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  • Dumbarton Oaks Conference on the Olmec — Dumbarton Oaks
    ISBN Hardcover 1968 Out of print This text may be freely downloaded here Document Actions Print this Share Filed under Art History Pre Columbian Studies Dumbarton Oaks Publications Online Symposium Navigation Publications Online Resources Publications Books in Print Dumbarton Oaks Conference on the Olmec Online Publications Dumbarton Oaks Papers Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Annual Reports Resources for Authors and Editors Byzantine Seals Online Catalogue Bliss Tyler Correspondence Middle East Garden

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/resources/publications/books-in-print/dumbarton-oaks-conference-on-the-olmec (2016-02-18)
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  • The Mural Painting of Teotihuacán — Dumbarton Oaks
    There are many questions regarding the style and iconography of Teotihuacán mural paintings that still need to be answered and this volume is an invaluable scholarly aid in pursuing the issues Esther Pasztory The Art Bulletin Document Actions Print this Share Filed under Art History Paintings Pre Columbian Studies Dumbarton Oaks Publications Out of print Navigation Publications Online Resources Publications Books in Print The Mural Painting of Teotihuacán Online Publications

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/resources/publications/books-in-print/the-mural-painting-of-teotihuaca-n (2016-02-18)
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  • Jeffrey Quilter — Dumbarton Oaks
    some ways ABF Going back to something you said earlier you mentioned that you were interested in continuing the tradition that you inherited when you became Director so what exactly what do you see as being that tradition JQ That tradition takes a number of forms One is as I said having a meeting place for scholars who approach the subject matter somewhat differently Anthropologists anthropological archaeologists tend to approach their subject matter from a cultural or social perspective and they re looking at the objects in the Dumbarton Oaks galleries in the social context Art historians traditionally tend to look at the object and look at it outwards So having a chance for those people too find topics for example for symposia for workshops for roundtables where you could have this kind of mix occur to the benefit of both hopefully is one of the traditions One of the other traditions is to have those kinds of meetings Betty Benson you know many of the important first steps or critical steps in the cracking of the Maya code as I m sure Mike Coe will tell you and as he goes over in his book you might take a look at his book before you talk to him Breaking the Maya Code many of those initial steps occurred at Dumbarton Oaks occurred with Betty Benson literally getting on the floor with other scholars and going over glyphs and working through these issues of working on those hieroglyphs to break the Maya code I hope that we can make similar kinds of achievements although even coming close to that kind of achievement would be significant So I d say those are the two main axes I see One is having meetings that get the right people together and that focus on issues that are either the time is right to have a synthesis of discussion or the work has sort of reached a point where it s the right time to have a meeting And then being able to identify those points or to have a meeting that pushes the discussion to that point is one thing And then the other one is to focus on we Dumbarton Oaks I still say we Dumbarton Oaks tends to focus more on the art symbolism religion side of the discussion than the sort of bare stones and bones approaches So those are the traditions CW And you think that you met your goals for the most part you said JQ Well you know one always maybe in scholarship we re sort of used to always being overly critical on ourselves as well as other people though a lot of scholars seem to mostly say it for other people I always think of Gee there are a number of things other projects ideas I had that I wasn t able to do because my time was up I think some of those things were certainly some of the things we did I felt were certainly heading in the right direction One example and you mentioned publications There hadn t been a major Inka symposium at Dumbarton Oaks ever We had that in 1997 I believe it was We did it with the top scholars in the field As a matter of fact we took a group photograph and there were four scholars John Rowe John Murra Maria Rostworowski and Tom Zuidema and two of those people John Rowe and John Murra are no longer with us so that will be a historic photograph And one of the organizers Craig Morris who was a leading scholar also unfortunately at a very young age is no longer with us either And we did that symposium not only on a crucial topic a major topic the Inka but also we did it with the wonderful cooperation and support from the Peruvian Embassy So that was fulfilling sort of two goals at once which was working with Latin Americans and having the opportunity to do a major topic Another one that I m particularly pleased with is I organized with John Hoopes a symposium on southern Central America and Colombia Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica Panama and Colombia and that symposium I think still stands for the record as having the greatest number of Latin American scholars participating that we ve ever had before So that one I was very pleased with as well And then last but not least my last symposium was in Peru done in conjunction with the La Católica University of Peru as well as the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum and that was quite a feat to pull off That was the first year that our facilities were closed because of the renovation but it was a great opportunity to sort of take D O on the road and actually bring it to Latin America So that was a great chance again to do a major topic but working closely with Latin Americans CW And then how did you find being the Curator and the Director of Pre Columbian Studies at the same time Did you integrate it seems as if the relationships between the collections and the studies programs varied depending on the personalities involved at the times but did you feel as if you particularly integrated those parts of D O since you held those roles at the same time JQ Well a lot has changed in terms of the way in which these things are configured and thought of When I got to D O I was told quite clearly that we had a Collection We didn t have a museum The galleries were only open from 2 to 5 p m And what s the difference between a collection and a museum you may ask The difference between a collection and a museum is that a museum is an institution which is designed to have objects artifacts programs to be available to the public with specific mandates to educate inform provide aesthetic experience etc A collection is exactly that it s a group of objects which is not necessarily organized on the basis of anything other than itself if you will And the idea of making clear that we re talking about a collection rather than a museum is that the brief hours and the way in which the collection was presented was intended to provide something for the public to see but to maintain an emphasis that we were primarily a research institution in support of scholarship and that our sense of commitment to the public came secondary frankly And I think that s great you know I think that s perfectly fine I think that there s all sorts of museums in Washington D C all sorts of museums in any major city and I don t think every collection or every set of artifacts or objects should necessarily have to try and be the Smithsonian The Smithsonian s supported by public monies and it is obliged to serve the American public who helps keep it running But I think having places that are designed primarily for research I thought that was a perfectly logical idea I think one of the things that s happened between now and then is that at one point suddenly the Collection started being called a museum without any thought without any discussion as to what all that meant what the consequences of that meant what the obligations and you might say Well it s just a name But you know we re scholars we re academics We make our business being particular about what you call things and how you refer to things and the consequences of doing that And I think it s I m not saying it s wrong that D O now calls its collections museums but I think it was unfortunate that this change took place without any deliberated and deliberate deliberations on that whole issue and what it meant and what the options were It was kind of done rather haphazardly and slapdash if you ask me So for much of my time being a Curator and being Director of Studies was not a major problem Now there was constant care and attention to and interactions with the Collection There were plenty of scholars who came to look at the collections Not every Fellow wants to look at the collections but there are always scholars who are coming to look at them We also had a large scale project for a catalogue series and one catalogue was published just as I came into office that catalogue was being finished that s the Andean catalogue which was done by Elizabeth Boone One of my great burdens and trials at D O was the catalogue projects because and it would take more than your tape has time to fill It s a long story as to why the catalogue project has been so onerous and difficult in terms of its production but we did manage to get one volume out which is the Olmec volume and that was a major triumph Unfortunately there are a whole bunch of other volumes that should have come out that just never did and I know there s one that s still being worked on and I hope it comes out So I was fine with being Curator I did have in the old system when the Assistant Curator reported directly to me now you know Juan Antonio Murro right CW No JQ You don t Well Juan Antonio Murro is the Assistant Curator for Pre Columbian He reports to Gudrun Well I hired him because he at first reported to me Before the reorganization he reported to me Prior to Juan Antonio there was a woman named Loa Traxler who you should also interview by the way ABF Yeah we will JQ who reported to me and I hired And prior to her there was this woman Carol Callaway who I mentioned And they whether it was Carol Loa or Juan Antonio they handled the day to day care and feeding if you will of the collection so it was not a huge burden to me I sort of made the executive decisions and so forth It worked perfectly well So it was no major problem ABF Can you tell us a bit about the experience of putting together the Olmec catalogue JQ Ah Yes I can tell you quite a bit about it I can tell you I told you hours about it Well I guess this is for the record so I ll sit back and I ll tell you I think that the catalogue projects started before I came to D O It was initiated by Elizabeth Boone My impression I don t know if this is a fact my impression is that she convinced Angeliki that it was going to be a quick and dirty Oh we ll just publish some little books you know just little guides user s guides And while she said that what really happened was is she went and she got some money outside money and produced this two volume show it to the camera Jeff and produced this elaborate beautiful set of books on the Andean catalogue And then she left She left the job and she had a catalogue for southern Central America and Colombia set She had a catalogue that s supposed to be Maya and Olmec set to do and she had a catalogue for Central Mexico supposedly lined up And I got there and I said Well I m not going to publish a rinky dink little handbook I want to publish a catalogue that looks like this But the problem was that the budgeting and the timing for doing this were completely inappropriate The budgeting actually was not a major problem because Angeliki actually when Angeliki saw these volumes she got extremely upset She actually said to me she said I didn t sign on to produce these big volumes I agreed to a small publication And I said Well I just got here All I did was proof the color on the final proofs that s all Everything else was done by Elizabeth So she said Well I And then she brought copies up here for the what s it called the foundation the people the Director reports to the Fellows Harvard Fellows and they loved it They just loved it Oh this is wonderful this is beautiful And so she came back and said Oh it was great a big success They loved it So I was given the go ahead basically to continue publishing volumes in that format but the problem was is that the scheduling was all messed up and these things were supposed to be turned in at a much more rapid rate than was possible which is another problem At this point the problem lies not with anybody at Dumbarton Oaks and this is of course a problem that is not just pertinent to these catalogues but is a problem with all D O publications that I had to deal with as well as any edited book I ve ever had to deal with anywhere which is that trying to get authors to produce the books or their chapters on time is extremely difficult Because these scholars most of whom are big names very important very busy they say Yes yes yes to ten different things and then they only have time to do three And if you happen to be number four on the list you know it doesn t matter if there s ten things that they said they re going to do and you re number four if they can only do three you know I mean it s as good as a mile you might as well be number ten because if the work doesn t get done the book doesn t get published So that s the problem I faced with the catalogues The main problem I faced had nothing to do with the directors of D O or anything at D O it had to do with getting the authors to produce the materials on time Their schedules were inappropriate we extended them they still didn t come through so we eventually had to cancel a few That s what happened There re chances that these things can be resurrected perhaps by Joanne and I wish her a lot of luck I mean the one thing that I don t miss from D O is I mean editing is a thankless job basically It s an important job and you can gain satisfaction from it because this was an important symposium this is going to be a landmark book and you as an editor helped make it happen but the amount of credit you get you know I believe it was Elizabeth Boone who said that editing books was like doing other people s laundry I think that s absolutely right It s kind of a thankless job even though everybody wants clean clothes Although I m still editing D O books here you know There s still D O books that because I was involved with them I m still involved with this I mean it s going to go on and on and on I know Jan s got the axe out so supposedly I m supposed to get these done fast But that s been a problem and it s a headache CW And you mentioned already being very aware of Robert Bliss s legacy as a collector and of the role Betty Benson played in founding the collection but how I m sure you were aware of that before coming in as director but how did you encounter that inheritance in your role as Curator JQ Well there were many people there who still remember the Blisses Sue Boyd knew the Blisses Betty Benson knew the Blisses so there the memory of them as the founding mother and father still quite strong Ask some of the guards and they ll say they ve seen them at night If you want a really oral history you should go ask Carlos about what they CW Ghost stories JQ Yeah because there was lots of ghost stories And of course Betty even now is still an active scholar in the field and she came regularly to D O I always felt that you know it was my privilege to involve Betty as much as possible in the life of D O considering how important a figure she is in terms of her research as well as her importance in establishing the program So that certainly was the way I felt their presence both in terms of conscious memory of there were some folks who passed away while I was there too who also knew the Blisses As well as the vision of having that beautiful Philip Johnson you know the Philip Johnson gallery has problems from a modern curatorial standard but it s still a magical place when all is said and done ABF What are the problems as you see them JQ Well the main problem is light Now that s been remedied I believe by the new glass that s been installed But Johnson wanted to have as much natural light and as much greenery as a backdrop to these pre Columbian objects and visually it s spectacular The main problem is that most galleries especially for things like showing textiles or for things that are subject to damage by sunlight you can t let all that light in It s like showing Rembrandt prints with a big searchlight on them or something But that I believe has been remedied by the glass or at least modified The other problem it had of course is roofs The roof leaked which I suppose has also been fixed Philip Johnson is famous a lot of architects are famous for beautiful buildings but engineering they re disasters like Fallingwater So the roof leaked a lot and it was a big problem but it s still a wonderful building And it is to be hoped that the leaking problem and the light problem have been at least ameliorated CW I think Betty Benson told a story of going through the Gallery when it was being built and noticing that the acoustics were really bad and Philip Johnson was there and he waved her off and said No no it s fine it s fine it s not a problem And she said Well yes but you don t have to give lectures in here JQ Yeah you mean the echo problem CW Right JQ Which of course most school kids or even older people when they come that s the first thing the thing they remember is standing and getting that weird echo effect you know where your voice travels and so forth But the other interesting thing about that is as I remember that Philip Johnson knew of that effect and the original design for the Gallery there s actually a photo there re a couple of photos around of him and they actually installed these for a while you know each one is circular and they did put cylindrical display cases in the middle of each of those pods so if you put a cylindrical and they were sort of white painted white on the bottom If you put a cylinder in the middle of each one of those pods it negates the effect of the echo because no one can stand there But what happened was is that when they put these cylinders in each of the pods they realized there wasn t enough display space And of course knowing basic geometry if you have a circle you can put more in a circle by putting it around the outer circumference than the inner circumference So they got rid of these cylindrical display cases and then mostly put objects you know there re some exceptions but mostly put objects around the circumference of each of the pods therefore they could put more in But suddenly the center of each pod was now open and the result was the echo effect These are the things you learn CW Were there any major acquisitions for the Collection Museum when you were there JQ There were no major acquisitions because these days people are highly sensitive to purchasing pre Columbian objects from galleries Even those with supposedly so called clean passports have potential problems I mean look at the supposedly clean passport of the Machu Picchu collections at Yale and the troubles they had And I was sorely tempted a few times I was even told by Angeliki in particular that there was money available for purchases and I was sorely tempted to propose that we buy something But I decided that the better course of wisdom was not to do it because I didn t want to get the institution and myself in hot water by buying something and then having the hounds of Hades loosened on us And I will say that in particular that the archaeologists here at Harvard are highly sensitive to that and since D O is a Harvard affiliated organization I didn t want to wind up in a situation in which I was doing something which would not meet with the approval of the archaeologists here And as you will find out when you talk to Mike Coe and you may have found out from Betty Benson or will find out when you talk to her this issue of collectors collecting purchasing the ridge between archaeology and art history are all very hot button issues that surround the Pre Columbian studies program at D O are related to Betty are related to Mike related to Harvard s relationship with D O over the years and I just didn t want to get involved in any of that I thought better just not to buy anything and stay out of it than to put my neck in a noose Now there were a few exceptions There were a few gifts of collections of mostly local D C people who wanted to give D O collections but most of those things were few in number There were a couple significant objects but no really sort of Bliss quality objects by and large There were some of these gifts The other thing that we did is when Carol Callaway died we got there was money given in her name to Pre Columbian Studies at D O We came to the Peabody we asked to find a piece owned by the Peabody that had clear papers that was old enough that there was no question that it was legally in the country and we paid for the money to restore that object and then study it we took a radiocarbon date and restored it brought it to D O it s on a 99 year loan I believe to D O and it s got a plaque in I don t know if it s in exhibit right now but it was given well done in Carol s memory And it was very pleasing to me that Leonardo Lopez Lujan who is a big name in Mexican archaeology deliberately mentioned in an article he wrote the great example that Dumbarton Oaks did in doing this as opposed to he said that nasty museum in France that just opened which is dealing with antiquities and dealers and stuff So we came out smelling like a rose in doing that and it was the right thing to do ABF But were there any other serious repatriation issues that you had to deal with JQ No In actual fact I believe that the collection at Dumbarton Oaks all came in well before the UNESCO agreements There may be a few things that might I think they re all legal There might be a few things that you know there s two dates One which is the best practice which is I think 1971 and then there s a later date which is the absolute cutoff date And some may have come in after the best practice 71 date but generally they re actually objects are quite clean although if you get in the law court you can argue six ways to Sunday that they are or they re not just like with the Yale collection I mean that is depending on which lawyer you talk to Yale has got an absolute title to the collection or it doesn t and what we could Dumbarton Oaks could wind up in the same kind of muddle if somebody wanted to make an issue of it I think frankly that the fact that Dumbarton Oaks did reach out to Latin American scholars actively and it s not just me it s Elizabeth Boone and Betty Benson as well that we support scholarship in Latin America that we do these steps I think knock on wood that the attitude is that whatever claims might or might not be made against an object or getting an object back here or there are not worth it the good will and good working relationships that we ve established and hope to maintain now It reminds me we had an exhibit here in the Peabody on Moche ceramics that I curated and this distinguished Peruvian colleague Luis Jaime Castillo was here He gave the opening address so forth and so on and we had a reception in the gallery and everything was going along fine We were having a little wine and a little cheese And I was there Luis Jaime was there I was here and suddenly this woman comes up and says So Professor Castillo is Peru planning to ask for all these back And I went Uhhhhh And he said No madam We have plenty of our own and better ones ABF From what you were saying it sounds like the position you were in as curator and the dealings you had with the Collection dovetailed very nicely with your academic roles and that you were able to enhance the general standing of the Collection by reaching out in a scholarly environment JQ Absolutely I mean not every Fellow who comes to D O is specifically interested in the objects They have their own research projects It d just be like if you were you re both classicists you know if you went to some there s the Hellenic center I mean everything that they ve got isn t necessarily pertinent to your interests but you may be casually interested in it because you re generally interested in your field Same thing s true at D O I mean the people that come there I m sure it s true in Byzantine too the collections may or may not to a greater or lesser degree influence or be of interest to them per se But Betty Benson always makes a big point of talking about how the program and the library would not be there if it weren t for the collections The collections are the foundations of everything because it was Robert Bliss s collecting of those objects that led to everything else That for no other reason is why they should be treasured as well as that they re spectacular objects They re many of them are unique and so forth But yeah I think that for me having the curatorial and the Director of Studies role was great because it allowed for a certain kind of synergy to occur that may not have occurred otherwise ABF Do you think that set a precedent JQ For ABF For more of that type of JQ Well it didn t set much of a precedent because the reorganizations got rid of all that It s also true that even the Byzantines didn t see that s another example of the differences that existed because the Byzantines didn t have this Director The Byzantines had Alice Mary as Director of Studies and Sue Boyd as Curator They were two separate posts though they work closely together CW We should take a minute to change the tape JQ Sure JQ So where were we ABF We were talking about the synergistic JQ Synergy ah synergy baby For me it was I liked working with the collections I liked being Director of Study I liked it all The only thing I didn t like and that was that and this is actually quite a big point of mine is that I didn t have a lot of time for my own research I got two weeks of research leave a year plus vacation and the vacation was generous And I used to use my vacation for my research which didn t make my wife very happy but I had to balance those things And I think that that is unfortunate because I think that one of the ways D O and again I would submit that this is true not only for Pre Columbian Studies but for the other programs too one of the ways that the place remains a vital energetic lively relevant center is if the relevant Directors of Studies are active scholars and have plenty of time to do their own research And two weeks a year doesn t cut it Furthermore two weeks now of course you may say I mean one of the arguments one of the rationales I think for it is well you re in the middle of this library not every day is going to be a day filled with meetings and administrative responsibilities so you do have time And I was told by Angeliki that if you have time during the day to do a spot of your own research using the library or sitting at your desk by all means go ahead We trust that you ll take care of business in terms of making sure that all your responsibilities are attended to that if you have some time you are free to devote it to your own research as you find the time whenever if occurs That was fine and I did make some use of that The problem is that by maintaining that approach and still keeping it only to two weeks a year you re biasing the selection and even the likely applicants for future Directors of Study to people who are primarily book oriented library oriented in terms of their research And I think it s healthy for Dumbarton Oaks in the long term that the Directors of Study should vary from being say art historians who are mostly library bound or historians who are definitely library bound to include field archaeologists who have to go out and dig It s a healthier environment for it s healthy for an institution to have that variation over the long term And furthermore I also think that it s healthy for the institution if it and its people actively pursue research That is to say that the Directors of Studies are fully engaged scholars I in my darker hours at D O used to describe my job as that of a maître d in a very nice restaurant You get to wear nice clothes you get to work in a beautiful place and you get to meet high class guests and put them at the right table or maybe put them at a table next to a bathroom but you don t get to sit down much and eat yourself And if the job winds up or becomes increasingly in that mode you re not going to get good people who want to serve in that role And the institution as a whole will suffer I think because the institution will lose the respect of other scholars who say Well so and so you know poor schmoe he s stuck there holding the door as we go out Now I think Joanne s an excellent scholar I think I was a pretty good one I know Elizabeth Boone and Betty Benson were ones But I think that this is something that has to be carefully considered in terms of the future of D O for the long term And I mean I was guaranteed by word of mouth by Angeliki that I was supposed to get a year research leave between my two terms I never got it because I was told that I was needed to help build the new library to help be on committees which I was But maintain those kinds of commitments and maintain the kind of commitment that Directors of Study are active scholars and that their scholarship s supported is something I think is very important If I were Director of D O I would consider every other year closing the whole place down for the summer and letting the staff and scholars go off and do research It could survive Actually they used to do that Back in the 50s and 60s they did close for the summer Or have a skeleton staff to take care of summer Fellows but let the Director of Study go off and if they want to dig or even if they re doing art history they want to go and look at sites for two months let em go I mean you wouldn t have to do it every year necessarily but I think having that kind of flexibility and having that kind of encouragement that you want the Directors of Studies to be active scholars and not simply administrators is critical and I don t think that was very well handled while I was there ABF What are your thoughts on the new library JQ Well I had a lot to do with it I was on a lot of committees that helped plan it and I don t know what the new library s like because I have visited it once briefly strolled through it It was I think it was my second when did they have the big inauguration Was that last October I think so It was like two or three months before that so I don t know how successful the library is depends upon how easy it is to use and how comfortable the scholars are in using it and since I ve not used it at all but sort of walked through it I can t speak to it in that sense I mean theoretically it s a fine idea I hear it s very cold CW and ABF True JQ I think that the I got a sense that things were moving to I remember Ned Keenan saying the problem with D O now which meant that when we were in the old system was that the books are where the people should be and the people are where the books should be That is to say the books were all up on the upper floors of the main building in rooms that were getting plenty of sunlight and the people were down in the basement a lot of them in the dark and it should be the other way around and that when the new library is built we d fix that And I thought that was right on I think that the library should be there for the scholars The scholars should not be intimidated or made to feel uncomfortable for the sake of the books I don t know why it s so cold If they re keeping it cold for the books they should warm it up because the people are more important than

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/jeffrey-quilter (2016-02-18)
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  • A Poem for Dumbarton Oaks during Wartime — Dumbarton Oaks
    on Jan 18 2016 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Katsura tree at Dumbarton Oaks autumn foliage 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 Document Actions Print this Share Filed under Dumbarton Oaks at War Navigation 75th Anniversary Anniversary Blog A Poem for Dumbarton Oaks during Wartime 75th Anniversary Reminiscence Image and Artifact Initiative Reminiscence Image and Artifact Submission Form Garden Perspectives Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and

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  • Hans Peter L’Orange Remembers His Year at Dumbarton Oaks, 1950 — Dumbarton Oaks
    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

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog/hans-peter-lorange-remembers-his-year-at-dumbarton-oaks-1950 (2016-02-18)
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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    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 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 reports that are attended by members of all three programs He called the experience always enriching and noted that attending them made him able to see the world from other people s points of view Fasquelle also asserted that in order to study at Dumbarton Oaks one had to be willing to talk a language that isn t just your own and be open to exposure to other fields and other ways of looking at data and that the results of such exchange could only be productive and good He even went so far as to say that his archaeology fundamentally profited from the interdisciplinary interaction at Dumbarton Oaks Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle Annemarie Weyl Carr Mark Laird In a similar manner Annemarie Weyl Carr Byzantine Fellow Visiting Fellow Junior Fellow and Visiting Scholar discussed how individuals in different fields shared common curiosities which had been very exciting to look at together Carr reflected that it was through her interactions with members of other fields particularly in the Pre Columbian Studies program that she discovered anthropology a breakthrough that proved to be critical for the success of her studies Profound dialogue could even take place in more casual times and places Byzantine Studies Fellow Elizabeth A Fisher remarked that it was a conversation just over lunch with a scholar in another department that opened her eyes and induced her to consider human capacities that she hadn t thought about Interdepartmental interactions at Dumbarton Oaks can be fostered in many ways One way is through shared residency formerly in the Fellows Building and now in the Fellowship House These close quarters allow for the spontaneous meeting of neighbors Collaborative projects also facilitate a better mixing of Fellows in the words of Mark Laird who cites the contemporary art installations in the gardens as one such venture that has resulted in a better harmony at the institutional level Another example is the ability of the Fellows to attend events such as colloquia and symposia sponsored by programs other than their own Peter Jacobs a former Garden and Landscape Studies Senior Fellows and the first recipient of the Beatrix Farrand Distinguished Fellowship said he enjoyed very very much attending the presentations of Fellows in different fields Maintenance of rapport among the three branches did not come without its challenges Many scholars remember a time when it was perceived that the standing among the three programs was not equitable Many thought that the Byzantine program was favored because it was the first to be established and that with the creation of Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Studies these later programs necessarily had a junior status When asked how Dumbarton Oaks had solved the problems of coexistence former Director Giles Constable replied Well I doubt if they ll ever be permanently solved I think the way you have three such different programs not to mention the physical side of the garden and the museum I don t think that people often realize that D O although a fairly small institution is an immensely complicated one with very different interests in these three fields which inevitably to some extent are jockeying for position with each other The Byzantine was the senior program And the Byzantinists not only at D O itself but throughout the world have always thought of it really as a Byzantine Institution and that most of the resources should be going there Any cut back they saw as very much at their expense This perception notwithstanding the Directors of Dumbarton Oaks have endeavored to make the three programs at Dumbarton Oaks increasingly equitable and productively intertwined It has been the mission of each successive administration to obtain a balanced consideration of each of the programs so as to maximize their individual potentials as well as the potential of Dumbarton Oaks as a whole And an important benefit of this effort is that Dumbarton Oaks s scholars often to their surprise obtain inspiration from and engage in meaningful discourse with their colleagues from other disciplines In the words of Henry Ford Coming together is a beginning keeping together is progress working together is success Read More Then and Now Staff Offices Posted on Nov 12 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Then and Now Life at Dumbarton Oaks Read comments None yet The increasing complexity of Dumbarton Oaks as an institution has necessitated a concomitant increase in the size of the staff over the past seventy five years The staff has grown from under fifty in the first decade to over one hundred today Before the construction of the new library which was completed in 2005 former Director Edward Keenan remarked that the books occupied the spaces where the people should be and vice versa books were kept on the sunny third floor while many staff had their offices underground in the basement The opening of the new library in 2005 and the removal of books librarian offices and Fellows research areas from the Main House to the library allowed for an integration of staff offices across departments as well as new dedicated areas for the staff of the Finance Human Resources Museum Facilities and Gardens departments The Director s Office The first two Directors of Dumbarton Oaks John S Thacher and William R Tyler had their offices in the Study which had formerly served as the Bliss residential library Their administrative assistants had their offices in the Oval Room This was a particularly convenient arrangement as the two offices connected via a secret passage behind a fake bookcase in the Oval Room Giles Constable who was Director between 1977 and 1984 moved his office into the space that originally had been the Blisses residential dining room and which had been retrofitted in the institutional period with wall to wall bookshelves Simultaneously the adjoining butler s pantry was reconfigured as an administrative office and the nearby kitchen storage room became the office of the assistant director Judy Siggins This arrangement has been maintained ever since William R Tyler at his desk in his office now the Study The Director s Office Director Giles Constable in his office 1978 Judy Siggins and Giles Constable in his office 1978 Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Office 1978 Office of the Assistant Director Judy Siggins 1978 Offices of the Directors of Studies As of 2015 the offices of the directors of the three studies programs at Dumbarton Oaks are all in the library where they are near to the offices of the Fellows Previously however the directors of studies offices were located in their respective wings the Director of Byzantine Studies in the Main House the Director of Pre Columbian Studies in the basement of the Pre Columbian Collection pavilion and the Director of Garden and Landscape Studies adjacent to the Rare Book Room of the Garden Library Ernst Kitzinger Director of Byzantine Studies between 1955 and 1966 p erhaps had the most elegant office the paneled room on the second floor of the Main House that formerly had been used as an office for Robert Woods Bliss s secretary during the residential period The original office of the Curator and later Director of Pre Columbian Studies was designed by Philip Johnson and conceived predictably as a minimalist space made aesthetically interesting by the incorporation of Pre Columbian artworks Office of Ernst Kitzinger Director of Byzantine Studies 1964 Office of the Curator and later Director of Pre Columbian Studies 1963 Library Offices The staff of the three studies programs libraries also moved their offices from their respective wings in 2005 to the new library The Byzantine library offices became the suite of offices for the Finance department the Pre Columbian library spaces were reconfigured for the collections of Byzantine coins and seals and those of the Garden and Landscape library became storage areas for the rare book collections Claudia Vess Assistant Byzantine Photo Collection had her office in the basement of the Main House 1979 Byzantine Library Office 1979 Office of the manuscripts on microfilm collection Dumbarton Oaks Library Fellows Offices When the first Fellows arrived at Dumbarton Oaks in 1941 they worked at tables situated between book stacks on the mezzanine of the new library wing Within a year however this space proved insufficient both for book capacity and people and a Byzantine Reading Room was created from two bedrooms on the second floor of the Main House This is where most Byzantine Fellows undertook their research until 2005 when individual offices were made available to Fellows in the new library Similarly Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Fellows moved from carrels and tables to private offices in the library A Fellow s office in the new library Book stacks and work tables Byzantine library wing 1941 Ellen Schwartz a Junior Fellow in the Byzantine Studies program working in the Byzantine Reading Room ca 1974 Read More Paraphenomenal Dumbarton Oaks Ghosts on the Property Posted on Oct 29 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under Life at Dumbarton Oaks Read comments None yet Over its seventy five year history Dumbarton Oaks has been home to more than just the Byzantine Pre Columbian and Garden and Landscape Studies departments After the last Fellows and staff have left the pool for the night and sunset falls on the grounds apparently ghosts make an appearance Depending on one s inclination toward rational skepticism or a belief in the occult the following tales could leave impressions that mildly amuse or slightly unsettle Gathered from a variety of staff who have worked at Dumbarton Oaks over the decades security officers gardeners museum staff and interim personnel such as contractors overseeing construction projects these accounts lend credence to a paraphenomenal presence at Dumbarton Oaks Okay this is a stock image from the web but who knows Founders Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss are the two figures most commonly seen although according to a number of accounts they rarely put in an appearance together A guard once spotted them holding hands in a corner of the Main House looking out onto the Orangery Their ashes are in urns in the crypt in the Rose Garden which may explain why they are often spotted nearby Of the two Mildred is a more common presence presumably because she spent much of her time at Dumbarton Oaks walking through her beloved gardens Witnesses describe Mildred as an older woman a bit frail by some accounts sometimes wearing a hat or carrying a parasol Her specter might warn of late night garden intruders protect her cherished collection of rare books or ring a bell to usher in the New Year One might encounter whiffs of perfume in the gardens late at night or hear the click of high heels in the hallways of the Main House Robert often appears as a distinguished looking man sometimes wearing a white pinstripe suit He also protects his estate once warning a guard of the nighttime security staff that a truck in the Gardeners Court area had been left running by setting off a motion detector The third floor of the Main House now home to the Publications Department and formerly part of the Byzantine library has been a similarly lively place for ghost presences One night a security officer recalls he was making his rounds in the Main House and came across an open book on a table that hadn t been there during his previous pass He considered the logical explanation that one of the other officers had decided to read the book but it was in Greek and in any event none of the other officers had come through One staff member was quite taken aback when she opened a closet in Publications a closet in which Mildred was known to keep her coats and came face to face with Mrs Bliss herself The artist Charles Simonds added his own ghosts at Dumbarton Oaks in 2009 for a site installation in the Orangery Supernatural phenomena are not limited to ghost sightings Security guards have witnessed doors unlocked that should have been locked as well as motion activated lights and hand dryers turning on and off without any people in the vicinity Other guards swear that they can feel chilling presences sweeping through the air Generally ghosts were most active at Dumbarton Oaks before and during the series of renovations that took place in the mid 2000s While ghosts are still spotted on occasion sightings are rarer Most believe that the Blisses and other spirits who have been spotted do not have nefarious aims but instead like to maintain a presence in a place to which they dedicated much of their lives For Abbrial Seagle s encounter with ghosts at Dumbarton Oaks go here Read More John C Baker Taking Care of Business Posted on Oct 22 2015 11 00 AM by Dumbarton Oaks Archives Permalink Filed under The First Decade of Dumbarton Oaks Dumbarton Oaks at War Life at Dumbarton Oaks Read comments None yet John Calhoun Baker 1895 1999 served on the Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Committee between 1942 and 1945 A skilled education administrator with a shrewd mind for business Baker contributed much to the early development of Dumbarton Oaks Baker graduated from Juniata College in 1917 before receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1923 After brief stints working at an advertising agency and a piano company Baker returned to Harvard Business School in 1926 as an instructor of foreign relationships and trade Within two years Baker was appointed Assistant Dean of the Business School He continued to climb up the ranks becoming Associate Director of Business Research in 1936 and Professor of Business Administration in 1940 In 1941 he became an Associate Dean of the University assuming many of the responsibilities that had formerly been assigned to the Vice President of Finances Possessing both financial and administrative operational skills Baker was a natural choice for the new Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Committee which was responsible for the supervision of the institution and for authorizing expenditures from the budget Baker s responsibilities on the Administrative Committee occasionally became paternal and personal In his first year for example Baker became concerned about the health and morale of the Fellows in the bleak atmosphere of the Second World War Anticipating the possibility of a coming food shortage Baker suggested that the Fellows be offered an opportunity to grow personal gardens so that they could cultivate some of their own food Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Committee 1944 Back row Edward K Rand George La Piana John C Baker Robert Blake Charles Rufus Morey Front row Albert M Friend Jr Paul Sachs Michael I Rostovtzeff Sirarpie Der Nersessian and Alexander A Vasiliev In late 1942 Dumbarton Oaks decided to invite Harvard University men resident in Washington and engaged in war work

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog?Subject=Life+at+Dumbarton+Oaks (2016-02-18)
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  • Anniversary Blog — Dumbarton Oaks
    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

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/75th-anniversary/blog?Subject=Visiting+scholar (2016-02-18)
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  • The Emperor and the Palace — Dumbarton Oaks
    Document Actions Print this Share Navigation Studies Programs Fellowships and Grants Byzantine Studies Staff Current and Former Senior Fellows Current and Former Fellows and Visiting Scholars Scholarly Activities The Afterlives of Alexander in the Byzantine World Discovering Byzantine Lives Evidence in Texts Images and Material Culture From Olympus to the Streets of Constantinople The Byzantine Retirement of the Ancient Gods Worlds of Byzantium Past Scholarly Activities The Emperor and the

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/scholarly-activities/past/the-emperor-and-the-palace (2016-02-18)
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