent to Dumbarton Oaks Park historic images will be paired with contemporary images taken from approximately the same perspective Related documents including early maps drawings and correspondence from the online Garden Archives will fit the photographs into context and illustrate further the garden s evolution The installation will be on view beginning November 20 2015 and is coordinated by Gail Griffin Director of Gardens and Grounds and Linda Lott Librarian Rare Book Collection This online exhibit a companion to the installation in the Catalogue House overlays a selection of paired archival and contemporary photographs allowing users to witness the transformation of several garden areas To reveal the current perspective simply mouse over the historic photographs from left to right Both images are also available as exhibit items with further information A brief introduction to each garden room is excerpted from the fuller entry in the Garden Archives and where available links to additional photographs and drawings are provided Exhibit Sections Arbor

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/garden-perspectives (2016-02-18)
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  • 75th Anniversary Reminiscence, Image, and Artifact Initiative — Dumbarton Oaks
    to institutional life from the earliest years through 1975 Although we have many photographs of scholars in formally posed group shots we have surprisingly few candid shots that catch staff fellows and others in action We would also welcome any images of interior and outdoor spaces at Dumbarton Oaks Similarly although we have now accumulated more than one hundred oral history interviews relating to the past history of Dumbarton Oaks we would welcome any recollections that you might have We are particularly interested in accumulating materials before celebrating the 75th formally on November 1 2015 and we would encourage submission between now and October 15 2015 Cassette tape of songs sung by Dumbarton Oaks fellows and staff to serenade Robert Van Nice and the Hagia Sophia project team Gift of Robert Ousterhout If you have photographs either digitized or not artifacts or memories you would care to share please complete the accompanying form If you have images to share let us know if you would like to have us digitize them and return the originals to you or if you would be willing to make an outright gift of the materials Thank you in advance Document Actions Print this Share

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/image-and-artifact-initiative (2016-02-18)
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  • Home of the Humanities — Dumbarton Oaks
    internships meetings and exhibitions Located in residential Georgetown Dumbarton Oaks welcomes researchers at all career stages who come to study its books objects images and documents It opens its doors to the public to visit its historic Gardens designed by Beatrix Farrand its Museum with world class collections of art and its Music Room for lectures and concerts The institute disseminates knowledge through its own publications such as Dumbarton Oaks Papers and symposium volumes as well as through the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library published by Harvard University Press Dumbarton Oaks also makes accessible ever more of its resources freely online The founding donors Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss called upon future policy makers to remember that Dumbarton Oaks is conceived in a new pattern where quality and not number shall determine the choice of its scholars that it is the home of the Humanities not a mere aggregation of books and objects of art that the house itself and the gardens have their educational importance and that all are of humanistic value These ambitions continue to guide Dumbarton Oaks but with close attention to ensuring that the Blisses new pattern retains its vitality through constant renewal Document Actions

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/about/about-dumbarton-oaks (2016-02-18)
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  • The History of Dumbarton Oaks — Dumbarton Oaks
    home in Washington they purchased the 1801 Federal style house and property in June of 1920 Throughout their lives they were enthusiastic collectors of art and books and ardent supporters of music and the arts After buying the property the Blisses altered it significantly Mildred Barnes Bliss worked closely with renowned landscape designer Beatrix Farrand to transform the land surrounding the house into terraced gardens and vistas The Blisses renovated and expanded the original structure adding the Music Room in 1929 and the wing to house the Byzantine Collection in 1940 As early as 1932 the Blisses had begun planning to convey the institution to Harvard Robert s alma mater the property was transferred in 1940 The Blisses remained very active continuing to shape the institution the collections and the gardens until their deaths in the 1960s The Pre Columbian Pavilion designed by architect Philip Johnson to house Mr Bliss s collection of Pre Columbian art which had been on long term loan to the National Gallery of Art opened to the public in 1963 The Garden Library was added in the same year to house and display Mrs Bliss s collection of rare and modern books related to all

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/about/dumbarton-oaks-history (2016-02-18)
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  • Accessibility — Dumbarton Oaks
    the museum lower level and can be reached by elevator Please see here for more information about how to plan your visit Gardens The entrance to the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is on R Street and 31st Street NW In keeping with their topography and historic design our hillside gardens present several challenges to visitors with mobility impairments including steep inclines slippery surfaces loose gravel walkways staircases and other impediments Visitors with disabilities are encouraged to visit our website prior to arrival Visitors may also wish to use the designated computer in the Orientation Gallery of the museum in order to view descriptions photographs maps and other resources pertaining to the gardens The entrance to the museum is located at 1703 32nd Street about 500 yards from the entrance to the gardens upon entering the main lobby visitors may inquire with staff for directions to the Orientation Gallery Visitors may find a topographical map here Restrooms for gardens visitors are located in the Orangery Due to the uneven terrain these restrooms are not easily accessible to visitors using wheelchairs or with mobility impairments Visitors are welcome to use the accessible restrooms in the museum basement however to do so visitors must exit the gardens and enter the museum from the 1703 32nd Street entrance Please see here for more information about how to plan your visit Research Library The research library is available to registered users with active library badges including registered users with disabilities Advance notice of any accommodations needed is appreciated so that library staff may provide information about accessible routes and other assistance There are accessible restrooms in the library Please refer to the Library Access page for reader eligibility requirements and other information Meeting Rooms During scholarly events where preregistration is required some of our meeting spaces

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/about/access (2016-02-18)
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  • Visit — Dumbarton Oaks
    here Hours and Admission The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is open year round from 11 30 a m to 5 30 p m except Mondays and in 2016 the following holidays Veterans Day November 11 Thanksgiving Day November 24 Christmas Day and New Year s Day Admission is free The Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are open from 2 00 to 6 00 p m during the regular season March 15 through October 31 except Mondays and in 2016 the following holidays Veterans Day November 11 Thanksgiving Day November 24 Christmas Day and New Year s Day Please note that the gardens may close due to hazardous conditions Garden Tickets and Season Passes may be purchased at the Garden Gate 10 Regular admission 8 Seniors 60 5 for students and children 12 and under Free for Harvard faculty students and staff with Harvard photo ID Unlimited regular season access with a Season Pass 75 Single Season Pass 95 Double Season Pass 110 Family Pass Learn more about the Season Pass for the Gardens and how to purchase here Receive a 10 discount on any one item in the Museum Shop when you present your garden admission ticket During the winter season November 1

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/visit/visit (2016-02-18)
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