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  • Mary Miller — Dumbarton Oaks
    promised to me but that the whole institution would be he said they re after Betty and he said I m going to go because they can t fire Betty and have me stay And the pall was cast over the conference which was it not the conference on human sacrifice I believe that was the subject of it that year It was just so appropriate Betty stayed on until the end of the month She never said a word about it other than to say that she d be leaving Betty was always the most polite well behaved person She never expressed any anger She was calm She was not someone who she did not vent She would never say any of this stuff that I m saying because she s much too polite a person and reserved and really in that sense very very elegant And she left and there was a tussle I think there was a tussle with Judy Siggins about whether she got to take her typewriter or not whether she had bought the typewriter it was kind of you know Judy as bad cop Judy was standing there policing making sure going through Betty s boxes to make sure that nothing that should be Dumbarton Oaks was going But this was before there were removal specialists who come in and do this now for an institution This was the second time that Harvard tried to close Dumbarton Oaks as you certainly know from Mike You know about 1973 the earlier attempt That was when Steve Williams made the big play I hope Mike didn t conflate them in his mind CW I m sure we do know but MM The earlier one and that was actually just as serious But that was when Steve Williams was on the Senior Fellows which he was not at this point in 79 And the reason I know about that is because I read about it all in George Kubler s papers it mentioned in our time here yeah I wrote I will send it to you after the fact I wrote a short paper about it which I ve never published but I have given on when George Kubler and Gordon Willey came together to save Dumbarton Oaks in 1973 And it was that was the first sound blow Joseph Alsop was in the Washington Post about Dumbarton Oaks at the time because he was very very mad at Harvard about it particularly because the wills specify the wills and the trust created a provision that the money could not be removed but of course most of the money was removed anyway You know the endowment that was originally given five million gold dollars in 1940 for Dumbarton Oaks would be over I think 1 5 billion of the Harvard endowment today and surely it is And how do I have that number I know about the five million dollars because I happened to glance they were in these files that are in manuscript and archives but you could get them as a matter of probate court in Washington It would be worthwhile I believe they have been removed from the physical premises at Dumbarton Oaks at least they re not readily accessible But Kubler had them in his records so as I say they are now in his manuscript and archive and they are available from probate court So I asked someone here who works for the Yale endowment what would this was a few years ago when Harvard s endowment was 20 billion what would 5 million in 1940 now be worth in the Harvard endowment And the answer then was 1 billion it would be one twentieth And that was so the Blisses really gave a huge amount of money in one fell swoop not counting any of the subsequent gifts CW How did you become interested in the history of the Blisses MM I ve been interested in the history of Dumbarton Oaks I think it s an institution that and there was a time when I really cared about it and I particularly cared about it when Ned Keenan became director and I thought he was just the worst director I d ever seen And then I stopped caring I had other things to do but I also thought that it was very interesting to write up something about the Kubler Willey correspondence because it s a really engaging correspondence of this period and because it took place in a day when it was all in writing And they would edit each others drafts and they d send them back and forth about a statement about what is Dumbarton Oaks for And they crafted the statement that was the Pre Columbian mission statement for many many years whether it s still the same one I don t know And I got interested in this because I started reading the Kubler Papers after George s death he died in 96 You know you asked about Gillett Griffin who was obviously no longer a Senior Fellow when I was there but who was my undergraduate adviser Gillett loved Dumbarton Oaks Gillett s a collector and you know a collector without apologies and he loved finding the interesting thing and thinking about what it meant who had it who owned it why it survived all of the questions that are kind of the thingy questions not the cultural patrimony questions He was out of the picture and so he had enormous affection for Dumbarton Oaks and for Betty but he was really completely out of the picture by the time I was a Fellow there I don t really think of his role it s not one where I know that much about it I would say that one of the people you might want to interview is David Joralemon Has that name come up CW No MM He was the first Pre Columbian Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks That s right it wasn t Arthur Arthur came as a Senior Fellow ABF David who MM Joralemon J O R A L E M O N And he was the first Junior Fellow and then I think he renewed they kept him on for another year Are you interviewing Betty CW She was interviewed in May MM And wasn t she polite CW Yes ABF Extremely She was lovely MM That s so Betty She was lovely truly lovely If she feels any resentment you can t it s not transparent It s lovely David was the first fellow in Pre Columbian He was there for two years Arthur Miller was you ask about the archeology projects he was the first person I think to have a Dumbarton Oaks project fellowship at Teotihuacan for his mural book So I think I don t know I would think Betty would know the answer to that but it certainly wasn t for salvage which I have to say reading those salvage proposals every year is just a little depressing It would be nice if they could do something a little more positive The Pre Columbian studies program at the time shall I just keep going through these questions CW Sure MM really emphasized art history but neither Anne Paul nor I did art history as a we were both very engaged in the archeological practice And I think Dumbarton Oaks has always been best when it s at that intersection of art history and anthropology I mean you could find art historians who had nothing to say to anthropologists and that would be too bad I mean Steve Houston is a great example of an anthropologist who works with he would like to think that he can absorb and do everything that art history does I mean I love Steve but he would almost say Well what do we need art historians for We ve got anthropologists But again he works on the border And I didn t sense any real difficulty about that until I came back as a Senior Fellow where we had anthropologists on the board who were not interested in art and had never had any previous association with Dumbarton Oaks not that I think it s important to have been a Fellow but they d never even been to a conference because why would they go to a place with all that art So that seemed like a bad signal or it was a signal CW Do you think that the conferences have evolved in the way that they have changed over the years are they distinct from a conference that might be at the American Archeologist Society MM Oh the American Anthropological Association They might not be distinct enough A colleague and I proposed a conference a few years ago and it was turned down for not being anthropological enough it was too historical Okay you know Don t you want to make it more anthropological Well not really It seemed like I thought the worst conference topics the worst one was the Catastrophes Disasters It didn t seem to have any relevance at all to works of art and it seemed to me that the I like Jeff Quilter a lot and I thought we worked together well when I was the chair of the Senior Fellows But the composition of the board really changed and it just got so it became like working in quicksand when Ned was there You just couldn t move and you couldn t move because you couldn t get a word in edgewise So I don t know if you ve ever spoken to Ned Keenan I hope you have the opportunity CW We haven t spoken to him MM But he doesn t let you get a word in edgewise He has no natural breaks in his speech I just gave you a space if you wanted to say something you could You don t get this from Ned When he was Dean of the Harvard faculty he must have been incredibly potent because he let no one get a word in edgewise I just found it so shocking after Angeliki was a great director I thought I really liked her a lot I thought I was the chair of this group of Senior Fellows and I walked in and as I went to sit at the head of the table he said I m sitting there and he spoke for two hours without a breath Things were just very very different CW Did the Senior Fellows talk about the demographics of the Junior Fellows that were coming to Dumbarton Oaks MM We talked about the demographics in one particular way and I actually collected some data on it and I wrote a long letter about it which Jeff Quilter asked me not to send and I never did send it and I have promised to dig it up and give it to Joanne It was back when I was a PC person and I m sure I don t have it electronically but I kept the letter somewhere Number of applicants and number of repeats repeat applicants repeat fellows in Pre Columbian and Byzantine So if you read the wills you d find out that Robert Woods Bliss will was almost entirely directed toward creating the Pre Columbian program This was 1963 Mildred died in 67 And so he wanted to he never used the word equity or parity and he described a growing Pre Columbian program which reading that will and again it was a huge chunk of change I don t know how much it seemed to promote the idea of creating equal programs But they ve never been equal I don t know if the unification of the library and museum I don t know if that s good or bad I just haven t seen enough I ve certainly found the library to be much more hostile than any of our University libraries So that it s harder it s easier for you to walk in you could walk in today and get permission to use the Sterling Memorial Library here but you couldn t do that at Dumbarton Oaks And so why is that the case You know why can you not show up with a University ID and a letter that says I m here to do this And even if you ve made prior arrangements at Dumbarton Oaks you still have a twenty four hour waiting period Why is this the case Why have they put all these burdens to research particularly for someone who s got to come and rent a hotel room if you re coming from out of town By the way the only unkind word I ever did hear Betty Benson say was when Ned Keenan bought Liz Taylor s house you know that is whose house that is and when he did seem to be aggrandizing himself in terms of the real estate But I think she only said it rather wryly Have you noticed as Betty sometimes said Have you noticed that Dumbarton Oaks has acquired Senator Warner s house Where were we Oh the equity of the program I think the Bliss will of 63 was intended to try to enhance the Pre Columbian program The Byzantine Fellows was already a well established program So I did a little demographic research on numbers of applicants numbers of applicants who had previously been there I will just tell you that my colleagues who are in Byzantine assume that if they have a leave of absence they can go to Dumbarton Oaks whereas a Pre Columbianist assumes that you get to go there once in your life So the programs I think should be equalized in terms of opportunity if they re the right candidates And that s the other thing that Pre Columbian candidates are assumed to be on the cusp of art history and anthropology whereas the Byzantine candidates come to work on a text or something that doesn t necessarily have the same inter disciplinary and I don t even want to call it restriction but edge ideally And the final will of Millie in 67 was to be sure that the gardens weren t abandoned She too had become very skeptical of Harvard and was very very worried that the gardeners would all be fired and that they would start mowing a huge lawn rather than maintaining the gardens So all the final bits of the estate were all left to the garden I recommend to anyone to read the wills and if Dumbarton Oaks doesn t have a copy on file at the institution then something s wrong Somebody needs to go down to probate court ABF Can you tell us a bit more about how you think the institution has changed with regard to the Bliss legacy MM Well of course I never knew the Blisses I don t know it s hard what is the Bliss legacy You think about a half brother and sister who marry each other to keep the fortune together all made in the Fletcher s Castoria fortune I don t know how much of that legacy as well as the fact what the story that I don t think this was Mike Coe I can t think of who told me this story about why Robert Woods Bliss a guy with a great eye and enormous sensitivity to world political currents nevertheless the kind of defeatism he felt in 1940 in the face of the Nazi world It is why he gave Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard at the time He felt Harvard certainly would weather the storm but wasn t really sure about how things would fall out There s something a little bit defeatist perhaps in that Perhaps their single greatest love and treasure were the gardens and I haven t really given a lot of thought to the gardens I haven t been to Dumbarton Oaks very much in recent years Are the gardens by the way you know Mike may say he hasn t been there in 30 years but you know he gave a paper about twelve years ago there in the collecting conference So he actually has been laughing I heard him give that paper so I know he was there But I haven t given a lot of thought are the gardens really being maintained both to the level that they ve been provided for and that fulfills the Bliss legacy It is surely one of the most interesting and the most of the physical plan the most important thing CW Did the Senior Fellows ever talk about were there claims on any items in the collection or any cultural patrimony issues MM Oh yeah the cultural patrimony issues No We might have wanted to but after Ned came we actually never had another conversation as Senior Fellows Angeliki used to come and then leave us alone and after Ned came we had only the tightest scripted conversations about a conference topics and b the selection of new fellows But otherwise we couldn t speak I kid you not We had no conversations Ask Jeff have you talked to Jeff CW We did yeah MM I bet you got an earful from him CW Yeah MM laughing He s still angry He s still really angry at Dumbarton Oaks I got along well with him I know he made a lot of people annoyed but I always got on well with Jeff But as for cultural patrimony I would just say an interesting thing One of the problems is so they own these two very important Maya panels and whether or not it is true and I believe it may be true but even if it s true I still think it has

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/oral-history-interview-with-mary-ellen-miller-undertaken-by-anna-bonnell-freiden-and-clem-wood-at-yale-university-on-august-25-2008-at-dumbarton-oaks-mary-miller-was-a-junior-fellow-of-pre-columbian-studies-in-197920131980-and-a-senior-fellow-in-the-in-p (2016-02-18)
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  • Cécile Morrisson — Dumbarton Oaks
    her lecture which came out as a book as Mariage Amour et Parenté If you read French it is worth reading Well I met her then nearly for the first time Well she had been coming to Paris to research her book on peasant society but then I was younger and I just saw her working with Lemerle on the unpublished archive of Mount Athos and I had no further contact with her But I met her then in 1990 when I was still Director of the Cabinet de Médailles which meant much administrative work but I remember inviting her for lunch near the Bibliothèque and we made good acquaintance then And she as I had retired from the Cabinet de Médailles because I could not lead three lives at the same time I could come to Dumbarton Oaks as a visiting scholar in 93 And I am glad you are asking this question because it was such an experience I mean all the resources of D O the library the collection and it was Thanksgiving and Christmas time so I had my first Thanksgiving lunch at Angeliki s place so that is in the former Director s House And Angeliki was a wonderful cook and it was really the most extraordinary Thanksgiving lunch I ever ever had At that time Panayotis Vocotopoulos was also there I remember he took part in this lunch He was living up Wisconsin Avenue and I also remember having some parties in the apartment up Wisconsin And my other experience there was I was still there late in December late enough to participate in do you say the Christmas party Yes So in the Music Room with the grand piano and there was Virgil Crisafulli playing well more or less as he could the piano and we could sing carols at that time I don t know if you re still allowed to sing carols if it is is that politically correct now or not AS I m not sure EG I sing them with my family CM Okay So AS It sounds like there was a vibrant social side to the Fellows experience Is that a fair assessment CM Well yes I remember one of my colleagues in France telling that Oh Cécile vous avez des mondanités Mondanit é is a social event with a bit of deprecatory in tone because I had been put up in what was called at that time the Guest House or the Duplex which is the house where the security now stands the corner of S and thirty second and it was a wonderful big house I felt lost all by myself in that you can t imagine Well you had the Kazhdans on one side and that was great because I have fond remembrances of being invited by Musja Kazhdan and having been brought with Philip Grierson and other scholars that was really a very sort of family life And on the left hand side of this house so that there was the guest house where they put important persons I would say It had been Sirarpie Der Nersessian s house so Philip Grierson would always say the Dame Der Nersessian s house Nikos Oikonomides would have stayed there in the summer with his family wife and two girls and Giles Constable s assistant Judy Siggins I ve been told lived there And it was really grand You have a kitchen a big lounge the terrace was built as a veranda where you had breakfast looking over the grove which at that time was a sort of wild forest It was really very very poetic On the second floor there were you say an office room and two rooms one bathroom and there was still on the third floor there were two or at least one bedroom and another bathroom So in 2000 Dumbarton Oaks hosted a small workshop on Arab Byzantine coins which could not anymore be held at the American Numismatics Society and so we were a little group of Fellows gathered here and I had two of them staying with me there But this Arab well I m going astray probably You were asking me about social life in D O I mean this is for me wonderful because in Paris there is no more such social life because of transportation and people nowadays are too stressed with their work and I think you see the rhythm of scientific work the pace has greatly increased with all the new media the internet access etc In former times when I did my dissertation there was no Xerox only stencils and no Xerox so that means you went into the library and took notes for your work I mean work was on a slower basis Now instantly you get all the documentation or nearly what you need so people you see publish or perish and there is less social life than was before But in D O you still have social life or at least at that time because of all the we had a great social life I visited very often the old friends of Philip Grierson like Fanny Bonajuto an old Italian lady who had been active in the publications department Irène Underwood the widow of Paul Underwood whom I still visit now because she is still living in the area and has been interviewed as I know And so yes and of course Sue Boyd I made a great friend of and this is one of the great assets of D O and it opens your mind you share much information And Tony Cutler for instance was a Visiting Scholar in one of the years I visited because of course since 1998 when I was appointed as the successor to Philip Grierson has been coming every year twice a year so that it s a great opportunity to listen to lectures and so on EG What was your daily life like as a Visiting Scholar What sort of responsibilities did you have CM In 1993 when I I had to I delivered a public lecture which was entitled Physics and Economics What have they brought to our knowledge of the Byzantine Economy And I hoped that at some time some point the people who think numismatics are only sort of stamp collecting would think more about what numismatics or coin knowledge can bring to history Well what were my duties as a Visiting Scholar I think I may have yes I gave I think two seminars on coin names in the Paleologan period or that kind of thing But it goes back a long time and I cannot remember exactly what else I did I think it was I mean being a Visiting Scholar is not like I am now where I am responsible for many many things which I can tell you later Yes twenty minutes It is more for your own research so I think I was really working a lot on these Paleologan coins and the Paleologan horde and it ended up I think in a paper I delivered for the Hunger festschrift Herbert Hunger had retired and there was a big meeting in Vienna in which Angeliki also participated AS You ve been involved in a lot of publications during your time here CM Yes I made a note here I ve been giving well this was in my letter of commission by Angeliki which is somewhere in the archive that I should not only look after the collection but also participate in colloquia give seminars and participate in colloquia or symposia And that I did well actively not only asking questions from the first row I did for the symposium the colloquium on Byzantine typikon I gave a paper then and also the symposium on well the first and most important colloquium is that which was organized on the occasion of the publication of the whole series of D O catalogues The publication of volume four by Michael Hendy volume five by Philip Grierson They appeared in 99 and we had in March 99 a symposium in honor of that and in honor of Philip Grierson and some of the papers were published in DOP 2001 I think without unfortunately a heading that these papers belong to this symposium But on this occasion well I m going a bit astray but it s important mentioning that together with the symposium I organized with Sue Boyd an exhibit in the little space where the textile gallery now is in the courtyard on coins and this exhibit fortunately they accepted to take pictures ahead of time because it was on only for six months But they had taken good pictures of the whole setting every showcase pictures of the individual coins and so in the next year we were able to put it online and it is still online and this was I think one of the first coin exhibits ever put online Now you have other websites with coin exhibits but well without boasting too much I think this is one of the best But to go back to publications yes after this Grierson colloquium the one on the typikon there was the symposium organized by Jean Michele Spieser about late Byzantine Thessalonica and I gave a paper on coinage And I remember because then Ned Keenan was the Director and I had it was the beginning of digital imaging and I was not very good at that But I had got an image of a unique coin in the Bibliothèque Nationale in digital format while all the others were slides And when I wanted to show the I did not know about Powerpoint then but I just wanted to show the image which was on my laptop But I d forgotten that when you the sleep mode you see comes automatically and then the image would not show during my paper and that was a I had to describe the coin instead of so that was one of the symposia And then of course I organized the spring symposium on trade and markets in 1998 the last symposium in which Angeliki could participate And I m now beginning to edit the volume I ve gathered all the papers and Ageliki s paper and I m editing the footnotes so that it will be published as well Maybe I m forgetting yes I have not written the book but devoted much time to help Clive Foss publish the little book well it s little in size but very important in content on Arab Byzantine coins I mentioned this Arab Byzantine forum in 2000 Then Clive had brought his collection of two hundred coins and they got photographed by one of the participants and I remember that then I got the idea that it would be nice to be able to publish them But Ned Keenan was very open to the idea that we could buy the collection for D O I ve been adding a few coins to it from then on but we merged it with the few coins which we had before of this very important series for the history of the transition from the Byzantine culture to the Umayyad Arabic identity and for a period of which you don t have direct sources but only later historical sources So the coins are there they are really more or less datable and they are contemporary evidence for that kind of transition so they are a very important thing And I also devoted some time to collaborate with John Nesbitt to his publication of imperial seals I ve been you see proofreading the manuscripts not for typos but for information which I could add to his own being a numismatist And I think that this is the first time that imperial seals are studied together I mean closely together by a sigillographer and a numismatist and what is interesting in this book is that John is giving for each imperial type he gives the image of the corresponding type on coin So it s important AS You were talking a little bit earlier about acquisitions I wonder if we could go back to that because CM Oh yes AS we ve heard over and over again that it s become more difficult to acquire anything in recent years I m sure you have plenty of CM Oh well I must say that I know about the problem and I try not to encourage you see that but it s very difficult to know the source of the coins which are put on the market So whenever possible I try to buy coins with a pedigree going back to before 1978 or so which is what happened when I bought coins at the Zurich sale which was called the despot sale and in fact it s the collection of a Greek doctor who I have known for years who is called Petros Protonotarios and I know he bought his coins long time ago So I m treading on safe grounds But it is a very good question because well they will go on the market anyhow I mean only in the time of the communist regime in Eastern Europe were metal detectors not working for two reasons they had not the money to buy this stuff and the police were everywhere and the police were your neighbor it was the State For instance in Bucharest in that time when you were living in a condo nine neighbors were spying on the tenth one It s a I mean in five minutes it s very difficult to deal with this question In Great Britain they have devised a scheme which is called a portable objects scheme I think which promotes a good cooperation between the detectorists and the museums so that at least we know of the existence of the coin and where it has been found And it has incredible increased the knowledge of Anglo Saxon early medieval coinage So my predecessor Philip Grierson who had a very more a collector and historian s mind than an archaeologist s so he was very happy about that I have mixed feelings you see so But it s difficult to find a balance But of course I would not be buying the tetradrachm or that kind of stuff I ve been recently in 2007 I was given the opportunity to buy a horde of Paleologan bronze coins of the fourteenth century found in Thessalonica before World War Two It belonged to a French doctor called Henri Longué The coins were in Mulhouse Alsace in his collection but they were stolen in the war so we only had les frottements the pencil rubbings that he had made of them before and published in the Revue belge de Numismatique in 1950 But later on this horde reappeared on the market and was bought by Simon Bendall from Paul Francis Jacquier who is a French coin dealer living in Kehl opposite Strasbourg on the Rhine And Simon Bendall published it again with photos this time in the American Numismatics Society Museum notes and in 2007 Because Jonathan Shea is working now on this horde which we were able to buy on block from Simon so that it could be still studied for it is a very difficult coinage because many of the coins are over struck and badly they are cup shaped coins on which the imprint doesn t take very well It is still worth studying again and Jonathan is going to do that with my help So this is a safe accession because we know how long it goes back to But if I would see a horde like that unprovenanced on the market I would not of course go with that EG So you mentioned an exhibition earlier and sort of the online exhibition Was there a lot of interaction with the museum CM Oh yes of course You see I always say I have two authorities because I m partly working under the Director of Byzantine Studies and as I said organize the seminars with Alice Mary s request And I also work in close association with Sue Boyd and now with Gudrun Buehl also very good friends because I mean the registrar is looking after coin accessions coming in For instance for the new installation of the museum I collaborated a great deal we discussed about the best way how to show coins and I suggested that the map of the Byzantine Empire which is in the museum could have the addition of coins to show the place they were minted and that kind of thing It is great collaborating with the museum staff and we intend now a changing rotating showcase of coins You know this showcase which is under the emperor s roundel and the people like the idea that Gudrun had of having seats under this showcase so that you can look at coins with I insisted that there should be magnifiers so that people can look at coins themselves This is always difficult to exhibit coins because most of them are tiny And we also collaborated on the showcase with balances and coin weights There are many related objects with coins and jewelry which incorporate coins Oh we are running short AS If we could pause for one second and change the tape that would be wonderful And I think we were talking about exhibitions CM Yes but I think we had finished about that more or less collaborating with museum staff and the difficulty of showing coins I think we did it EG Could you talk a little bit about the Economic History of the Byzantium CM Yes It was really one of the great projects of Angeliki She started it Let s say going backwards the book was published in 2002 by

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  • Robert S. Nelson — Dumbarton Oaks
    to set foot in the place again and stopped speaking to his old friends which is very painful to me but I still think of Warren as a friend even if he doesn t see it that way And I you know I hope some day we ll be able to put this all in the past But he was a Harvard undergrad and Harvard Ph D and had a lot of difficulties with Dumbarton Oaks and its directors over the years But I don t feel like going into that for oral history AS Well speaking of Harvard I guess it was during these years when you were a Junior Fellow that there was a lot of talk about moving Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard RN Right AS I don t know if any of that ever trickled down to the Junior Fellows RN Well it definitely did It trickled down How accurately and how you know the Junior Fellows were quite involved with this because William Loerke shared a certain amount of this with us which I can see from my present perspective was a sign of how great the crisis was because your professors at Harvard don t share with you as an undergraduate you know details tenure crises things like that I mean it s just utterly confidential but the fact that he would share some of these negotiations I think with the junior faculty was a sign of great institutional crisis just as when you at Harvard had your controversy about your president I mean I could read the New York Times and see that a lot of the confidentiality was breaking down That s a sign of a real crisis So it was and we formed a Dumbarton Oaks alumni association then whose purpose was really to lobby on behalf of the alumni for Dumbarton Oaks And Loerke was the crisis came as I understand again I have only hearsay evidence I m not primary with his attempt to make Oikonomides a permanent professor at Dumbarton Oaks And that was rejected by Harvard and they decided there would not be any more resident faculty at Dumbarton Oaks which forevermore changed the intellectual life at Dumbarton Oaks For good or for bad it changed it profoundly lessened it And it means that it s now rather more of a foundation that administers money and gives money for other people s projects and no longer is a research institution itself primarily That s a Harvard decision that s an executive decision of how they wanted to run their particular institute And now since I m a senior faculty I can understand that these decisions had to be made but it wasn t received well in Dumbarton Oaks AS I wouldn t imagine so RN By nobody Not a person there because there was a great tradition of these famous professors Ševčenko and Mango were the ones that I had interviewed with two of the greatest Byzantinists of the 20 th century They re both alive and not as active now I guess they re in their eighties But they were remarkably brilliant Both of them were just some of the most brilliant I would say they were some of the most brilliant intellectuals I ve ever read in my career and they were professors there Spectacular So it had the kind of tenor more of an institute of advanced study than a foundation that gave out money for grants And Recording stops then starts again AS OK we re rolling again and I think we were discussing the hearsay relating to the possible closure of Dumbarton Oaks and return of the collections to Harvard RN Right Well now that I m working on this project about the history of Dumbarton Oaks and the Bliss Tyler correspondence actually a much earlier history about that which reminds me before we get I want to talk about William Royall Tyler and what I remember about him when I was there as a Junior Fellow But let s stay on this question of the future of Dumbarton Oaks It was the plan was greeted very poorly by the Junior Fellows were we all felt much aggrieved by this and we felt we all identified with the institution and we felt that this was a real threat to the institution Now whether this was right or wrong I don t know but I m sort of giving you a witness s evidence here I don t believe there were any of the Junior Fellows who felt differently And the Byzantinists in the area that had positions at local universities were terribly upset at this because their whole career had been based on having access to the library at Dumbarton Oaks There was nothing in Washington remotely comparable so they would have lost their scholarly careers and you can see how they would be very upset so that was really a lot of time was spent on this and as a graduate student it was déjà vu all over again because all of us in my generation had been through similar protests like that for the Vietnam War on our college campuses And all this was quite mild compared to things that happened during the 60s You know I had been through periods like that in the 60s myself So I think there was a kind of willingness to go to the barricades instantly in part because of our experiences during the 60s and the protests during the Vietnam War And in effect compared to your generation my generation s different We were all radicalized by that to some degree There s not a person that wasn t affected and I d say at least 80 or 90 percent of college students participated in some way in demonstrations against authorities It was simply and some people that s all they did in the spring of their college years is go to rallies all the time I don t know about doing any studying I got into a good graduate school I mean I was studying you know but I was also going to rallies So this seemed kind of similar and it was a period when people of a certain generation were revolting against the system you know take it to the man all sorts of things all sorts of expressions were used in this case quite inappropriate And those expressions of defiance and rebellion then were by people who felt very much as if they were not part of the system and so they felt entitled or certainly justified in revolting or crashing the system literally in terms of the riots that happened in the 1960s As an historian and something of a social historian I have to say that that class of people Junior Fellows were very much part of the system We were from elite schools and we had a fellowship at an elite institution We were not exactly disadvantaged youths in the ghetto or something But there was a sense of rebellion that went on during that And Giles Constable I believe if I have the history right became director the next year And I believe the first year he was director AS 77 was his first year RN Yeah so that was my second year as a Junior Fellow And he came and like all new directors began making changes initially because that s the smart way to do things The President of the United States is pushing very hard on his legislative initiative right now because if you don t do it at the beginning it won t happen So he was doing that making changes that fundamentally took the institution in a different course Right or wrong that s what happened It was the curtailing the elimination of the fieldwork program which affected art history and archaeology profoundly That was going on I think for myself personally living through that change is until this moment part of my interest in doing this history of Dumbarton Oaks because I d like to know the past before that time and to sort of fill in the blanks You know I had very much a sense that the world was changing but I didn t really know what the world was that was changing I didn t know I had only a vague sense Now I know a lot because I ve read a lot of letters I know a lot about the aspirations and what Dumbarton Oaks was paying for and the great projects they did And so it had an impact an intellectual impact on me during that period AS And I wonder while we re on the subject of Constable and directors I know you wanted to talk a little bit about William Tyler as the previous director Did you have much interaction with him as a Junior Fellow RN Not very much So he was director for one year there and that s the tragedy I had very little Now it s a tragedy He was aloof He came to lunch fitfully Lunch was the place where people would communicate with each other And perhaps three four five six times during the year I happened to walk back to the main building with him after lunch That was practically the only time one could really talk to him besides receptions And the lunch was in something we called the Fellows Building which is now the Guest House or whatever they call it AS Right yes the Guest House RN So that s where we ate lunch and the walk from there to the main house was a bit longer than the walk from where people eat lunch now And now they go in different directions but everybody walked back to the main house And so occasionally I walked with him and my teacher Hugo Buchthal had been a Fellow there and he told me I should really try to talk to Tyler because he was a very very interesting man and had wonderful experiences And so I tried but I couldn t get much out of him I asked him once what he d be doing in the summer and he said Oh I ll be going to our place in France And Oh you have a place in France Oh yes we have a place in Burgundy That was the conversation Now of course I know I ve Googled it I ve seen the place on the Internet I know how much it costs to rent for a week Do you AS No but I can only imagine I mean he RN It s something like 9000 a week or maybe it s 9000 a month In any case I don t have the 9000 for whatever period of time It s quite a chateau And I know the history of it and how much his father paid for it and when he bought it and all these sorts of things But so I really that s my great disappointment that I didn t get to know him more I think he felt I sensed he felt he was not a scholar and couldn t really interact You know that was a time when the world was not interested in the history of institutions It was not interested in historiography Dumbarton Oaks in many ways was aggressively erasing its past and that sense of the institution continued until a few years ago The fact that we re having this interview now means that desire to erase the past is past The fact that the current director is supporting this project to publish the Tyler Bliss correspondence is a sign that that s passed I can give you a variety of evidence that Dumbarton Oaks was definitely not interested in the history of its past before this time And I wasn t interested in that material also when I was a Junior Fellow But now I see it as an extraordinarily interesting set of individuals and circumstances that created this unique institution So that s my great regret that somehow I didn t figure out as a young person how to successfully interact with this older shy very formal former diplomat rather more European than American there was a real kind of cultural difference And I think and I don t know what else was I can now imagine other things that were going on in his mind because I read letters that he wrote as a young man And all of that maybe we ll put in our book and I don t know it s not something I ve really worked out in my mind right now but I m giving you the direct evidence So that s my great regret that I didn t get to know him more AS He was still very much connected though to the Washington social scene That s the sense I ve gotten I don t know I know the earlier days of Dumbarton Oaks very much trickled down to the experience for Fellows I don t know if it carried over into this period of time or not RN Well he was a retired ambassador And I got a sense from him that retired ambassadors were systematically invited to embassy receptions and there are a lot of embassies and there have got to be a lot of receptions Now I ve read a lot about the life of diplomats and I know that that is one of the principal places where diplomats do business so you really if you re a diplomat you need to go to those receptions And there s a lot of networking that takes place there and it s rather fundamental to the job But he was retired and he found all of that quite onerous he said And so he tried to go to as few of those as possible But he definitely had a ceremonial life there in Washington and you know he was a retired American ambassador in the headquarters of the State Department You can see there were quite a number of contacts that he surely had He was working on this correspondence to some degree and he was also working on the Liszt papers as I recall He told me that He somehow or Dumbarton Oaks had or somebody had letters of Franz Liszt Actually I haven t confirmed that later I don t know where those are or what that was about but that s what he told me he was working on That s all I know AS I wonder a bit of a change of topic but during the same period what your interaction was with the D O collection or if there was one RN Sure there was a collection The same art that s there now was there then I would say there was no interaction with the collection I m trying I m racking my brain for any interaction I think that s something that s changed now The collection is much more accessible I believe My guess is it was probably more a heritage of the patrons and the whole attitude the whole gestalt around the objects as being private was perhaps continued on And so that was the collection and we were there to use the books and work on our materials I never felt encouraged to look at the objects and there was never any museum visit for Fellows even though there were four or five or six art historical Junior Fellows I would say that was a missed opportunity We should have had much more interaction with the curator and the staff about the collection We would have learned a lot But that didn t happen AS And speaking of interactions did you have any interactions with the pre Columbian center or the Garden and Landscape center RN I did I liked the Fellows One of my two years there there was a wonderful Pre Columbian Fellow Linda Schele a professor at the University of Texas She was great She was the den mother of the Junior Fellows I mean she was this wonderful sort of charismatic extroverted outgoing lady somewhat heavyset wore these long we called them muumuus or something Long kind of flowing dresses This was a long time ago But it was very 60s sort of hippie like fashion long hair and these long flowing dresses And she was just so exuberant Her parties were wonderful and she was so excited about everybody s work And I really I loved that I found that so interesting And I was very impressed with everything I learned that I picked up about the pre Columbian world Spanish actually was my first foreign language so I never felt it never seemed terribly foreign what they were doing I grew up in southern Texas near the Mexican border so it was just Mexico doesn t seem foreign to me in a way And what they were doing didn t seem foreign although I don t have a Ph D in pre Columbian studies Later on when I remarried my second wife s father did a lot of business in Mexico and collected pre Columbian art and even gave me a few pieces so I feel like something was born there an appreciation for pre Columbian studies happened there at Dumbarton Oaks and that s because of the Fellows that I knew And similarly for landscape there was a person I m sorry I can t remember his name Mr Moran maybe an Americanist working on American landscape architecture and other people coming in interested in Beatrix Farrand who was the great designer of the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks and also many other gardens And later on I remembered those memories were important to me because I became very interested in the gardens I became very interested in American landscape architecture in the 20s and 30s because it s relevant to the Blisses and the Tyler Bliss project So there was also one year there was a landscape architecture professor Miller Miss Miller Professor Miller I can t remember her first name She taught at Boston College or Boston University She was a Renaissance scholar She was very lively and I ve always been interested in Italy and Italian art and working on the Italian Renaissance And so I very much enjoyed her So I liked all of the centers The music I liked the music I like the whole thing that Dumbarton Oaks does I m really quite I buy the whole program I think it s a great program AS Were Fellows active in the Friends of Music concerts going to concerts and things like that RN Well I was Music is real important to my life and I went to every one There were some great ones There was a marvelous concert in one of my years there Maybe it was when I was a Fellow I was a Fellow 81 82 It was the earliest music that Mozart composed like Opus 1 2 5 6 10 you know Mozart was very prolific So we listened to things he composed at seven eight ten eleven fifteen and they played these for they re not played these things aren t performed And the performers talked about them and that was really interesting And there was a quartet came ah people s names A quartet came and or it was a quintet and one of the violinists was very famous Schneider I can t remember the man s name Anyway he was a friend of my professor Hugo Buchthal was married to Serkin s wife sic sister the then very famous pianist And she her whole family was musical and they were part of a kind of musical dynasty in Austria in Vienna and so whenever I d go visit my professor most of the conversation would be about music and you know really performers and opera singers and things like that all of whom were their friends and they socialized with them Anyway this violinist was I remember him very famous and recorded often but he played dreadfully He was rather old and he was just basically faking it I mean lots of missed notes and I said something to Hugo Buchthal about this and he said Oh well you know this happens later on I just do remember he was dreadful I was just kind of wondering How d that happen and Why did he get on the series But mainly they had younger performers obviously younger performers are cheaper But they also have they did something wonderful and experimental like the earliest Mozart music And they can play with a great verve and I think really there I learned to appreciate chamber music because that s chamber That s music in a hall That s in a setting And there aren t too many other places where you get to hear chamber music There are universities and concert halls that try to make small venues for it but it s not in a home and people are sitting in banks of seats and all that sort of stuff That was a rare privilege AS Now these concerts were taking place in the Music Room or in the gardens RN The Music Room So we had this conference for the re opening of the library dedicated to the Blisses we were very interested in trying to have re stagings of those famous compositions that the Blisses commissioned and that was a great experience a few years ago AS We should move on to your years as a Fellow in the 80s a little more directly but before we do just as sort of a summary question about the Junior Fellow period a lot of people have described these years as a tough time to be in academia more generally and some have talked about how that filtered down to especially to Junior Fellows as people who are just getting their feet wet with a lot of people having to leave the field and you know a lot of frustration I wonder is that something you perceived in your time there RN Yeah that would be an aspect of at least this particular person you re interviewing emphasizing the positive not discussing with you the negative So I m making it into a golden age but there was enormous anxiety It frankly was the kiss of death to go into job interviews saying I was at Dumbarton Oaks I was so proud of getting the Dumbarton Oaks fellowship Some letter comes on fancy Harvard stationery and it says in very pretentious pompous language I probably have a copy somewhere The Board of Overseers begs to inform Something like that That you ve been All this I just thought this was unbelievable And so I was so so proud of being a Junior Fellow And so I started applying for jobs using Dumbarton Oaks stationery I thought this was very impressive It was a disaster because Byzantinists were perceived to be especially coming out of Dumbarton Oaks narrow only interested in scholarship unable to teach anything else outside the Byzantine field by definition a poor teacher and something that universities wouldn t want So it was a real problem And that aspect of the profession sticks with me to this day I never allow one of my graduate students in Byzantine art to leave with a Ph D unless they have a broader education than just Byzantine They cannot restrict themselves to studying Byzantine because I want them to be qualified for different kinds of jobs And so that s something I took from that period There was one person who was hanging on at Dumbarton Oaks and I can t remember his name He was a Junior Fellow and had a excuse me that s my phone Let me just look and see who it is Can you turn it off Let me Recording stops then starts again RN in the University of Michigan who had been a Junior Fellow had many years of Arabic and had to leave the field because there were simply no jobs for anybody in Islamic history The study of Islam was even worse than studying Byzantine studies which is quite a remarkable thing now since the whole world is terribly interested in Islamic studies There were friends of mine that in a way were in the process of leaving the field It was very difficult The year I got my job I ll give you the statistics There were a hundred people applying for jobs in medieval art and if you had a Byzantine specialty you were at a disadvantage A hundred people applying this is according to college statistics and there were two jobs Two I got one of them I got the best one I got a job as assistant professor at the University of Chicago and that made all the difference in my career I stayed there for twenty seven years and then I came to Yale so my career was very simple It was terrible There were very very well qualified people that didn t get the Chicago job and had to go into other fields I think the person that comes to mind my friend Gary Vikan is director of the Walters Art Museum He was some years ahead of me and had a Dumbarton Oaks staff appointment for several years a very very good scholar very wonderful person very good scholar and has been a great museum director I mean he s a talented human being and has done very well there but it s a real loss to the profession that Gary didn t take an academic job and that didn t work out for him And there were others It was indeed a very difficult time and I that was the anxiety That was the for many people a kind of depression that hung over us So we were there amongst the beautiful flowers and the glorious libraries and great intellectual traditions of Dumbarton Oaks and at the same time we didn t know if we d be even in the field the next year so it was a hard time No doubt about it And I don t think in retrospect Dumbarton Oaks could have done more to deal with that but they didn t see that as their problem or maybe they themselves were in denial you know that there was a problem I don t know Later on institutions grappled with this surplus of academics and Harvard cut its entering classes and you know this happened to many places It was an outgrowth of the great expansion of academia in the 60s into the early 70s spurred on by the stimulus of federal money and burgeoning economic times and many a larger percentage of Americans going to college and demand et cetera And all of a sudden with the economic turmoil with the later 70s that collapsed Some version is going to go on now but it will be better controlled and more contained than it was then It was a kind of depression in academia I got my job at the University of Chicago I shared this one statistic with you I got paid 11 000 in 1977 a year And I calculated my hourly rate I was working about a hundred hours a week to start because that s the way assistant professors do it I was making some incredibly small amount I was making less than minimum wage And it was also a period of great inflation which was a big problem for everybody in the country And I sort of extrapolated my salary and the rate of inflation and I saw that within three or four years I would be under the poverty I would be at the poverty level of America It was that bad It was really it was a lot of universities were really struggling Yale I know suffered a great deal Recording stops then starts again AS Now we re rolling again RN OK So I m sure Harvard also went through similar constrictions Endowments went down a great deal There were a lot of significant losses in endowments I think Yale lost a great deal of their endowment back then and I don t know what happened to Harvard but it was a very difficult time in academia and so that s the large now I can see if you take the long view that s the larger context for our anxiety then But it was palpable Yeah AS Well this was not the case when you returned in 81 or less so I guess RN Well I was an assistant professor and by then I had advanced to professor my career had gone well And my colleagues liked me at Chicago and so I was there 81 82 and I d already had a book published before I got there which was good a short book but it was a book And I was working on various other projects and I was getting married It was a good time a lot better It was really kind of in the personal aspect which perhaps I will mention here in the first year of my junior fellowship my first wife died so I had a great sort of personal tragedy William Loerke was very kind and solicitous about that I must say He was very helpful And then the second time I was at Dumbarton Oaks I got married So I mean you know it s sort of a very concrete contrast there And I got tenure in the fall of 82 That s the year after I was at Dumbarton Oaks So things were looking pretty good then So it was a much better time Kazhdan had come to Dumbarton Oaks and he had compared to the which was Giles Constables brilliant idea absolutely brilliant and so in my second year as a Junior Fellow there was a lot of grumbling about Giles Constable but by the time he made this brilliant appointment everybody was Well what a great et cetera Things change He was the same man of course But this was all from the lower echelon point of view And so that was a very good and successful year I think I got a lot of work done and it worked well AS It would have been different your different perspective as being in different places in your career were there visible changes at Dumbarton Oaks between your two I mean you d been gone almost five years I guess between the two Or did it seem like the same place RN It seemed the same It seemed the same I had trouble working there the second time There was a reading room where the Junior Fellows had desks in part of the Blisses house of course and it had these gorgeous wood floors which were from probably the Blisses When they were there they had beautiful oriental carpets down et cetera et cetera Now there were just bare wood floors and they were extremely noisy because of people walking around all the time And the reading room was wood paneled It was an exceedingly bright sonically room It s the sort of environment that restauranteurs make so that people won t linger long over their dinners And it was very hard to study And I don t deal very well with noise Some people like my son s in college and he likes to go to coffee shops and work I couldn t I have to have perfect silence We re completely different And so I found it hard to work And it became even worse when I came back as an assistant professor because I was used to having an office and quiet spaces and so I remember having earplugs in all day trying to work and things like that So that s my impression of the environment Constable bless his heart heard the complaints and put a carpet down in the hall And that cut down the noise First there was great grumbling about how they re going to change at Dumbarton Oaks but he really did cut down the noise of people s shoes you know And we used to some of the women wore high heels and they made a this is a different age That even made more noise and we d really grumble about that And some people would even suggest they might not wear high heels at Dumbarton Oaks you know but they couldn t do that for the head librarian liked to wear high heels We didn t feel like we could say anything to her about it So I think that s about the only difference that I can think of Not a profound one AS Well speaking of the library how was your interaction with it would be Irene Vaslef at this point or any of the librarians RN Oh I liked Irene I liked her a great deal and that second time when I came back she had a son who was a medical doctor and I think he d taken a residency in Chicago so we had a lot of Chicago conversations about her son et cetera And I always liked Irene a great deal I was very fond of her I thought she was an excellent librarian I worked hard to help them get books and to give them suggestions and took very seriously that responsibility of Fellows to try to help them get books they didn t know about I kind of took that attitude which I picked up as a junior Fellow as well we were encouraged to do that and when I got to Chicago all the time I was there I was constantly on the librarians to get books and things I still do it at Yale Whenever I see something we don t have I shoot off an email Fortunately at Yale we have plenty of money for books so they buy everything At Chicago it was more difficult Dumbarton Oaks also bought everything so that was great AS So it was a very active relationship between librarians and Fellows RN Yeah Definitely AS And they were very accommodating RN Very accommodating They would do anything to help us It was a real personal they would take a personal interest in your work and they would go to all kinds of heroics to help you get things There was a man a wonderful retired man he d had some sort of military career and his job was to go the Library of Congress to get books for us He was very talkative a very garrulous man and you had to be a little bit careful about starting conversations or you wouldn t get any work done because he would tell you great all the heroic actions he d done to find this book at the Library of Congress and I m sure finding something in the Library of Congress can be very difficult on some days but that was his mission to get these obscure books for us in the Library of Congress and perhaps they re still doing that I don t know but it s probably more anonymous interlibrary loan or something now But then they had their own courier he would go every day He was wonderful AS Now were you still living on Wisconsin Avenue during this fellowship RN Yes that was the time we still lived there That was in a way a nice

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  • Laurie Olin — Dumbarton Oaks
    us were all kind of all over and weren t usually our students particularly You follow VCM Yeah LO I mean it s a much bigger field now than it was then And we hatched this you know old generation now VCM Did you ever work closely with any of the other members of the Board LO Well as I said I had known Hank almost intimately And I would say Mark Laird no I didn t know him before I met Mark Treib there I met John Dixon Hunt there I met a whole bunch of people There was a wonderful guy from Penn who was in Islamic and Moorish Studies He s now retired who was a very sweet guy Then there was Naomi what s Naomi last name VCM Miller LO Yeah Naomi Miller was there I met her I think she s at BU VCM I think she s emerita now LO And then there was a very lively wonderful woman from Yale who was in Art History there what was her name Anyway I met a whole bunch of people they were all enormous fun but one of the things about them was since then several have become very close and dear friends since because we ve known each other ever since and done stuff like Mark Treib and John Dixon Hunt and others So does that answer your question VCM Sure if you want to talk about any projects after Dumbarton Oaks that s cool too LO Well yeah One of the things that happened out of D O having met some of these people when Benedetta Origo decided that she wanted to try and do something with her villa in Tuscany at La Foce she asked Hank Millon at CASVA to round up some people to help her brainstorm and think about it And Hank and John Hunt and I were part of the group that were rounded up And out of that ended up coming the book project that John and I did with Benedetta and with Morna Livingston the publication in the University of Pennsylvania Press series on La Foce It was just kind of done to help them with their finances but also to kind of actually study it and know something about it which I think it s been immensely helpful for her its now in several languages selling everywhere What we did is that we put all the proceeds to go to La Foce So there s a project that came out of people that I met there that had to do with the subject matter I would say later on a search committee at Penn well I was on a search committee for D O for a new head and we picked John Hunt and then later I was on a search committee at Penn for a new Chair at Penn and we picked John Hunt So I helped John with a couple of jobs after I mean he d gone from D O to Bunny Mellon s and then he and I have been closely involved teaching at Penn and doing various odds and ends and things VCM Can I ask if you ever got to work with Wilhelmina Jashemski LO No I met her only once She was a very dear friend of Betty s Elisabeth MacDougall you would call her but Betty and Wilhelmina were old buddies and John and Wilhelmina turned out later I guess she met him at some point I don t think they were close but they were professionally on very good terms and did a lot of stuff I never actually knew her A couple of my students knew her and worked with her VCM That s a shame she was apparently a great person LO Well Kathy Gleason who was one of my students at Harvard and now teaches at Cornell applied for the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture and the Landscape Jury sent her over to Classics and they gave her the fellowship to go work on classical landscapes and she ended up working with Wilhelmina I m sure a bit So anyways it s a family So I never actually knew her that much VCM You did work with I m assuming you knew Betty MacDougall pretty well LO She was in Rome when I was a fellow in the seventies 72 74 And she was a great help to me She and Georgina Masson who is now dead who s real name was Babs Johnson anyway Georgina was a very influential scholar kind of crazy American woman who ended up in Rome after World War II I don t know whether she was divorced or widowed or whatever Babs and Betty both shared manuscript information with me they shared research of theirs with me They were very generous and helpful And also you know steered me away from some mistakes and towards some really good stuff and so I liked and trusted Betty Betty was a difficult person some people didn t like her She was one of oh what s his name Wittkower s students like Hank She d gone to the Institute in New York where a lot of the great art historians have all gone and still go and come out of And so the Institute of Fine Arts it s in the Doris Duke mansion up in the city there in Manhattan near the Met And Betty was a tough well trained scholar of Renaissance I hired her to teach history at Harvard for one year because I had this problem the guy that had been teaching for me died I hired Betty and she commuted from D O And the students found her really difficult She was hard on the students because they were design students and weren t real scholars They didn t read enough She didn t want them to smOkaye in class This is those days you know Anyway she was a tough gal but I loved her She was very salty and very direct but she knew everybody in Europe She was she first introduced Michel Conan and all people like that She was a good soul What was it like working with her Fun it was fun She was hard on people and we had an eternal fight with the Betty and Hank and John and I fought with the administration at D O about We wanted dust jackets on the books and the Byzantinists and the Classicists were Well we don t need dust jackets we are not a trade rag you know We have these nice cloth bindings with a stamp They would have gotten leather bindings if they could ve but they were stuck with linen right We were saying Well we ll never sell any of our books damn it if you won t let us have dust jackets So that was one of our big fights The challenge was trivial but it was accomplished after our watch Isn t that funny VCM They fight over all kinds of things LO Well academia is a funny place as you ll learn VCM So you were also involved in the search committee that eventually picked John Dixon Hunt can you talk about that process LO Well it was the usual you know You round up a committee You advertise You get all these CVs things come in And then you think this is a funny crowd we ve got people who d never touch us with a tenth foot pole and then you have people that want the job but you don t want them and then there are people that are interesting but they didn t apply so you call around to see if they might be interested The process was very much like any search committee I d say And what it does is it raises issues about what sort of person do we want who will help with the program and fight for it within the institution but who also understands the field and can help shape the field which is of course what such a person does And so John was kind of a rising star at that point He was back in England teaching and we lured him I mean he would come you know he had been a Fellow And we decided he had actually a better track record and more potential than the other candidates It wasn t too hard to conclude at the time given the pool of people Does that help VCM Yeah Talking about small things to fight about I know that there was some controversy over the name of what we now call Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Did you have a take on that LO I don t remember It may have happened after I left We may have just talked about it but we didn t really fight about it at least not to my memory not the gang I was closest to Our fight was about book jackets But I think it was good to make it more than gardens because that s way too limiting It was a thing just as it s been a struggle to get art historians to move past objects it took a while to get them into dealing with the relationship of the art object to society and everything else getting architecture historians to move past buildings oh God what a struggle And then once they fell in love with gardens and started doing gardens we have to get them to understand that well gardens are just a piece of the designed landscape and as fancy and special as they are there s this bigger milieu that is also historically and in contemporary terms deeply engaging and has to do with civilization and thought and all that and culture It was a good thing that they did it but people still don t know what landscape architecture is My parents are in their grave not knowing what I do VCM Can you describe what you would consider the greatest accomplishment of the Board while you were a member LO I think we gave some very important fellowships to people who would become leading scholars and educators One example would be a guy like James Wescoat at MIT James Wescoat first came to us as this young landscape architect who was interested in water and wanted to do some had started to do some work independently in India Well now he s one of the leading authorities in the world on the Mughal water systems and hydrology and everything and he s a fabulous guy And we gave him his first start And we gave many fellowships like that I d say to people who have actually helped to shape the field I feel very proud of that And I think some of the symposia were wonderful and produced publications that have stood the test of being major contributions VCM Do you think that there were any failures while you were there LO Well our biggest one was that we were unable to overcome the Byzantinists control of all the money and resources and public relations and the Harvard connections They really had their hand on it So we were kind of starved of resources I felt and basically treated like orphans or poor cousins I don t think we gave many bad fellowships Once in a while you gave one to somebody who turned out to be a dud but not very many So failure in relationship building I guess VCM Is it all right for me to move on to LO Yes that s fine VCM In some of the other interviews people have talked about the division between academics and professionals in Garden and Landscape Studies as a problem with the field but also in particular at Dumbarton Oaks You are practicing landscape architect right LO That s right VCM Do you have a perspective on how Dumbarton Oaks does address this LO Let me think The answer is yes I m practicing landscape architect I m also a person who teaches history theory and studio design and drawing So I m kind of familiar with academia and have been teaching at Penn and Harvard and UVA and Texas and various places since I guess the 70s and still am So I kind of know the field in two ways and in the course of that I ended up meeting knowing hiring working with being friends of many people involved in scholarship not only at D O but at the Academy I was on the board of the American Academy in Rome for twenty years and friends at I Tatti and I hung out at various places And one of the things I ll say is yes it s true there is an awkward and sometimes unpleasant and sometimes very real and sometimes for good reasons gap between scholars and academics and historians and those who practice It s real And it s unfortunate but it s hard to figure out what to do about it And I will tell you that having read applications for the Guggenheim and having sat on innumerable juries giving fellowships both at the Academy and at D O putting together juries being on juries doing all kinds of stuff one of the things is that it s the rare practitioner who applies for such a grant or fellowship or a study period who makes the cut with the academics because they don t have a track record they don t publish anything and they quite often don t write quite as well And they have not been trained to do research and scholarship usually I mean John and I spend a long time trying to get a sense if people can write because we are getting students coming through high schools and colleges and into graduate school and they still couldn t even write a proper paper and put together a beginning middle and end that had a thesis and had grammar that worked and all that I mean this is a problem For you as a product of Classics you have spent many years reading and writing and are comfortable in a world of scholarship I presume For a lot of people who have what it takes to be a good designer they are quite often extremely intelligent but their intelligence is organized around thinking and solving problems and being perceptive about things in ways that are not necessarily verbal And they haven t been trained to organize their thoughts around verbal structures very well So do you mind me going on like this VCM Oh no It s really interesting because you know people talk about you know Oh it s a problem but they don t say why LO So here s the scoop what happens is I ve had some of the best and most talented graduate students in design at Harvard and Penn over the last thirty years who now are leaders in the field that are department chairs won all these prizes and built all this stuff they are famous nationally and internationally They are really intelligent and they read but they are kind of like me they are autodidacts They are self taught in what they ve read and they wander around and they have huge gaps and quite often they some of my best students they don t read a lot they don t read enough We re trying to help them know something about the history of their own medium because most of the great performers in most media whether it s in music or literature or medicine or you know whatever they actually know a lot about their own predecessors Picasso for instance knew more about the history of art you know he ransacked he knew Velázquez he knew Degas and he knew the Pompeian stuff The really great people know their field cold but they are not scholars When some of these people apply to us they ll have an instinct they want to learn about something or go somewhere or do something and sometimes they because they are so clearly smart they have a great portfolio and they have a project that seems well yeah let s let them do that So occasionally you ll get a designer who makes the cut with the academics But the academics will basically be pretty harsh towards proposals that aren t well written They ll say Well this is a great project but can this person do it I don t think this person can do it Too bad we don t have a somebody who wants to do this project Or you ll have somebody who s a good person but the project is stupid because well they don t know that this has been covered in the literature you know twelve books on that came across my desk last year This guy is a great designer but it s already been done So that s part of what happens you see in these reviews I can tell you that oh the meetings in the Guggenheim over a period of about ten years probably two or three designers got a fellowship in what goes under the rubric of architecture and all the rest went to superbly qualified post doctoral folks or people who are working on the book that was going to summarize their career or do something And so the difference between a really hot designer who wants to go off and spend a few months doing something or you know a year rooting around in some area because he s curious and wants to find out or wants to do a study or something when they compete with someone who

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  • Therese O'Malley — Dumbarton Oaks
    Bann he wrote an essay years and years ago about what the new art history will be and one of the areas he identifies as the area to be looked at is garden history This is long before his association with Dumbarton Oaks So Dumbarton Oaks really beginning with Mrs Bliss s own collecting interest and that s a whole other angle why was she interested in this who else was interested in this And there were a lot of very very important women in America interested in collecting garden books and they basically cornered the market and created a market for the collection of these kinds of material Mrs Mellon being one of the primary examples Mrs Hunt in Pittsburgh in California there were a couple of women who were building these great collections But anyway I could go on and on about this You d better ask me another question EG Did you get a sense of Mrs Bliss s mission for the garden and architecture program TO It s quite explicit In the beginning Beatrix Farrand had founded in Maine at her own home a small research center that had certain goals the study of historic gardens the training of gardeners and landscape designers to become a resource center for information about local flora She very much influenced Mrs Bliss but Mrs Bliss already had an interesting collection she had been collecting for a long time already But they had been talking about the gardens and garden library since 1920 We have a 1922 letter which really lays out a lot of these goals that get carried through The building of the garden is seen very much as a laboratory for the study of garden history So they re integral and it took decades things like the war The Blisses in all the years they owned it I think a total of less than seven years maybe they lived there is that what you ve heard AS They gifted it in 40 TO And all the time they were building it the 20s and 30s they weren t here so it s something that from the very beginning of its purchase they identified as something that would have another life But this is something that s happening in a lot of places in America It has to be seen in the context of what Mr du Pont is doing for Winterthur he was building a center for the study of American culture He was one of the first members of the board of the garden library for Dumbarton Oaks There are very very tight relationships between these people and a lot of people in Europe The whole Florentine expat community the creation of Le Balze La Pietra I Tatti That s all key and part of the social community they were dealing with Beatrix Farrand s aunt is Edith Wharton and she was very much a part of that whole Anglo American community in Florence involved in building all these research centers so it s not a unique situation something that s happening Also the Folgers were just giving that whole collection to Washington at the same time AS The integration you that you talked about between the gardens and garden history that was sort of a Bliss legacy or goal was that true when you were a Fellow Was there some sort of integration between the fellowship program and the physical gardens Of course everyone is busy with their own studies but you do have a great resource in that there are beautiful historical gardens right next to you TO Well for someone like me who works on American gardens you could see I was interested in the design of this garden from the beginning My dissertation wasn t about it but you work in one of the best designed gardens in America and Beatrix Farrand is one of our greatest designers so for me it was part of my intellectual pursuit as well In terms of the experience of being a Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks it was integral to our experience there because we were there in the gardens as much as possible and we were talking in the gardens and meeting in the gardens and using it for our communion with each other so it was integral In terms of the horticultural collections I wasn t looking at horticulture at that point there I was looking at horticulture in Washington in the eighteenth century nineteenth century not this is something very different JNSL What was the most exciting project through the years that you ve been pleased to be a part of in terms of your associations with Dumbarton Oaks a symposium or so on Your fondest TO That s hard to say I was a Senior Fellow for I don t know how long AS about ten years I think TO Always picking the fellowships There s a lot of responsibility there because you re building the field You re very conscious of the fact that you re building the field That was great You see what s out there and you get to choose who you think is the best and then you get to meet them and encourage them and they become your colleagues so that s always been a tremendous thing for me But then I did the Downing Facsimile that was a book there s a facsimile series for the garden library and there ve been a couple a half dozen or so This was a good experience for me for editorial reasons What they do is they look for a notable book in the collection that s not widely available and then they reprint it and someone writes an essay with it So that s what I did with Downing s treatise on the history of landscape gardening This was around the 1840s Dumbarton Oaks had a good edition of it but it was missing something We were able to collaborate with the Library of Congress and get pages from theirs and insert them so that what we actually published was a better edition than Dumbarton Oaks has That was for me I learned so much in the process of doing that kind of publication and it s stayed with me because now that s what I primarily do here our publications with CASVA But the John Evelyn project was something that was very dear to my heart because I was working on Evelyn this was during John Hunt s time there and he of course had worked on Evelyn I was able to go look at the manuscript which was never published it was this great work this magnum opus that was never published it was a comprehensive history of gardens Parts of it have been published over the years so we know some things through published form but the actual manuscript people just never could see this thing because it s massive It s a mess that has all these interleaved editions and everything We did a big project to bring together a person from Wiliamsburg and John Hunt was behind all of this who had been working on a transcription of it and we made the transcription available to a handful of scholars who read it and then came and gave a symposium Then we published the symposium papers and then John through Pin Press has published a facsimile of that book So this is a multi year long term project involving lots of people but it s a very key work that is now well known by many many people and used and it s a very nice collaboration So that kind of thing that you can pull off never as an individual you need a team of people you need cooperating institutions you can really do something big and important And I did appreciate very much one little detail in that the garden symposia are very successful Anytime you mention gardens you have at least two different audiences that come together an amateur audience and a scholarly audience and they mix up beautifully We always have usually a sold out crowd John Evelyn was so esoteric people came and didn t make it through the whole thing What I appreciated at the end of it was and it led to a lot of discussion that you know what that s what Dumbarton Oaks can do it can do a scholarly conference We don t care who comes We re not selling out the point is not to be popular That high point of quality for that place I think should always be maintained AS That was an unusual symposium in that it wasn t only esoteric in subject relatively speaking it was also much more specific than most of the symposia topics Is that fair to say TO Yeah probably true I m thinking of Loudon the one on Loudon We ve done them on individuals there was one on Downing there was one on Loudon and the picturesque But about one manuscript I can t think of another parallel to that Although what that manuscript represented it was the history of the Royal Society basically It was the history of the foundations of garden history actually Really on the face of it it looked very narrow but if you look at the papers it was really quite broad And that s the way we sliced it basically to blow it up to make it a much more complicated and broad topic EG Did you work on any interdisciplinary symposia with Pre Columbian or Byzantine studies Was there anything like that at the time TO Interdisciplinary was always three departments I know there have been I ve attended them but did I work on them I can t remember working on them EG So those are more rare than most TO Oh they re very rare That was a big party trick to come up with a topic that brings together the three fields Joachim was able to do that at some point What we have done we ve done programs with CASVA and Dumbarton Oaks and we did one on sustainability in agriculture That was quite interdisciplinary AS How over the years have you interacted with the museum and its collections The garden collection is a little bit different we ve gotten the sense than maybe some of the other collections at Dumbarton Oaks TO See this is a particular how should I put it I m always bothered by the fact that the library the garden materials are never considered part of the museum I just think that the objects that are in the garden library we have a very important collection And there s no one big catalog on the garden library and there really should be You know they ve just published that square one on the museum great hits there absolutely should be one on the library and the collection of prints and drawings and paintings that are in there They re very important But your question really was about you mean the Byzantine and the Pre Columbian materials and my interactions with those AS No I think your interactions with the garden materials did you interact a lot with the collection TO The library collection AS It s strange to talk about the collection because it s not treated as maybe as official as the museum collection in Byzantine or Pre Columbian but is there a lot of interaction between Fellows and the collection in garden history TO Absolutely People write dissertations on things in that collection They write books on them The Downing book was about a book in the collection I ve just published a book called The Art of Natural History which is through here I edited it with Amy Meyers who is also a former Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks We published an article on this great manuscript from Prague and there s just so many examples of this is this great manuscript that s in Dumbarton Oaks s collection that has never been really published I also just recommended to an exhibition that s going on in England and at Yale the Mrs Delaney manuscript that we have at Dumbarton Oaks that nobody ever really has looked at But it was on display a year or two ago in the garden library and I knew about it because I d been reading all the correspondence about Mrs Bliss s purchases for this article on building the collection and I saw that they had bought this book by Mrs Delaney and I didn t know they had it so I tracked it down It s going to be in this exhibition at Yale now and in London So I am constantly referring to the collection and have been since day one It s a very important very diverse collection there There s a wonderful letter by Thomas Jefferson about slavery there She collected a lot of first editions and a lot of manuscript letters from all fields She had all these early Jane Austens Fantastic collection So yeah I did use it a lot Everyone used it a lot EG Has there been any sort of exhibition at Dumbarton Oaks of documents or manuscripts or objects in landscape TO Many many exhibitions EG Were you involved in them TO No I haven t done any exhibitions No that s something usually the Directors of Studies would do that would be their role But they always use those vitrines you know that are in the hallways outside There are some great photographs of using the Music Room to display botanical books Have you seen those EG I don t think so TO They just set up tables and put all the books out for special occasions when people come in No this was way before the symposia They didn t start until pretty late the symposia But they would in those vitrines put out exhibits of objects when they related to the particular symposium JNSL You re in a unique position through your association here at CASVA and at Dumbarton Oaks to comment on the role of Dumbarton Oaks both the gardens and the museum and the collection and the fellowship program all of that together as it sits in Washington How do you see its place as opposed to a lot of other wonderful museums in the city and so on in terms of public mission as well That s a complicated question How do you see the mission of Dumbarton Oaks in the city of Washington TO Well maybe I could approach that by talking about how the various research institutes see themselves as part of the network of them within the city We re so fortunate to be in a city where museums are largely public and there s a very very keen awareness that the city belongs to the people We re really basically we re out sitting right here on the Mall There are a lot of different kinds of audiences and Dumbarton Oaks like we are here we are very lucky to be able to serve multiple audiences at the same time We can have as we do so many public programs and access but we can also have closed programs so that we can address a professional audience So Dumbarton Oaks does the same thing They have open hours they have public lectures they have publicity that reaches everybody but they can have a meeting of five world experts on a very very specific topic thereby affording the advancement of knowledge They re also a university owned institution they re private They don t have nearly the burden we have as a public institution to maintain our public access But we re very lucky because we have a huge department of education that does all kinds of public programs all public programs and we also have CASVA which can do professional programs I don t know the extent of the public programming at Dumbarton Oaks currently but I do know that it exists so I see them as fulfilling a very important mission to serve multiple audiences and serve them really very very richly Does that answer that question JNSL Yes thank you TO We have an organization we all belong to called what do we call it Well we have a couple of organizations we have ARIAH which is the Association of Research Institutes in Art History and Dumbarton Oaks and the gallery are two of the founding members of it and there are now about twenty two organizations in North American that have residential research fellowships and we meet a couple times a year to discuss shared problems and things like that Dumbarton Oaks is a very active part of that network and then there s a Washington based consortium we call it the Collegium actually of I think there are probably about sixteen research institutes in Washington in the humanities that get together to do the same thing So it s a very important member of these things EG You ve spoken a little bit about this already but I was wondering if you could tell us how you see Dumbarton Oaks s role in the field of garden and landscape studies as a whole and if you see that role as having changed over the years TO The role has always been because it was so early and so constant a force of energy it s absolutely critical to the development of the field which you have to realize has really developed over the past thirty forty years from almost nonexistent to a real powerhouse now of academic and scholarly activities and Dumbarton Oaks has just pushed it all the way along If you look at the alumni of Dumbarton Oaks you re reading

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  • Kenneth Pasmanick — Dumbarton Oaks
    and we came out through Paraguay and Uruguay and then Brazil It was fascinating and fabulous three months a tour of three months I remember Fanny and I my wife and I discussing the ramifications of that three months away from my children and her And I said well Fanny I m going to buy us a house We had a two bedroom house and it was inadequate And she bought us this house And this is 1969 AS That was your first interaction with pre Columbian KS Yeah I went to fincas where I could dig and find pieces I found a pipa a little pipe It was pre Columbian And other shards pieces of pottery And I went to all the museums There was a gold museum museo de oro a gold museum and there was a floor made of skulls believe it or not A lot of gold It was exciting to say the least Anyway I had that feeling of what a thrill of seeing the pieces for the first time So when I came back it wasn t long after that that those pieces at the National Gallery of Art arrived In the basement neglected And that s what had Mr Bliss order a museum wing just to take care of his collection AS This is the exhibition at the National Gallery KP No it was at the National Gallery a lot of wonderful pieces that Bliss owned but had no place to show This was before the wing that now holds them AS Right the Johnson KP Yeah and that is so gorgeous inside outside all that glass Gorgeous Anyway what AS Well back to your experience as a docent I get the feeling that there are a lot of interesting individuals and groups that come through Dumbarton Oaks I wonder if there are any particularly memorable groups that you led on tours KP Some of the groups were strictly garden people and they wanted to know everything about the gardens and they were gardeners on a high level And I didn t do any gardening work while I was playing Beethoven and Mozart so I and I felt at a loss but I tried AS There s a lot of garden clubs and things like that that come through KP Oh yes And people who love roses I remember one group that I took through and this is true what I tell you It s true I said Do you see this Ingrid Bergman rose That s what it s called An Ingrid Bergman rose And I said You know when the National Symphony moved to its present site in the Kennedy Center we were before that at Constitution Hall which was a horrible place for music It was just awful And here we were in a new hall And Antal Doráti was the conductor at the time had a press conference And he spoke to a few members of the orchestra I was pleased to be one of them and to people from various cultural entities And it was very gala and festive And they had shrimp trays and lobster trays and any kind of drink you could think of And I took advantage of all that largesse and I got a little tipsy The room the building rather was new to me at that time My wife and I felt it was time to leave We didn t want to overstay and since the building was new to me I wasn t sure where I could find an elevator to go to the parking garage Finally we found one And the door opened on the elevator and I look at this woman a beautiful woman and I say to her Are you Ingrid Bergman And her head goes down and she says Yes And I said Ms Bergman may I kiss you And she said reluctantly Yes And I kissed her on both cheeks and that was that AS It was a lucky time to leave KP So that s my story of the Ingrid Bergman rose But anyway what can I say AS So you also did a lot of school groups coming through KP Oh yes With the children some are very interested and some are not It s so important not to be a naysayer but to encourage curiosity What do you think this is What do you do with that What would you do if you had it It was a lot of fun AS These are local area schools KP Yes Some from out of town Hagerstown Benson Baltimore AS I wonder oh yes You were involved with the docent program for about five years KP About five or six years AS In that time did you notice were there any major initiatives or changes to the program KP There have been changes in emphasis I would say and changes for the better I tend to speak colloquially I don t want to worry about trying to sound erudite and I want people to remember something So I made it a point not to overload visitors but to pick out a few pieces and really let them become familiar with them And always to say please come back I think I was a decent person at communicating in a friendly way AS By changes in emphasis you mean changes in the style of KP Yeah it was much more formal Now with so much information on the wall for these pieces we re more reduced to saying If you have any questions I would be happy to try to answer them Before you could tell them the whole thing the story about the piece So that s a big change a big change In the Byzantine wing it s more possible to tell people things It s a wonderful collection of Byzantine artifacts Yeah that s what I remember I can t get specific about how

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  • Hector Paz — Dumbarton Oaks
    Slowly slowly All laughing HP I wanted perfection in the platters he wanted perfection as well but much faster And I would always tell him Don t rush me Perfection needs time And it was fun It was an interesting interesting working situation My assistant then became Lilly Guillén she used to be the dishwasher when I came here and she used to do the bedrooms upstairs We used to be five or six working at the Fellows Building We had Fellows and scholars staying with us at the Fellows Building staying with us upstairs in the bedrooms They would come and go and I would know who was coming every month I would get a list of who was coming for what term or what under what which circumstances and which rooms they were assigned to and she used to take care of that When she was placed as my assistant we just went to town I mean it was lots of fun because we could create a lot of different things that have not necessarily been done here in Dumbarton Oaks so here goes I m a little fragmented I m going to bring you back to the rooms upstairs We had a housekeeper it was Lilly then Linda came she was hired as a part timer and she would do all the rooms upstairs The rooms were changed I was in charge of the linens the furnishings everything upstairs And then we had the professors that would come and then every summer we would have a parade of the old guard of the professors We would have Professor Grierson we would have Professor Mr Browning we would have Professor the Greek gentleman I can t remember his name right now but and we kept their suitcases So we kept in one of the closets we used to keep their suitcases for when they would come to visit us So we would get this note I would get this note Professor Grierson will arrive on June first so I would immediately tell Lilly The professors Professor Grierson is coming She knew right away She went upstairs she got his bag and she would sit it at the in the bed And we never went into it that was his stuff that was private The Greek professor Professor Oikonomides we had all like five or six suitcases and they would come basically from Europe and they would stay with us for the summertime They would teach they would read they would do their studies everything It was very interesting a really different kind of atmosphere The last one of the professors that stayed with us was Professor Grierson with meaning suitcase wise Then after that we made a transition to the Refectory and of course things changed Let me see what else oh Behind the these are little tidbits that I m they re coming up BT No they re good HP Behind the Fellows Building we had chestnuts trees AN Ooh HP in the parking lot So in the mornings we would go out and we would fight the squirrels Lilly and I to get the chestnuts and then we Silvio would come in and show us how to open the you know they re really prickly and they can hurt your hands So he showed us Put them They were on the ground and we would roll them with our feet and they would pop so would take then the nuts and we would bring them upstairs and we would get a little tray and we would roast them and we d eat that But then the rest we would roast them and then I d put them in brandy or cognac and I would save them for the holidays to do the parties and to do you know the different events that we would have so that was something that was done here When I came here the garden we had a kitchen garden in the gardens and luckily enough here we have a new one again In the mornings when the head of the gardens Mr Smith Don Smith would call us and said The best basil is ready to be picked It s going to go to flower So we would between Lilly there was another lady Dulce she was the dishwasher and I we would take baskets and it was like little red riding hood and the big bad wolf coming down the lanes and we would go through the dell and walk through and we would go all the way in the gardens really early in the morning We d clip all the basil and any other herbs that were available and we would bring them to the kitchen and we would use them during the day and luckily now I mean twenty years later here we are again using produce and things like that that are from the gardens which is a great great thing It s like bounty for me every morning when they come in with this huge basket it s great So we used to use the we used to have activities that were not necessarily part of Dumbarton Oaks at the Fellows Building The Fellows would make dinners and they would invite us and we would come at night and it was a potluck and everyone would cook a little bit And we would have great meals there and parties sometimes they would like to have like parties for different occasions like Halloween or a Fourth of July cookout and they would request to use stuff from the kitchen They were not allowed to go in the kitchen per se it was like a two kitchen situation you would walk on in to a regular household kitchen that they would have two for their use They can buy whatever groceries they wanted and they had refrigerators and things like that And then behind that it was the big commercial kitchen and they would request from me like plates and silver glasses and everything and I would provide them everything with the condition that they had to have everything the same that I gave them to them the same way I wanted them back I wanted them clean I gave them the trash bags I showed them everything Then there was one particular party that I was invited and couldn t come it was the Halloween party one of them Two weeks later I was shown the pictures when I walked in on Monday there was the building looked beautiful Then two weeks later I saw the pictures The furnishings of the first floor of the Fellows Building were outside in the driveway and it was like an outside living room and the dining rooms were on the side like going down like in a terrace and there were all partaking And inside the person the Fellow that was in charge he took all these leaves of all these colors and covered the floor all the wooden floors with all these leaves and everybody got dressed up for Halloween and I m sorry I missed that party Laughing I m sorry I missed that party it was lots of fun I mean I was I enjoyed the pictures so much but behind my in my head I was just like I m so glad that the Fellows Building is still standing after that I think they just would have hanged me if anything would have happened because in those times it was very you know not necessarily prudent to do that but they had a ball And that was the important thing for the Fellows to have a fun time too So there was a lot of different interactions over there because it was smaller it was a little bit more quaint The fact that we were in the middle the kitchen basically was in the middle of the building and everyone coming and going even though we were so remote from the actual main building everybody eventually went there and it was it was great We lost a few members of the staff in the before we moved to the Refectory for medical reasons We lost others because of retirement So once I said the transitioning to the Refectory was well it was a little hard for the only two members of the staff that were left which was basically Lilly and I adjusting to the fact that the kitchen was downstairs and we were not in the middle of the action so to speak and it took a while for us to get not into the routine but get used to it Lilly a few years ago she retired and I was the only one left of the whole entire group I am the only one left The Housemen are gone and I remember when I came here thinking I mean these people are here fifteen twenty years and I mean they must be crazy And here I am sitting with twenty five But I do understand the reason why they were here I understand the reason that I am here now for such a long time There s still some professors and some Fellows that are still they come everybody comes it s like a revolving door I don t like to say goodbye to any that come to the kitchen or to that I have interactions because I know that someway somehow I will see them again Either via emails or via phone call or just coming as a guest of somebody or just popping in and it s great because they ask they ask I feel very honored the fact that they ask for me I mean they don t ask for the cook really but they do And they have requested to see me at lunchtime sometimes I m so busy downstairs because of so many different events that is very hard for me to go upstairs but I m making an effort to at least be seen and I know I mean you guys you will all come back AN We hope to HP In one form or whatever you ll be here and they if they still keep me I will be here too So anything else that you would like to or that you had heard or anything about that BT Oh gosh that was we definitely yeah there are certainly questions to ask that was just so that just covered so much stuff yeah Gosh let s see I guess just if you could comment on because obviously there s this huge tradition of food service at Dumbarton Oaks You ve talked a lot about that but I was wondering how you balanced working within this tradition you talked about going to the Archives and finding the old recipes and things with you know adding your own style or new foods or experimenting HP I was trained classically French which really helped I mean the fact that I could just fall back on those techniques and those basics it is fine When I came here with Angeliki Angeliki was very traditional very as the term loosely using very old school so to speak which was fine because that was my basis The difference really changed on my likings but basically who the director interim is So when the directors come in I have to start wondering what are the food likes and dislikes I need to start kind of putting out menus for activities and just trying to figure out a way what are the likes and dislikes With Angeliki it was traditional we had some interim directors in between and they were more classic Once Mr and Mrs Keenan came the fare changed It was not so European it was more American fare So that moved me from to a more a lighter fare more not too much out there as of nouvelle cuisine and things like that but much lighter Now we have Jan and his wife and they are just as great I mean I love the fact that they are all so different because they give me the opportunity and they are it s a very different style so I have to adjust to their likes when it comes to their meals and their events and who they re going to be serving And I always my whole motto and I think I ve mentioned it already they know who are the people they are going to be serving I don t I just present them with menus and they pick and choose and we just pick them apart until we zero onto one and I then I move on from there because the actual Director and his wife are younger than previous directors I can take a little bit more risk as of doing certain things being a little bit more forefront more nouvelle more simple not simple dinners but lighter and really interesting and they re more than willing to take risks which is great Five six seven years a year from now who knows who s going to walk in so I need to adjust depending on who s coming in The same goes for the lunches the lunches since it s a broader community I have to consider the old guard and the newcomers And it is a matter of like beginning of semester the beginning of the semester I usually start with something very safe very not threatening to a lot of people so we go with the chicken and a few little salads and something really that it s just I start warming them up into and then by the end of the semester we have the curries and the this and the that I need to judge what they like or not Like yesterday s menu we had all those the tamales call me ten years fifteen years selling tamales to this crew then it was just like Oh no Never But now the population that is coming to Dumbarton Oaks has been exposed okay And in the past we used to get Fellows from the from Russia and from all these countries that have never seen some of the stuff I mean to the point that one day I walked into Safeway and I saw this lady just standing there just in awe just looking around at and I went to her and I think I can t remember her name and I asked her Are you okay Can I help you because I knew she was a Fellow She said No Hector I m fine I m just surprised to see so much in a store So she has never seen the variety and the amount that a store here in the States has compared to what their countries must be So I have to be very careful too I have people who have never seen eggplants before I have people who have never seen pineapple before So I try to I know them because of where a little bit that I read of their background and where they re coming and I try to introduce them to and that s how I use salads a lot of salads too because I can introduce ingredients that they might not know but they could enjoy Jicama is popular here now I mean it s known in the States now because the influx of the Latino community but not necessarily the Europeans so you need to enlighten them that way So I use food as a means of bringing them to other horizons so to speak enlighten them So if that answers your question BT No absolutely I didn t realize there was that whole diplomacy and behind the scenes going on HP I try to I try to please everybody I really do And I really don t want them to feel uptight or unwelcome and I try to put food out there that really comes from their background as much as I can do I m not an expert on anything but I try to bring a little home to them to make them feel Ooh good Finally I can eat whatever is in the plate and it reminds me of home So BT Yeah I guess backtracking a little bit but I had read in a couple other interviews that the kitchen in the Fellows Building was kind of falling apart almost what the situation there was describe that HP When I walked into the kitchen it was really little I mean I was used to huge commercial kitchens and even though in my bistro it was small but it was upgraded We had two ovens none convection everything had to be cooked at five hundred degrees because there was no other degrees it was fast and furious and watch out because it s going to burn And there were nine eyes on the stove but only two worked there was a gridle that I never could get started and after a while it got I got a little concerned that it would blow up so I let it go And we had one refrigerator and one freezer and we have these old vegetable drawers that you have to be very careful opening because you were at risk of chopping off your toes because it would fall on the floor But you know I think that being happy of having a job in such a wonderful place it didn t phase me and I was young and in a ways naïve and we produce as much as we could out of those two eyes and one and a half oven and no griddle so to speak So we could just do whatever we could it was fun Oh one thing I just remembered we

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  • Joanne Pillsbury — Dumbarton Oaks
    to take Dumbarton Oaks on the road And it was really a great idea And we held I think four symposia off site and they were fabulous The Moche symposium in Lima was one of the most thrilling events that we ve had The symposiarchs that year were Jeff Quilter Luís Jaime Castillo and Andrés Álvarez Calderón the Director of the Museo Larco The events were held mostly at the Museo Larco in Lima and at La Católica in Lima And it was great It was lively It was fun It was a bit of the old Dumbarton Oaks in the sense that people were really getting in there they were arguing ferociously about various points The Larco Museum could not have been a better host It looked beautiful They had sort of created a mini Music Room like a new construction there at the Museum And the food was fabulous And it just was it was a perfect gathering And that was followed by a meeting in Mexico The second off site meeting was held in Mexico City and that was organized of course by Bill Fash and Leonardo López Luján and that was wonderful The gathering itself was terrific and Leonardo showed us a great slice of Mexico City Very well chosen speakers with lots of new evidence and new ideas And it was just such a pleasure to have it in the Museo del Templo Mayor which was beautiful They have a beautiful auditorium and during the breaks you could go and see great things It was a terrific gathering and they turned it around into a wonderful volume that I think has been one of our best sellers I mean we keep having to re print it so the volume has been a great success That was a wonderful meeting There was also a terrific meeting in Antigua in Guatemala that was organized yes with Barbara Arroyo and Julia Guernsey and John Clark And again it was a very well chosen topic They gathered together people who were working on a body of material at least in my mind but again I m an Andeanist was somewhat inchoate And they brought together people working on this topic which was sculpture in the late formative and transition period It was very lively meeting held in Antigua and then again they turned the volume around lickety split And it s just a wonderful big beautiful new book and we are thrilled thrilled to publish that So that was a fantastic meeting We also held smaller meetings One in Santiago which was great a workshop organized with Mauricio Uribe and Bill Isbell and that was at the Universidad de Chile and one session was held at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino And that was a lively fun event And that publication is probably going to come out with the Cotsen Institute of Los Angeles and they were a co sponsor as well I should say and very generous and it was fun to do it with them And then a smaller round table in Trujillo in Peru and so forth It was a great string of meetings and I hope we can return to it and do it again at some point I think it had an impact beyond what any of us anticipated in terms of just making people aware of Dumbarton Oaks the programs also recognizing the tremendously international nature of our field now The centers have expanded There are extraordinarily exciting things being done in Mexico City now in Guatemala in Peru I just got back from Peru it s amazing the field projects that are going on now there directed by Santiago Uceda at Huaca de la Luna Luís Jaime Castillo in the Jequetepeque Valley and then Huaca Cao Viejo It s a very exciting time to see these projects and to see also the development of research institutes and universities in places where the programs were good but not large And now it s just exciting to see what s going on see everything that s going on great things going on in Chile as well It s been a lot of fun to see that develop and to see that really blossom in the last twenty years It s quite a change from when I was a graduate student LL I ve heard a lot about international foreign scholars I m sure people were really happy to have them participate when it was off site JP It s interesting when we had the event in Chile a lot of my Chilean colleagues said that they felt overlooked by pre Columbianists elsewhere They felt people got as far south as Peru but didn t go much farther So that had surprised me about the event in Chile It was great for us to be there because there are an extraordinary number of really interesting innovative archeological projects going on in Chile archeological field projects but also academic programs both in Santiago and also in the North what s going on there in San Pedro de Atacama And within the museum context I mean the Museo Chileno is doing thrilling work now in terms of their own meetings and their exhibitions and their publication program but also expanding changing really innovative methodologies theoretical contributions as well There s a terrific young archeologist who was a museum fellow here at Dumbarton Oaks Flora Vilches who s now doing really interesting work in terms of historic archeology in Chile It s great to see the transformation of the field and it s wonderful that Dumbarton Oaks is a part of all this The director of the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino when I met him in Santiago said that Dumbarton Oaks was very influential to how they created that museum as a museum that is not just about exhibition but is deeply involved in research as well and publication And I think it s something Dumbarton Oaks should be very proud of that in a small way it played a part in that museum s history and continues to do so and I hope we can continue to do collaborative projects in the future LL So in 1989 as a Junior Fellow what was everyday life like then JP You know it was different than it is now Dumbarton in fact was a little bit more informal far less security it was a different time far more open in terms of various things I mean the hours were much more expansive I think one significant change is that a lot of people worked very late at the house It was very common for Fellows to go to dinner and come back and work until all hours I think you could stay till midnight or so and they really liked that And the building was nice and it was warm and there were comfortable chairs around It was really a place it was a very pleasant place to be and it was a place that you wanted to hang out It really invited you to take a book off the shelf and find that comfortable chair and read it and discover something that you hadn t anticipated discovering just wandering down the halls Because our little carrels were amidst the library so you were really living among the books It was sort of a humbling experience I would walk down kept passing those shelves of books on North Coast Peruvian archeology and kept thinking I better read that I better read that But it was great it was great living amongst the books in that way And we were Pre Colombian Studies was in the basement and one could only describe the accommodations as deeply unattractive I mean our accommodations now are much nicer we have windows we are above ground private offices We had none of that We were in a shared office an office that flooded from time to time and no windows and it could be noisy there where it had a shared phone But it was still very lively and it was very convivial maybe being sort of on top of each other in the main house there was a lot of exchange Fellows of a specific group but between programs there was a lot of mixing it up We tended not to go to lunch together as a group Ross Hassig who was a Fellow my year he was there at the crack of dawn and he went to lunch early with a group of Byzantinists I think And sometimes I would go early sometimes I would go later Elizabeth Boone tended to go later A lot of the philologists and numismatists and sigillographers went later You really mixed it up a lot more at lunch And it was very cramped here for lunch in the Fellows Building so you sat wherever there was a seat Very few would come as a group and sit together That just wasn t possible And Elizabeth was a wonderful Director of Studies gently guiding the program making it clear that she was available for advice and consultation It was very helpful in that sense If you were interested in a book on a certain theoretical approach she was very helpful about that or if there were people that you should to meet in Washington She had a terrific presence of us not monopolizing our time in any way She was very mindful of the importance of these uninterrupted blocks of time So she was in no way did she over program us but she was she very gently made things available to make sure that it was the most productive year possible for you There was a lot of mixing between programs The Pre Columbian Fellows were older for the most part Socially I tended to hang out more with the Garden and Landscape Junior Fellows Elizabeth Kryder Reid who was a wonderful archeologist In some ways you also mixed it up across programs because of your discipline Having come from an archeological background it was a lot of fun to discuss archeology with Liz Kryder Reid Art history Linda Safran who was a joint appointment with Catholic University an art historian she was wonderfully helpful I m to this day very indebted to her for her recommendations on theoretical readings in art history and so forth She intruded me to Irene Winter s work which ended up being very important for my own dissertation research And the Director of Garden Landscape Studies was a wonderful guy by the name of John Dixon Hunt who was a lively presence to say the least He did something called Sherry and Theory Sherry and Theory I think it was Wednesday mornings at get this eleven a m So things have changed a bit We usually try to wait till the afternoon before we start drinking at Dumbarton Oaks now But it was fun it was great He was really very open to including people from other programs There was a lot of not just stimulating discussion about researches but practical matters too I remember he invited John Davis over John Davis was a Fellow at the National Gallery and he was working on landscape issues in the Holy Land from an art historical perspective And he came over and gave a great presentation And John Dixon Hunt later said That s what you should all be doing you as Junior Fellows You have to learn how to stand on your hind legs and talk about your dissertations in a direct and concise fashion And all of a sudden for us as graduate students we re just sort of wondering around and it was great to sort of have that bit of professional training as well just to see these are the next steps and you are going to be facing these things And again the mix of ages was very important casual off hand comments from people like Ross Hassig I think I was trying to finish a chapter of my dissertation and Ross Hassig was saying you know you ll never have this kind of uninterrupted time again in your life But he was absolutely right I never have It was great to hear at the beginning of my fellowship year and to understand how magical a year that could be and how important it could be So it was a wonderful mix It was a transformative year for me in all sorts of ways LL And you returned to Dumbarton Oaks in 1998 JP Yes for a summer seminar Susan Toby Evans and I organized a summer seminar on the subject of Elite Residential Architecture in Pre Columbian America Something like that I can t remember what the title was And it was something of a run up to the symposium that fall which was on Palaces of the Ancient New World And it was a nice summer seminar it was quite different from the fellowship years First of all much more casual rich time by the pool and there were no formal events which I think was great so you didn t have the research reports every week We gathered weekly at least weekly I think to discuss progress on our various projects And it was nice to have people together who had a common interest In that sense it s different from the academic year when we are all working on very different topics And I think it was a much better symposium because of that summer seminar That book did pretty well It was been re printed and re printed in paperback and it continues to be used a lot It was funny to put that together because you know those Mayanists They jumped at the topic with alacrity you know Yes palaces we can talk about palaces we ve got palaces So the Mayanists were on board in a minute and the Aztecs of course have great evidence The Andeanists those counter hegemonic Andeanists were like oh no we didn t have palaces in the Andes But there were Inka rulers Oh yes yes yes And they did live somewhere Oh yes yes but we would never call them palaces that s far too Western a trope But it s actually pretty interesting to come from that perspective and to a work through what is a palace what does that mean And to what degree is elite residential architecture important in the organization of complex societies and rulership and so forth And it was a delightful project And Craig Morris wonderful guy who died a few years ago Craig Morris was the Dean of Science at the American Museum of Natural History and he was one of the speakers and a distinguished leading Inka specialist And I remember talking to him about this saying you know those Andeanists they re afraid to talk about palaces they don t want to talk about palaces And Craig said something really interesting He said well I ve been thinking about this for a while and you know I think the Inka deserve it And it was such a wonderful sort of rethinking and then after that it was like open the floodgates of studies on elite residential architecture and palaces It was the first of a whole series of gatherings and publications concerning this It really prompted took advantage of and then prompted a lot of subsequent work It was a lively gathering I think it was a very productive meeting That s always nice gathering the Mesoamericanist with the Andeanist too I think one profound difference from the beginning of the program is that when Betty Benson started one could expect to be reasonably able to keep up on current literature in all pre Columbian studies And that is something that in no way shape or form could you do now It s a much bigger field far more publications far more projects far more people It s hard to keep up on North Coast Peru archeology let alone all of Andean archeology not even to mention all pre Columbian studies And one thing I ve seen I think at the beginning of the program there were a lot of topical symposia death and the afterlife in the pre Columbian world or the sea in the pre Columbian world And then we moved into a period when things became a little bit more specific area specific time specific Like the 1889 symposium you know the Maya in the eight century in the lowlands hugely successful but I think it spoke to the burgeoning field and the huge growth of pre Columbian studies that we saw in the late eighties and running through nineties and to the present day But one thing we lost with that is a certain ability to speak across geographic areas and time periods Particularly with the advice of Senior Fellows like Clark Erickson a wonderful Senior Fellow from Penn we stated to go back to the topical symposia Let s bring together and understand how looking at these problems from a hemispheric to a certain degree global perspective can we understand common problems and ways to think about these in new and innovative ways So in the last few years we ve tended more towards topical symposia That said I think some of the more focused gatherings Philip Arnold and Chris Pool organized a fabulous gathering on Classic Veracruz archeology It was a pretty focused topic but it was a wonderful gathering and a wonderful publication that did very well I was an example of taking advantage of new research but also calling attention to an area that sometimes is overlooked by the rest of us and it shouldn t be LL When did you begin your directorship How did that come about JP At the time I had a joint appointment with the University of Maryland and Dumbarton Oaks My official title was the very grand Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre Columbian Art and Archeology in the University of Maryland which was a bit too grand for my position at the time I loved it So I was half time at the University of Maryland taught two classes and half time here at Dumbarton Oaks which of course I adored working on a research project on the early modern sources for the study of the Inka and their friends Huge multi That project was some twelve years in the making So I was working on that while I was here in Dumbarton Oaks Then the opportunity came up to be Director of Studies and I had decided not to apply because I had this great job at the University of Maryland it was a tenure track job And I think conventional wisdom was that I d be crazy to leave that So I decided not to apply And then Richard Burger Richard Burger from Yale called me up and he was on the Senior Fellows I think he was chair of the Senior Fellows Committee called up and he said Rumor has it you are not applying That s right He said Let s talk about it Richard is one of the most persuasive people I ve ever met and by the end of the conversation I think he pretty much had convinced me to do it So I threw my hat into the ring and then got it I think in part my decision to do it had a lot to do with this decade twelve year long research project on Inka sources that Dumbarton Oaks was such a good place to do that kind of long term project that I thought that it was a good place to finish that project up Also there s so many possibilities here at Dumbarton Oaks in terms of how can you shape the field how can you enhance the field And it s also an institution to which I was absolutely devoted I mean my junior fellowship here changed my career and I loved it So I thought there were a lot of possibilities so I agreed to do it And that was I think six years ago LL What are your duties as Director JP As Director of Studies As Director of Studies I d like to think that I oversee sort of four areas the fellowship program for Pre Columbian Fellows the program of scholarly meetings so our symposia roundtables workshops and the like that leads in of course to publications and then research projects So those are the four principal areas that I m concerned with Of course all of those have tremendous help form the rest of the staff at Dumbarton Oaks you know Kathleen Lane has just started as Fellowship Coordinator and then of course Kathy Sparks and Sara Taylor in publications These responsibilities bleed across different departments I certainly try and create as productive an environment as possible for the Fellows during their time here And try and get that perfect mix and making sure that these opportunities are available for them But also try to protect their time Many of our Fellows come from institutions where they have huge teaching loads and they have many meetings faculty meetings that they have to go to And this is a really precious year for them and so I don t want to pile on more meetings if they ve applied to get away from those meetings to finish that book So I m very mindful of that and I tell them straight off the bat that they can use me as the Grinch to tell other people no that no I can t speak to your class at Georgetown that I can t give a talk to your community group I feel it s an important part of my job to protect them but also to make them aware of the opportunities that are available not just at Dumbarton Oaks but in the Washington area I hold a reception at the beginning of the year at my house and invite the people from the Science Foundation the Smithsonian other universities and it s funny how the conversations the casual conversations at a cocktail party in September can have ramifications through the rest of the year and beyond but it does It s very nice And certainly the people in Washington are very excited to meet these Fellows I send out information on who the fellows are And they come often specifically Oh I really want to meet so and so or I really need to meet so and so And many a collaborative project has begun in a very small back garden So I try and make those opportunities available If people want to try out a talk before they go to a conference or if they have a job talk they want to do a mock interview we try and be available for that sort of thing And sometimes interest groups sort of grow spontaneously One year there will be a dissertation completion writing group or there ll be a material culture group So these things spring up and they tend to be different every year And I try not to micromanage those because again I want it to be something that they want to do I don t want them to thing it s an obligation So on a day to day level there s a lot of interaction with the Fellows Then you know publications those wax and wane and when those come on deadline everything else has to drop and focus on those as you have probably heard of with the Maya catalogue this summer We are in the middle of the first pages so that s really taking most of my time right now It s very very exciting to see those projects through My predecessor Jeff Quilter said the great thing about being the Director of Studies is that you don t know what s going to happen when you walk in in the morning absolutely right So I like to thing of these as possible opportunities It s an incredibly stimulating position to be in and an enormous pleasure to be part of this scholarly community and participate in a broader series of projects and activities and just the day to day interactions and the unexpected conversations that you have with scholars from a range of backgrounds with a range of interests terrific discussions with the numismatists in the pool Who knew But anyways it s been an absolute delight LL Do you think your time as Director has changed your opinion or your understanding of Dumbarton Oaks JP I think from the time I was a Junior Fellow wet behind the ears and hadn t experienced a whole heck of a lot I see Dumbarton Oaks quite differently now and probably cherish it all the more Since I was a Junior Fellow I ve been involved with fellowship programs research institutes in England the Sainsbury Research unit where we set up a new fellowship program there after I finished my fellowship here That was my first job But I also was a Fellow at the Met and then running the fellowship program at the Center for Advanced Study at the Gallery and then being involved with the fellowship program at the Getty I have a better sense about Dumbarton Oaks place in the world a bit more and what makes it unique and so important As Director of Studies you re bound to have a different perspective than as a Fellow You re constantly trying to think about what makes a research institute work well and what makes a successful research institute and why is a year here an academic year here different for a scholar than it would be by giving him the 40 000 grant to stay at home and write their book What is it that we do here that could make that book more interesting or more important or reach a broader audience or get us to a new place in terms of research So I think I m more aware of that and also the quirkiness of Dumbarton Oaks I cherish that And I think particularly having spent time at the National Gallery Center for Advanced Study which was a heavenly place and you know the Andean guide project you know that started there that was a project of the Center for Advanced Study And my four years with them are invaluable I mean just extraordinarily wonderful But I think I m reminded of how different a place the Center for Advanced Studies is compared to a place like Dumbarton Oaks And the pre Columbian Americas at many of our major museum and research institutes they re often not a major part of the programming at a place like the National Gallery Now the National Gallery was more than willing to take up a pre Columbianist and let her get away with all sorts of scandalous meetings and research projects so all credit should go to them But I recognize how important Dumbarton Oaks is in terms of developing a research area that was quite small before Dumbarton Oaks came on the scene And in this sense this brings us all the way back to Robert Woods Bliss and what he did his recognition of the importance of an ancient American history for contemporary culture in the United States and elsewhere He was somebody that was very interested in this issue of pan Americanism and a greater culture exchange across the Americas Now he this is something that became particularly important to him in a poignant way in the interwar years he had lived in Paris in the First World War and he had been in Argentina in the twenties and thirties and I think they were terribly worried that European fascism would enter Latin America in that period So I think there was certainly he was a different man and he had certain political interests in fostering cultural exchanges But I think also he also had a sense of what remained to be discovered in terms of an ancient American history and how that history more and more is a common history in the United States and enriches our lives internationally now As a Director of Studies it gives tremendous pleasure to have a small part or sometimes a larger part in fostering the importance in the understanding of the ancient Americas in the academies in the universities but also in the museums and to a certain degree a broader public The broader public is not our direct brief of course We are engaged in advanced researched but it ultimately does have a very important role in that sense LL So how would you characterize what the previous Directors of Studies such Betty Benson Elizabeth Boone JP I m very lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it They were tough acts to follow but I feel lucky to have had such great models to begin with Betty is terrific and still very involved in our programs I think her broad vision and her graciousness was fundamental to the creation of the program So many of the things that we do now go back to what she created in terms of the lecture program the publications the scholarly meetings She was fundamental to laying the foundation for all of that And then under Elizabeth Boone the program grew by leaps and bounds and I think it became a much more much larger much more inclusive program under Elizabeth and very excieting I think she really took on big topics that had an impact beyond pre Columbian studies as well You think about some of the meetings she organized such as it was a little roundtable that became the book Writing Without Words and it s hugely important in comparative literature People pay attention to it much farther away from pre Columbian studies than I think any of us initially anticipated I think a lot of these meetings have had an impact beyond just pre Columbian studies It s been exciting to see that And then of course Jeff was fantastic I think Jeff s incredible enthusiasms for all sorts of things the meetings in Latin America I think the project grants may have developed under Jeff as far as I know That was terribly important It repositioned things for Dumbarton Oaks in a very important way As you probably know Dumbarton Oaks we are a reformed institution when it comes to collecting archeological material So we stopped acquiring objects actively in 1970 and started putting our money into fellowships and meetings and publications and the support of the research of the ancient Americas rather than the ownership of actual objects The idea to have the projects grants go towards helping to protect archeological sites at risk has been wonderful And I think it s gone a long way to changing the perception in the field There was a deeply entrenched vision that Dumbarton Oaks was a museum that acquired objects and therefore acquiring archeological objects contributed to the destruction of archeological sites I think programs such as that the project grants have been very important to try and remedy that perception in the field LL How do you think the field of pre Columbian studies has changed over the years JP It s gotten much bigger I mean that has been great In the early years there was only one fellow Arthur Miller Arthur Miller in one room and then for many years somewhere between three or four fellows When I started I wrote a memo an official memo to the Administrative Committee at Harvard about the importance of increasing the number of Pre Columbian Fellows I felt that was important in recognition of the importance of Latin American studies in the United States now Our Fellows have been doing very well in terms of getting jobs I mean a few years there s been a couple of bad years particularly recently but by and large our Fellows have been in demand so there was a need for Dumbarton Oaks to participate in the broader sort of shaping fostering training these young scholars It also has an impact in the scholarly discussion too Sometimes if you only have three Fellows and one person is working on formative settlement patterns and one person is working on early colonial Mexican manuscripts and somebody else is working on textiles in Argentina it could be hard it s hard to get a critical mass together for conversation And now fortunately our petition has been successful and Jan Ziolkowski our current Director has been a great friend of Pre Columbian Studies And I think that under him the program has just blossomed it s just expanded We now really can have that sort of critical mass for discussion and after our research reports on Monday I started gathering people again the next day after lunch giving them a night to sleep on it And then we d gather again over coffee in the lounge at the refectory and we were able to get a very good conversation going and a rehash of the presentation research the day before because not only do we now have six or seven fellows in fact I think this fall technically on paper we may have eight or nine Two are not in residence We have this new program of Tyler Fellows With the curators in the Museum Miriam Doutriaux Juan Antonio Murro and others it s quite a good group for a lively discussion But the program has also expanded in other ways not just by the number of Fellows For example the interns it s a great program and it s been a wonderful addition to the community And again you are the future of our field and its great to have you here Again that was one of Jan s ideas And to bring young scholars in we re always slightly nervous that we may be turning you off eternally from pre Columbian studies Fortunately I don t think that has happened We have some great interns you Lorena and Alex Mendez this summer And last summer Ari Caramanica who was a fabulous intern I m thrilled she s starting the Ph D program at Harvard in anthropology this year And she s one of the most extraordinary young scholars we ve seen We also now have these short term month long stipends for more senior scholars and they add to the mix in a wonderful way Sometimes museum curators or others can t get away for an academic year but they can come for a month It s great to have them in residence And the other innovation has been the addition of post docs to the community which has been great And it s a nice bridge between in particular between the staff and the fellows because for a while there was a bit of dynamic you know a certain resentment of the Fellows on the part of the staff And so it s been nice to break that down a bit And the post docs have been a terrific addition to the program and it has been a nice bridge and also been terrific for the nice projects we ve embarked on since then It s grown dramatically since I was a Junior Fellow And it s been a pleasure to see LL What would you say is Dumbarton Oaks greatest contribution to pre Columbian studies JP There are many But I think in terms of an overall contribution in terms of fostering this understanding of the ancient Americas both nationally and

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