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  • American Defense: The Harvard Group and Dumbarton Oaks — Dumbarton Oaks
    destruction by Allied forces if at all possible This last task fell in large part to Harvard s American Defense Group which had already been gathering such data for over a year The Harvard Group was to continue in its efforts and to turn over its research files which came to be called the Harvard Lists to the Commission Fellows and staff at Dumbarton Oaks 1943 1944 Back row Kurt Weitzmann Barbara Sessions Ethel Burnet Clark Paul Underwood and Milton Anastos Front row Elizabeth Sgalitzer Ettinghausen Josephine Harris Margaret Ames Alexander Rosalie Green and John S Thacher At Dumbarton Oaks the Junior Fellows had been working to build the institution s Research Archives on Byzantine sites in Europe and therefore had specialized knowledge of European and North African cities monuments and artworks In 1943 they were asked to join Harvard s American Defense Group and to contribute to the war effort important information concerning works of art in the following countries Bulgaria Germany Greece Yugoslavia Romania and Tunisia Their task was to prepare for the Commission detailed lists and manuals on the art monuments and customs of these areas In a letter of July 6 1943 the Harvard Group s Dr Hugh O Neill Hencken curator of European archaeology at the Peabody Museum wrote to Milton Anastos then a Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellow Recent correspondence with the War Department makes it clear that our lists should be made in terms of culture in general rather than of art alone Consequently items should be starred not only in accordance with their artistic and scholarly importance but with regard to what value sentimental or otherwise is set upon them by the local population Wherever possible this value should be briefly explained We are also asked to supply information about the culture of

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog/american-defense-the-harvard-group-and-dumbarton-oaks (2016-02-18)
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  • Collecting during the War Years — Dumbarton Oaks
    especially in light of the increased costs of commodities which invariably follow the outbreak of war He added further that as everyone knows full well taxes and diminishing dividends have greatly reduced everyone s income Egypto Roman faience vase with a Dionysiac procession first century BCE BZ 1939 31 Byzantine Collection Dumbarton Oaks Museum Nevertheless Bliss was willing to bargain Apologizing for his frankness Bliss wrote Kelekian that he was interested in two objects but that he would buy them only if their prices were reduced significantly The objects of interest were an Egypto Roman faience vase with a Dionysiac procession and a Sasanian or Persian textile fragment with gazelles Kelekian wrote back on November 6 1939 Excellency I received this morning your very kind letter of September 26th addressed to me from California to Lausanne I wish to thank you sincerely for your sympathy and to assure you once again of my devotion to you and of my earnest desire to be of service to you The change of circumstances which you explain I quite understand In view of the situation I expect to make great sacrifices to be able to do business With regard to the Egyptian pottery vase which you mention I need not point out that it is a unique piece and a most important document in the history of ceramic art It is the link that connects the two great arts of Egypt and Persia I purchased it over thirty years ago and was so very fond of it that until the time I showed it to you about two years ago I had kept it in the bank and had not even shown it to my son Every book on potteries hereafter will have to mention it It is perhaps my extreme love for this piece that made me ask a price which you considered prohibitive although for an outstanding unique piece I believe there is no price I asked 25 000 and you thought 10 000 would be a fair price to which I did not agree In view of the present circumstances I am now willing to accept 10 000 for this piece As to the Sasanian textile with two gazelles for which I asked 2000 and which also I bought thirty years ago I shall sell it to you for 1000 I trust these drastic reductions will be satisfactory to you I want very much to see these two unusual pieces added to the Dumbarton Oaks Collection Textile with antelope in a roundel late seventh to first half of eighth century BZ 1939 32 Byzantine Collection Dumbarton Oaks Museum Two textile fragments with ibexes in roundels fifth to early sixth century BZ 1939 33 1 2 Byzantine Collection Dumbarton Oaks Museum Bliss acquired these two pieces in December along with two early Byzantine textile fragments with ibexes The purchase price however involved a further reduction Bliss paid 7 750 for the lot having told Kelekian that he was no longer in

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog/collecting-during-the-war-years (2016-02-18)
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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    1947 394 418 A few years ago a second center of studies in Byzantine art arose in this country at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D C After Mr and Mrs Robert Woods Bliss became interested in Byzantine art and began to collect Byzantine objects they soon envisaged combining their collection with a research library When in 1940 they made Dumbarton Oaks a generous gift to Harvard University the establishment already contained a sizeable and workable library in the field of the arts which had been brought together in a very short time Since this transfer to Harvard University took place after the outbreak of the war it was foreseen that a difficult period lay ahead but it is a testimony to the vitality of this institution that in these trying years it developed almost immediately into a research center which today is firmly established and has taken its permanent place among the research institutions of America The end of the war has also made it possible to call visiting scholars from abroad for a certain length of time and Dumbarton Oaks has been very fortunate to have had as its guest this year André Grabar from the Collège de France Thus another ambition of the founders of Dumbarton Oaks has been realized namely the establishment of a close personal contact with European scholars In the years to come scholars from other countries will be invited for a length of time and in this respect Dumbarton Oaks fulfils a great mission by paving the way for closer international cooperation and mutual understanding The reputation of Dumbarton Oaks as of any learned institution will ultimately rest on the standard of its publications Even before Dumbarton Oaks was donated to Harvard plans had been made for the publication of a series of studies called The Dumbarton Oaks Papers to appear at irregular intervals The scope of the Papers was broadened and they were turned into an organ in which studies on all aspects of Byzantine culture principally those of the scholars in residence could be published In the meantime plans have been laid by A M Friend for another series consisting of larger monographs to include documentary studies of important single monuments or groups of monuments Some of them grew out of lecture series delivered during the yearly symposia about which we should like to say a few words Ever since the inaugural lectures in November 1940 the idea had been cherished to have a symposium once a year which would bring together the scholars in the Early Christian and Byzantine field The beginning was made by the late E K Rand when in the spring of 1942 he gathered a number of his former students to present papers on a variety of subjects But beginning in the following year the symposium began to crystallize around a central topic and thus took on a distinct character different from the annual meetings of learned societies in which a great number of short papers are usually presented In outlining briefly the activities of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection we are fully aware that we have not described their full scope but in accordance with the purpose of this report have primarily stressed the work in the Fine Arts Yet it must be emphasized once more that the aim of this institution is not exclusively the furtherance of the knowledge of Byzantine art but the study and integration of all aspects of Byzantine history and culture so that ultimately a coherent picture of this great civilization can be achieved although art and archaeology will remain the focus by the very nature of the foundation Read More Changes at Dumbarton Oaks under Giles Constable Posted on Dec 10 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Life at Dumbarton Oaks Giles Constable Fellows Building Fellowship Program Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Pre Columbian Pavilion Read comments None yet Giles Constable was the third Director of Dumbarton Oaks and the first to be chosen from the ranks of Harvard University medievalist professors a tradition that remains unbroken to the present day As Director he quickly realized that changes were needed at Dumbarton Oaks in order to strengthen the institution both physically and intellectually Constable articulated these changes in his annual reports to the President of Harvard University arguing that Dumbarton Oaks needed to evolve from the tradition of perceived elitism and the Founders paternalism to a new era of academic institutionalization By 1984 at the end of his seven year tenure most if not all of the changes he envisioned had been made Physical Plant The roofs of all areas except the Orangery and the Pre Columbian pavilion were replaced The third floor of the Main House was reinforced with steel and concrete in order to install shelving for part of the Library s holdings Library shelving including compact stack shelving was installed in areas of the basement to serve the growing libraries of the three Studies programs Basement areas were retrofitted to house the Princeton Index the Census of Byzantine Art in North American Collections and archival holdings Areas housing books and photographs were maintained at a constant temperature and relative humidity level for the first time Other areas at Dumbarton Oaks were air conditioned for the first time which allowed for a twelve month use of the physical plant The Fellows Building now known as the Guest House was renovated with a new kitchen and dining room and en suite bathrooms in each bedroom see post Down and spot lights were installed in the Music Room Plans were initiated for the creation of the Byzantine Courtyard Gallery and excavation under the Music Room This would come to fruition during the next administration Academic Programs Appointments of Dumbarton Oaks professors in Byzantine fields at Harvard University were inaugurated Angeliki Laiou was appointed Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History and Ihor Ševčenko was appointed Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History and Literature beginning in 1980 81 Senior Research Associates and Research Associates were appointed at Dumbarton Oaks in lieu of having a permanent faculty These appointments however were allowed to lapse beginning in 1984 Joint academic appointments allowing some Research Associates to teach at universities were created The Associate spent half the academic year at Dumbarton Oaks pursuing research and half the year teaching as an assistant professor The Senior Fellows took on the responsibility of selecting annual Fellows and began to interview applicants at Dumbarton Oaks The Fellowship program was increased from 25 appointments in 1977 78 to 57 appointments in 1983 84 This was in part due to the inauguration of the Summer Fellows program in 1980 81 when twelve Summer Fellows were appointed for the first time An Author Index of Byzantine Scholarly Literature II was created in 1977 78 based on the annual bibliographies published in the Byzantinische Zeitschrift this Author Index was published in microfiche format and from it several Dumbarton Oaks Bibliographies were created on various subjects The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium was initiated by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was under the direction of Alexander P Kazhdan The Pre Columbian Lbrary was catalogued under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Institutional Policies The gardens were opened to visitors in the summer beginning in 1978 An admission fee to the gardens was charged in order to increase revenue beginning in 1982 83 The collections were opened to the public in the summer beginning in 1979 A docent program was inaugurated for the collections beginning in 1982 83 Judy Ullmann Siggins was appointed as Assistant Director in 1978 Computers were introduced into the workflow at Dumbarton Oaks in 1983 84 They were employed by the Byzantine Library to process acquisitions and serials by the Director s Office for document word processing and for printing Greek in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium The changes instigated at Dumbarton Oaks during Giles Constable s administration were formidable and set a new trajectory for the institution Nevertheless Constable also faced several difficult and controversial challenges In 1970 Constable had been one of the ten members that authored the Report of the Committee on the Future of the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies That report which was submitted to Harvard President Nathan M Pusey had strongly recommended the continuation of the position of Director of Byzantine Studies and the retention of the permanent faculty at Dumbarton Oaks However as Director Constable decided to gradually disband the permanent faculty He felt that having no students they were both an unnecessary and an expensive component of the institution In their stead he appointed Research Associates in the Byzantine Studies program often trying to find them joint appointments at universities The Senior Fellows however would let this position lapse beginning in 1984 In January 1977 William Loerke resigned as Director of Byzantine Studies a position he had held since 1969 John Meyendorff was appointed Acting Director of Studies for the 1977 78 academic year after which Constable decided to let the position lapse and appointed Alice Mary Talbot Associate for Academic Affairs a position she would hold for two years The position of Director of Byzantine Studies would remain unfilled until 1991 Early in his tenure Constable was also plagued with the rumors of the removal of the scholarly apparatus of Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University As he reported to the President of Harvard University I spent a great deal of time discussing the future of Dumbarton Oaks and especially allaying fears that any improper steps were planned The attitude of suspicion not to say hostility that was apparent at first began to change in the course of the year and I am confident that a period of scholarly cooperation and vitality lies ahead This unfounded but common perception that the research programs and their libraries would be moved to Harvard University was the principal reason for Constable s 1978 address Dumbarton Oaks and the Future of Byzantine Studies at that year s Byzantine Studies Conference Also during Constable s tenure at Dumbarton Oaks a period of double digit inflation began to decimate the institution s endowment Both the Office of the Budget at Harvard University and a report undertaken by Mary Proctor in 1977 feared that expenses might exceed income The recommendations were to cut back on expenses to reduce activities at Dumbarton Oaks and to look for outside sources of income In light of the double digit inflation of the period the Trustees for Harvard University decided to impose a limit on the Dumbarton Oaks budget for publications to restrict fieldwork in all but exceptional cases to the completion of current projects and to eliminate the appropriations for acquisitions for the museum collections though objects could still be acquired through the sale or exchange of items not related to the research or display collections an option that was occasionally exercised Through belt tightening and increased revenue through grants entrance fees and contributions Giles Constable guided Dumbarton Oaks back to a course of financial stability Read More American Defense The Harvard Group and Dumbarton Oaks Posted on Dec 07 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Dumbarton Oaks at War Fellows Read comments None yet With much of the world at war and the United States soon to join the conflict Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks also participated in the war effort In the fall of 1942 after America had entered the war the American Defense Harvard Group which had been established by Harvard University faculty two years earlier began working with the American Council of Learned Societies ACLS to devise plans for protecting cultural property in European areas that would be occupied by Allied military forces Their efforts led directly to President Roosevelt establishing on June 23 1943 the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas The Commission was to cooperate with the U S Army to protect cultural monuments and artworks in Europe and to gather information about war damage to such treasures The Commission also was to compile data on monuments and artworks in enemy or enemy occupied areas in the hope that they would be spared destruction by Allied forces if at all possible This last task fell in large part to Harvard s American Defense Group which had already been gathering such data for over a year The Harvard Group was to continue in its efforts and to turn over its research files which came to be called the Harvard Lists to the Commission Fellows and staff at Dumbarton Oaks 1943 1944 Back row Kurt Weitzmann Barbara Sessions Ethel Burnet Clark Paul Underwood and Milton Anastos Front row Elizabeth Sgalitzer Ettinghausen Josephine Harris Margaret Ames Alexander Rosalie Green and John S Thacher At Dumbarton Oaks the Junior Fellows had been working to build the institution s Research Archives on Byzantine sites in Europe and therefore had specialized knowledge of European and North African cities monuments and artworks In 1943 they were asked to join Harvard s American Defense Group and to contribute to the war effort important information concerning works of art in the following countries Bulgaria Germany Greece Yugoslavia Romania and Tunisia Their task was to prepare for the Commission detailed lists and manuals on the art monuments and customs of these areas In a letter of July 6 1943 the Harvard Group s Dr Hugh O Neill Hencken curator of European archaeology at the Peabody Museum wrote to Milton Anastos then a Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellow Recent correspondence with the War Department makes it clear that our lists should be made in terms of culture in general rather than of art alone Consequently items should be starred not only in accordance with their artistic and scholarly importance but with regard to what value sentimental or otherwise is set upon them by the local population Wherever possible this value should be briefly explained We are also asked to supply information about the culture of the population in general their religion national and religious festivals including pilgrimages if possible with the dates on which these occur and any special or unusual customs a knowledge of which would aid American troops stationed in the region Margaret Ames Alexander a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks was assigned Hungary and Tunisia Her report on Hungary exemplifies the War Department s needs as described in the letter to Anastos Alexander s report includes a basic introduction to Hungary information regarding its council on monuments festivals pilgrimages holidays and a detailed list of monuments and artworks However it was her work on Tunisia for the Commission that fostered her lifelong interest in the Roman and early Byzantine floor mosaics in that country and her later detailed study of the mosaics built her scholarly career Margaret Alexander at Utica Tunisia 1971 Read More The First Fellow Lester Clarence Houck Posted on Oct 15 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Fellows Read comments None yet Although the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection transferred to Harvard in November 1940 the first Fellows and scholars did not take up residence until early February 1941 Then Director John Thacher wrote Mildred Bliss in California on February 5 1941 about their arrival Lester Houck the first student in residence arrived last Friday and is apparently very happy in the quarters Several mem bers of the American Council of Learned Societies who were here last Saturday for tea and to see the collection spoke very highly of him and said that he was exactly the type of person who should be here and that if all of our students were of the same quality Dumbarton Oaks would be setting a very high standard in scholarship Then yesterday Miss Florence Day who is chiefly interested in Persian and Islamic art arrived I put her into the room formerly used by Miss Godden as a sitting room as Miss Godden assured me that she did not need the room at all As it has its own bath and is separate from the other rooms on the third floor it was most convenient to be able to use it I did not want to put her down in the garage all alone Professor Morey is scheduled to arrive on Sunday with two of his pupils Morey of course will be in the house and the two students will be in the quarters with Houck This will fill up one end of the quarters I doubt whether there will be any more resident students this year Focillon is particularly happy about this as he as well as Koehler feel that for this year at least it is wise not to have too many Lester Clarence Houck 1911 80 the first Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks received a baccalaureate in 1934 and a doctorate in 1937 from the University of Michigan His dissertation was titled The History of Leo Diaconus An Edition which he planned to prepare as a publication at Dumbarton Oaks although he never brought the work to press In 1939 he was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome In the Underworld Courier 1 no 17 June 5 1941 the occasional newsletter that the staff at Dumbarton Oaks sent to the Blisses in California he is described as six feet six inches tall He lowers his head when going through many a door is lean as so tall a person is apt to be with a head which is distinguished in an intellectual way The written word the recorded thought is his absorbing passion Perhaps his selections from the research library are along certain definite lines but from the general literature sections he borrows 4 or 5 at a time books ranging from Dante and Gerard Hopkins to Harold Nicolson and Maurice Baring His humor is plentiful if pedagogic and though his scholastic opinions appear to be quite firmly established he has a pleasant receptivity to the potential usefulness of books with titles such as Mazes and Labyrinths Origins of Applied Chemistry On May 30 1941 at the end of his fellowship Houck wrote to Mildred Bliss When I left Italy in September I felt that I should not find any place in America where my researches could be appropriately carried on I was astonished to find that you had conceived here a center for such studies May I tell you how grateful I am for your having made possible this opportunity for me to carry on my studies in Byzantine history during these four months and my admiration for your generosity and vision He went on to recount the first Commencement at Dumbarton Oaks May 1941 I presume that you have been made aware how much the presence of Prof Focillon and Prof Morey perfect Nestors have contributed to the success of our mutual work Last Tuesday after the final colloquium we had dinner together and then exercises in the music room in which degrees and diplomas honoris causa were bestowed in Latin I have before me the citation or epitaph I composed for Prof Focillon and I have enclosed a copy with the thought that it might interest you Houck s Latin epitaph for Henri Focillon reads as follows Henricus Focillon vir eruditissimus et reverendissimus indigator et pacificator atrium Orientalium et Occidentalium earumque imperator benignus fons et origo librorum socius regalis horum Quercorum Dumbartonensium cum Focus atrium ut nomen suum indicat focus calens ardens benevolub jocosus plenus inspirationis sit hic et nunc Doctor Eloquentiae Convivalis hoonoris causa Quercorum proclamatur et omnibus privilegiis ad hanc honorem pertinentibus induitur Salve Doctor Henri Focillon a man most learned and most reverend investigator and pacifier of the arts of the East and the West and their benign emperor fountain and origin of books royal Fellow of these Dumbarton Oaks since he is a Fireplace as his name indicates of the arts a fireplace warm ardent benevolent jocose full of inspiration here and now is proclaimed Doctor of Convivial Eloquence of the Oaks for the sake of the honor and is endowed with all the privileges pertaining to the honor Hail Doctor Houck was a Junior Fellow between February and June and September and December 1941 However when the United States entered the Second World War after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 he left Dumbarton Oaks and joined the War Department s Office of Strategic Services an intelligence agency where he was chairman of the Dissemination Branch in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War He remained there until at least 1946 and did not return to Dumbarton Oaks Read More Mildred Bliss In Memoriam Henri Focillon 1943 Posted on Oct 12 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks In Their Own Words The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Read comments None yet Henri Focillon 1881 1943 was the first Senior Scholar at Dumbarton Oaks After a prolonged illness he died on March 3 1943 having been unable to return to France due to the Second World War Mildred Bliss was enormously fond of Focillon and close to both him and his wife Two days after his death she read this memorial tribute to those assembled in the Dumbarton Oaks Music Room Friday March 5 1943 4 o clock Dumbarton Oaks today is moved very deeply moved Maître Henri Focillon its friend will never again sit amongst us radiating wisdom and charm and wit One s memory sees him coming cautiously down these steps his head stooped and to one side and from under heavy lenses those clever and observing eyes seeing everything while he deprecatingly says Ah Madame j ai de si mauvais yeux je ne vois rien But a moment later still looking down though pointing upward to a textile high on the wall Ah La belle tapisserie copte les Néréïdes n est ce pas J aurai beaucoup de plaisir a l étudier de plus près Seldom has knowledge been disseminated with so gentle a touch or wit been so kindly or instruction so enthralling Henri Focillon was the embodiment of the Mediterranean Culture as expressed through the long and distinguished tradition of the humanistic discipline in France His nature as capacious for right feeling as his brain for broad thinking held unswervingly to his self imposed loyalties He abhorred cruelty despised insincerity and had contempt for the meretricious in all its forms Yet it was not because of his intense dislikes that the world recognized the strength of his unusual personality but because of the integrities by which he lived Kindliness and witty ridicule were his most devastating arms and he had never I imagine been defeated in a tilt With apprehensions so sensitive and analytical abilities so developed he had the exceptional capacity for moral suffering which is the price that must be met by the intellectual and the aesthete The somber tragedy of his country bowed him down Dumbarton Oaks cannot forget the physical battle for survival that Professor Focillon waged with his stricken heart waged and won during two years of torment A lesser nature would have been destroyed long since But the wound was too deep The Master groped through the black night which engulfs France and knew he would never see his land again But though too late for him he held the certainty of the rebirth of his race and the continuity of his nation Of Focillon s scholarly activities I am not alas competent to speak Professor Koehler his colleague whose gifts our friend greatly respected will I know do justice to the results of a lifetime of great industry and constructive accomplishments We laymen will remember him for his genius for stimulating the best within our poor selves no longer barren under the spell of his radiating mellowness Dumbarton Oaks has had the rare privilege of being led by him he lived among us he shared our daily life and his wisdom and his smile are woven into the texture of our inheritance the rich inheritance of the Humanism of France of which he was both the disciple and the master From the Thames to the Rio de la Plata from Moscow and Leningrad to Constantinople and throughout the breadth of Europe there was admiration for the scholarship and respect for the character of Maître Henri Focillon of the Collège de France and of Dumbarton Oaks where there is enduring affection as well Mildred Bliss For a tribute to Henri Focillon by his former students see here Jurgis Baltrušaitis Sumner Crosby and Henri Focillon Yale University Read More Wilhelm Koehler and the Research Archives Posted on Sep 28 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Read comments None yet In 1941 the Administrative Committee at Dumbarton Oaks appointed Wilhelm Koehler as Senior Fellow in Charge of Research a position he would hold until 1944 see post Koehler was a recognized authority on Carolingian manuscript illustration and had come to Harvard University in 1932 as the Kuno Franke Visiting Professor of German Art and Culture After Harvard s medieval art historian A Kingsley Porter died in a drowning accident in 1933 Koehler was chosen to replace him As Senior Fellow in Charge of Research at Dumbarton Oaks Koehler was tasked with developing the first academic program a program that at his instigation was to be largely based on collaborative research Koehler s program in fact was quite similar to that used by the German Archaeological Institute at its various locations Young scholars of promise who typically had already completed their doctoral degrees were to be awarded Junior Fellowships for a period up to three years Koehler advocated a fairly constant rotation in the fellowship appointments We expect that eventually a certain regularity in the yearly turn over of older Fellows into suitable positions elsewhere and their replacement by younger scholars will develop which would provide at the same time for a continuous circulation of new blood Wilhelm Koehler The Dumbarton Oaks Program and the Principle of Collaborative Research Speculum 18 no 1 January 1943 118 While at Dumbarton Oaks the Fellows were to devote half of their time to a collective research project and half of their time to their own individual research The collaborative project involved the gathering of data to demonstrate the formation and development of early Byzantine art This was done in order to dispel what Koehler called the arbitrary hypotheses which he believed plagued Byzantine studies The focus of the research was to be on early Byzantine monumental structures in situ including all integral decorative accessories such as sculptures mosaics wall paintings and pavements To be excluded from this research was what Koehler termed the roving material consisting of the countless small works of art which uprooted and homeless for many centuries constitute the bulk of Byzantine material in our collections Koehler believed that scholars had adequately catalogued the roving material This included the Dumbarton Oaks Census of Early Christian and Byzantine Art in North American Collections which contained over 11 000 mounted black and white photographic prints of Byzantine small scale objects Koehler stressed that only by relating the roving to the monumental material will it be possible to make progress and to put Byzantine studies on a sound basis But as the monumental material has never been systematically surveyed and organized it is suggested that Dumbarton Oaks which has made in the Census an outstanding contribution to the roving material should now undertake the study of monumental material List of illuminations and primary texts related to the monastery of St John of Studios Fontes Theophanes the Confessor Chronographia text on the monastery of St John of Studios Constantinople Fontes Koehler divided this work into two parts which quickly came to be known as the Fontes and the Research Archives Those Junior Fellows who were historians and philologists would work on the Fontes and search out primary textual sources for passages relevant to early Byzantine buildings The Junior Fellows who were archaeologists and art historians would review the existing publications on Byzantine monumental structures and compile critical dossiers There was no thought of going to study the actual monuments as this was the height of the Second World War and travel was difficult at best The long term goal of this collective research was to be the publication of an anthology of relevant primary sources and the establishment of a Research Archives for the benefit of future scholars working at Dumbarton Oaks Koehler articulated his vision for this academic program in a paper titled The Dumbarton Oaks Program and the Principle of Collaborative Research which he read at a meeting of the College Art Association and then published in the journal Speculum Monastery of St John of Studios ground plan Research Archives In explaining his program of collaborative research Koehler faulted the typical research institute for exclusively fostering isolated scholarly investigation In his opinion this tradition had often failed due to the fact that no one scholar had the training or the resources to successfully investigate the complexities of large research topics As Koehler put it too often the effort on the part of the scholar is out of all proportion to the result Dumbarton Oaks in his plan would firmly depart from this well established but ill conceived tradition The collaborative research of scholars in residence over a considerable period of time would be the cure for this unfortunate situation to coordinate the research of a group of scholars who are living in different places would be a difficult and strenuous task requiring much unselfishness much tact skill and patience on the part of the scholar who is in charge of the project Whereas by working together at Dumbarton Oaks scholars could systematically match the pertinent written sources to the monumental art of all early Byzantine provinces and from this combined data stylistic developments and chronologies could be established To do this a collaborative team was needed Koehler summarized the program the research program of Dumbarton Oaks implies that the individual efforts of a group of scholars are directed towards a common goal of broad historical scope which is the clarification of the origins and of the development of early Byzantine art That means that to a certain degree the individual scholar yields his independence in favor of collaboration with other scholars Moreover the close contact between collaborators stimulates the efforts of the individual and provides the basis for constructive criticism on the one hand and for reciprocal advice and support on the other Interestingly in this period of the Second World War Koehler equated the collaborative research model to the model of democracy the functioning of the individual needed to be channeled to the greater need of society which was a fundamental principle of democracy Koehler s restriction of the initial collaborative research program to the early Byzantine period and to monumental structures and their decorations was done only for reasons of expediency Koehler envisioned that the program would expand to include the middle and late Byzantine periods as well and perhaps more importantly would embrace church history economic history the history of literature etc Only at Dumbarton Oaks Koehler argued where its Fellows were chosen from the many branches of Byzantine studies could this close collaboration among the various Byzantine disciplines be possible Koehler suggested that scholars engaged in the analysis and interpretation of this material would be led into other fields of Byzantine civilization in order to correlate its development with the background of institutions religious thought liturgy and social and economic development and other aspects of eastern history local and general For the interpretation we will need cooperation between the historian of art the specialists in social and economic history the experts in the history of the Church and those interested in Geistesgeschichte and other related fields Koehler s collaborative research plan at Dumbarton Oaks was not destined to endure however The catalyst for its abandonment was the arrival at Dumbarton Oaks in 1943 of the Princeton University medieval art historian Albert Mathias Friend Jr Read More Wilhelm Koehler First Senior Fellow in Charge of Research Posted on Sep 21 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Fellows Read comments None yet In 2002 the medieval art historian David Wright published an article on one of Dumbarton Oaks s first Senior Research Fellows Wilhelm Koehler who worked at the institute between 1941 and 1944 In that study Wilhelm Koehler and the Original Plan for Research at Dumbarton Oaks in Pioneers of Byzantine Studies in America edited by John W Barker Amsterdam 2002 134 75 Wright characterizes Koehler s impact on research at Dumbarton Oaks as tremendous and states that Koehler charted the institute s academic program during its formative years Wilhelm Koehler was born on December 17 1884 in Reval Russia modern Tallin Estonia He studied art history completing his dissertation in 1906 In 1932 he became the Kuno Franke Professor of German Art and Culture at Harvard University After Harvard s medieval art historian A Kingsley Porter died in a drowning accident in 1933 Koehler was chosen to replace him At the inauguration of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection on November 1 2 1940 Koehler gave one of the inaugural lectures Byzantine Art in the West which was subsequently published in the first volume of Dumbarton Oaks Papers Charles Rufus Morey 1877 1955 Henri Focillon 1881 1943 As a medievalist and a Harvard University professor Koehler was seen as a natural choice to help shape Dumbarton Oaks s academic program He was invited therefore in 1941 to be one of three Senior Research Fellows also called Senior Fellows and to help direct the research of the first class of Junior Fellows The other two Senior Research Fellows were Charles Rufus Morey and Henri Focillon At the time the nascent academic program at Dumbarton Oaks had no definite direction Charles Rufus Morey arranged for the Junior Fellows to deliver a series of five colloquia under his direction According to Paul Sachs chairman of the Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Committee Morey was anxious to start a series of seminars of a more scholarly nature than Professor Focillon s symposium in which he hopes the students will play an important part In the May 13 1941 edition of the Underworld Courier the newsletter that the Dumbarton Oaks staff sent each week in 1941 to Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss in California one of these colloquia is referenced As to the second of the Colloquium meetings organized by Prof Morey for the discussions among a small group of scholars of problems taken from their work or from that of the D O junior fellows Miss Florence Day spoke about the glazed pottery of Mesopotamia in the Parthian Period Her talk was illustrated by photographs and drawings from her own notes thrown on the screen by means of our new lantern which can project opaque objects as well as normal slides Miss Day speaks clearly and with assurance and made her points well A lively discussion developed afterward in which Myron Smith Dr Holland and Professor Morey took part Miss Day answered their questions ably and made an excellent showing throughout One of the main points in her description of Roman Syrian wares related to the so called Parthian pottery was illustrated by the lamp from the attendant s desk at the main entrance to the new wing We removed shade and globe and had it in a place of honor as Exhibit A There is a resulting uneasiness

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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    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 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 Philip Johnson s New Pavilion at Dumbarton Oaks Posted on Dec 21 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Philip Johnson Pre Columbian Collection Philip Johnson Pavilion Collection Oaks News Pre Columbian Pavilion January 2016 Read comments None yet By the late 1950s not quite two decades after the Blisses had given Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University space was already at a premium Mildred Bliss s rare collection of garden landscape books had outgrown the Founders Room where it was then housed and the growing Byzantine coins and seals collections as well as Beatrix Farrand s gift of drawings plans and letters relating to the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens needed space to be properly housed On December 20 1957 Robert Bliss wrote the President and Fellows of Harvard College For some time past it has been evident that additional space must be provided at Dumbarton Oaks for the exhibition of objects in the Collection not now on display as well as to provide suitable rooms for the use and study of a library of books on gardens their design and ornament and related subjects which Mrs Bliss has been collecting in recent years and which it is her hope eventually to convey to Dumbarton Oaks Also adequate space should be prepared where the collection of Byzantine coins and seals at Dumbarton Oaks can be exhibited and studied In addition it will be necessary to make provision for increased stack room As momentum built for a new addition at Dumbarton Oaks the Blisses realized that this should also include space for Robert Bliss s collection of Pre Columbian art then on display at the National Gallery of Art Philip Johnson 1906 2005 Somewhat surprisingly the modernist architect Philip Johnson was approached to design the addition which was to be located to the south of the Byzantine Collection on 32nd Street Johnson designed a pavilion consisting of eight domed glass cylinders and his design pleased the Blisses when he submitted it and a model in 1959 However they were hesitant to approve the design for its intended location which was to the side of the front yard of the Dumbarton Oaks mansion By 1960 a compromise solution was reached the Johnson pavilion reduced in scale would be built in a secluded area known as the Copse to the north of the Music Room It would house Robert Bliss s Pre Columbian art and library and there would be ample room in the basement for the Byzantine coins and seals as well as a much needed new photography lab Moreover the sleek modernity of the building s design and the innovative Plexiglas stands and cases that were eventually designed for the pavilion would show off the Pre Columbian objects as artworks To house Mildred Bliss s garden library a traditional red brick building matching in size the two existing Byzantine Collection pavilions would be designed by the Blisses friend Frederic Rhinelander King and be built where the Johnson pavilion had first been envisioned see post Philip Johnson model for the new museum addition at Dumbarton Oaks 1959 Helmut Jacoby for Philip Johnson Associates Architects Pre Columbian Pavilion Watercolor 1960 The Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Board and the Trustees for Harvard University were hesitant to approve the additions however They feared that the new buildings would divert resources from the established Byzantine Studies program They wanted strict assurances that the existing focus on Byzantine studies would not be diminished in any way In response to these fears the Blisses arranged to contribute additional funds to the endowment to cover the maintenance of the new Pre Columbian and garden library wings Nor was this the last hurdle to be cleared New construction in Georgetown needed the approval of the D C Commission of Fine Arts tasked with preserving the Old Georgetown atmosphere that characterized the Historic District At first the Commission seemed a possible threat to the erection of Johnson s modern structure Ultimately the Commission granted their permission to begin construction with the understanding that a brick wall and evergreen plantings would hide the pavilion from street view All of the obstacles now removed building finally commenced uninhibited Elizabeth P Benson and James Mayo first Pre Columbian Collection installation 1963 With a new home under construction for the Pre Columbian Collection the final step was to find the proper person to install and take care of it Elizabeth Betty Benson who had worked extensively with the Bliss collection at the National Gallery of Art was asked to become the Curator of the Pre Columbian Collection in its new home In a letter to Samuel Lothrop Bliss voiced his endorsement for Benson whom he noted had such an interest in the collection and knew it almost as well as I do Unfortunately Robert Woods Bliss would not live to see the Philip Johnson pavilion completed or his collection exhibited at Dumbarton Oaks He died just a year before the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art was opened on December 10 1963 to critical and public acclaim In his foreword to a new Handbook of the Pre Columbian Collection Director John Thacher remarked The Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art was formed by the strong personal interest of a man deeply engaged in his subject After decades of collecting and years of planning for the art to be exhibited Bliss s desire that the public learn of the artistic splendor of ancient America has been realized Read more about Philip Johnson and the Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Pavilion here Pre Columbian Pavilion Interior Read More Digger Curator Soldier Spy Samuel Kirkland Lothrop Posted on Nov 09 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Pre Columbian Collection Collection Read comments None yet From 1946 on the Pre Columbian archaeologist and scholar Samuel Kirkland Lothrop 1892 1965 was intimately associated with the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art and the Dumbarton Oaks program in Pre Columbian Studies In 1946 when Bliss began planning to lend his collection to the National Gallery of Art he wanted the exhibition to have a handbook He first turned to his friend Alfred Tozzer at the time a member of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard Tozzer recommended his former student Sam Lothrop Lothrop a researcher at Harvard s Peabody Museum went to work on the collection He was instrumental in preparing Indigenous Art of the Americas Collection of Robert Woods Bliss published in 1947 the year the exhibition opened to the public at the National Gallery Impressed with Lothrop s work Bliss relied on him as a principal adviser on the acquisition of Pre Columbian objects and the formation of his collection Bliss also turned to Lothrop to author much of the text of a more luxurious book on the collection that was published in 1957 entitled Robert Woods Bliss Collection Pre Columbian Art This book was the first coffee table book on the topic and featured full page color photographs of isolated objects by the well known photographer Nikolas Muray 1892 1965 Pre Columbian Art Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art Phaidon Press 1957 Lothrop was educated at the Groton School where he played football and rowed crew According to his younger brother Francis Lothrop s friendship with William Crocker a Groton classmate fostered his interest in archaeology as he found himself particularly drawn to the objects in the antiquities collection of Crocker s father After Lothrop s matriculation at Harvard in 1911 his archaeological interests were reinforced by Alfred Tozzer who encouraged him to get his first taste of fieldwork in Pecos New Mexico under the direction of Alfred V Kidder Lothrop graduated in 1915 and for two years traveled throughout Central America as a research associate of the Peabody Museum He studied Pre Columbian collections in Mexico Cuba and the Dominican Republic and excavated at various sites including Maya Tulum under the direction of archaeologist Sylvanus Griswold Vay Morley Alfred M Tozzer undertaking fieldwork with the Lacandon Maya 1905 Sylvanus Griswold Vay Morley 1883 1948 at Copan Unbeknownst to Lothrop Morley was also a secret agent and had been charged with investigating rumors of German submarine bases in southern Mexico and in Central America While excavating in Honduras in 1917 Lothrop received a telegram from Tozzer saying Meet Morley Guatemala City May 3rd without fail At that meeting Morley convinced Lothrop to become an agent and he entered the remainder of the First World War as a Second Lieutenant in the U S Army Military Intelligence Corps After the war Lothrop returned to his graduate work in archaeology and anthropology at Harvard earning his doctorate in 1921 From 1924 until 1930 Lothrop was a member of the research staff at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York When funding for that position was cut because of the Great Depression Lothrop returned to Harvard as a research associate and curator of Andean Archaeology at the Peabody Museum a position he held until he retired in 1958 Lothrop believed that archaeology should be accessible and took pains to ensure that broad audiences could understand his writing He limited his use of jargon and strove to build a narrative account in his publications placing his subjects in their geographical historical artistic and technological contexts Lothrop also once employed this popular touch to rein in a group of plunderers Convincing them to form an archaeological society Lothrop helped them obtain their loot while still preserving the invaluable stratigraphic information that had previously been lost in the course of their illicit digging Robert Woods Bliss and Samuel K Lothrop examining Pre Columbian objects Lothrop s long association with Robert eventually resulted in a deep friendship He initially maintained a formal relationship with Bliss who endeavored to initiate a greater informality with his collaborator It was not until January 1951 after nearly five years of acquaintance that Lothrop finally signed a letter Sam Bliss remarked in his next letter I am glad you signed your letter Sam and the next one to me I hope you will begin dear Bob or Robert I think the Mr we might consider thrown into the excavation refuse Similarly one day at the National Gallery Lothrop held up a piece of jade and turned to Bliss and remarked The color of

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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    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 United They Stand Byzantine Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Posted on Nov 19 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Garden and Landscape Studies Byzantine Studies Life at Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Studies Fellows Fellowship Program Read comments None yet The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection can be thought of as an academic tripod Its three legs Byzantine Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Studies work both independently and in combination to support the institute s ultimate goal of advancing knowledge As three disparate disciplines the fields of study coexist in a way that is unique to most research centers Perhaps the greatest benefit of this coexistence however is that visiting researchers are afforded exposure to new perspectives that might affect their intellectual growth The Byzantine Studies program had its first Fellows in 1941 the Pre Columbian program in 1970 and the Garden and Landscape program in 1972 Since 1970 the interaction among scholars of these different disciplines has proven to be fruitful and many scholars who have spent time at Dumbarton Oaks fondly recall such interactions when they have been interviewed for the Dumbarton Oaks Oral History Project For example Pre Columbian Fellow Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle has spoken about the value of the weekly

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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    and evergreen plantings would hide the pavilion from street view All of the obstacles now removed building finally commenced uninhibited Elizabeth P Benson and James Mayo first Pre Columbian Collection installation 1963 With a new home under construction for the Pre Columbian Collection the final step was to find the proper person to install and take care of it Elizabeth Betty Benson who had worked extensively with the Bliss collection at the National Gallery of Art was asked to become the Curator of the Pre Columbian Collection in its new home In a letter to Samuel Lothrop Bliss voiced his endorsement for Benson whom he noted had such an interest in the collection and knew it almost as well as I do Unfortunately Robert Woods Bliss would not live to see the Philip Johnson pavilion completed or his collection exhibited at Dumbarton Oaks He died just a year before the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art was opened on December 10 1963 to critical and public acclaim In his foreword to a new Handbook of the Pre Columbian Collection Director John Thacher remarked The Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art was formed by the strong personal interest of a man deeply engaged in his subject After decades of collecting and years of planning for the art to be exhibited Bliss s desire that the public learn of the artistic splendor of ancient America has been realized Read more about Philip Johnson and the Dumbarton Oaks Pre Columbian Pavilion here Pre Columbian Pavilion Interior Read More Changes at Dumbarton Oaks under Giles Constable Posted on Dec 10 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Scholars of Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Life at Dumbarton Oaks Giles Constable Fellows Building Fellowship Program Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Pre Columbian Pavilion Read comments None yet Giles Constable was the third Director of Dumbarton Oaks and the first to be chosen from the ranks of Harvard University medievalist professors a tradition that remains unbroken to the present day As Director he quickly realized that changes were needed at Dumbarton Oaks in order to strengthen the institution both physically and intellectually Constable articulated these changes in his annual reports to the President of Harvard University arguing that Dumbarton Oaks needed to evolve from the tradition of perceived elitism and the Founders paternalism to a new era of academic institutionalization By 1984 at the end of his seven year tenure most if not all of the changes he envisioned had been made Physical Plant The roofs of all areas except the Orangery and the Pre Columbian pavilion were replaced The third floor of the Main House was reinforced with steel and concrete in order to install shelving for part of the Library s holdings Library shelving including compact stack shelving was installed in areas of the basement to serve the growing libraries of the three Studies programs Basement areas were retrofitted to house the Princeton Index the Census of Byzantine Art in North American Collections and archival holdings Areas housing books and photographs were maintained at a constant temperature and relative humidity level for the first time Other areas at Dumbarton Oaks were air conditioned for the first time which allowed for a twelve month use of the physical plant The Fellows Building now known as the Guest House was renovated with a new kitchen and dining room and en suite bathrooms in each bedroom see post Down and spot lights were installed in the Music Room Plans were initiated for the creation of the Byzantine Courtyard Gallery and excavation under the Music Room This would come to fruition during the next administration Academic Programs Appointments of Dumbarton Oaks professors in Byzantine fields at Harvard University were inaugurated Angeliki Laiou was appointed Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History and Ihor Ševčenko was appointed Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine History and Literature beginning in 1980 81 Senior Research Associates and Research Associates were appointed at Dumbarton Oaks in lieu of having a permanent faculty These appointments however were allowed to lapse beginning in 1984 Joint academic appointments allowing some Research Associates to teach at universities were created The Associate spent half the academic year at Dumbarton Oaks pursuing research and half the year teaching as an assistant professor The Senior Fellows took on the responsibility of selecting annual Fellows and began to interview applicants at Dumbarton Oaks The Fellowship program was increased from 25 appointments in 1977 78 to 57 appointments in 1983 84 This was in part due to the inauguration of the Summer Fellows program in 1980 81 when twelve Summer Fellows were appointed for the first time An Author Index of Byzantine Scholarly Literature II was created in 1977 78 based on the annual bibliographies published in the Byzantinische Zeitschrift this Author Index was published in microfiche format and from it several Dumbarton Oaks Bibliographies were created on various subjects The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium was initiated by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was under the direction of Alexander P Kazhdan The Pre Columbian Lbrary was catalogued under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Institutional Policies The gardens were opened to visitors in the summer beginning in 1978 An admission fee to the gardens was charged in order to increase revenue beginning in 1982 83 The collections were opened to the public in the summer beginning in 1979 A docent program was inaugurated for the collections beginning in 1982 83 Judy Ullmann Siggins was appointed as Assistant Director in 1978 Computers were introduced into the workflow at Dumbarton Oaks in 1983 84 They were employed by the Byzantine Library to process acquisitions and serials by the Director s Office for document word processing and for printing Greek in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium The changes instigated at Dumbarton Oaks during Giles Constable s administration were formidable and set a new trajectory for the institution Nevertheless Constable also faced several difficult

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  • Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art — Dumbarton Oaks
    Supplement to the Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art Document Actions Print this Share Filed under Art History Dumbarton Oaks Museum Pre Columbian Collection Pre Columbian Studies Dumbarton Oaks Publications Out of print Navigation Publications Online Resources Publications Books in Print Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre Columbian Art Online Publications Dumbarton Oaks Papers Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Annual Reports Resources for

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  • An Early Stone Pectoral from Southeastern Mexico — Dumbarton Oaks
    figure and glyphic text incised on its reverse offers evidence of the presence of writing in the Late Pre Classic Maya lowlands Studies in Pre Columbian Art and Archaeology Number 1 Document Actions Print this Share Filed under Art History Pre Columbian Collection Pre Columbian Studies Dumbarton Oaks Publications Online Archaeology Navigation Publications Online Resources Publications Books in Print An Early Stone Pectoral from Southeastern Mexico Online Publications Dumbarton Oaks

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