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  • Donald Pumphrey — Dumbarton Oaks
    took a ladder up busted through her windows and went through her apartment then down the hallway to the apartment that was on fire So that just cemented our relationships with her Laughs I forgot what we did but we did something to make amends I think she got a table broken or something other happened when the fire department was in there so Astor Moore repaired all that stuff for her We took it back up and sent her flowers I forget all the stuff they did It was a great idea whoever had it I guess Angeliki to put all the Fellows in one building like that It made them closer because like I said in that place they were spread out over the entire apartment building ABF What were the other big projects that were undertaken during that time that you were involved in DP Gosh the excavation and renovation of the courtyard gallery and the offices downstairs I was here when the renovation of this building was done but there were two renovations of this building All those big projects like that even the Director s house across the street when that came on usually there was a project manager brought in to run those so I was always peripheral personnel wise of those issues I d be called in to ask about certain questions or needs That was about it I really didn t have a hands on choose a contractor or have to oversee them ABF Did you also get to know some of the scholars who were here often DP Yeah ABF Like Alexander Kazhdan DP Yeah We were not real friendly with the Russians when he first showed up here And I remember all these boxes and boxes of books arriving prior to his arrival Again I was working with Alex at that time pretty closely in the mailroom and we were told to put the books away and I think we took a closet or somewhere in the building Don t talk about it So he kind of arrived here in these mysterious circumstances at the time I remember him and his wife telling us their first impressions of getting here and walking in the Safeway and just being overwhelmed by seeing all these goods for sale I helped him and his wife move into what s now the security cottage up at the corner 3201 they were in And I was up helping them one day I was assembling a bed for them and Mrs Kazhdan says to me that she was impressed that Americans were so good with their hands And then she said Well that s cause we have nothing to put together Laughs I was one of the first people to get to the pool He unfortunately died there It was not a pleasant evening but it was something he always enjoyed He always did laps in the swimming pool ABF Were there any other scholars that stuck in your mind DP Oh I wouldn t know where to begin Some of them I ve known or known of them since 75 they re still coming back here Some I m closer to than others Some that I look forward to seeing sit down and have lunch with or a cup of coffee The current director of Pre Columbian studies Joanne Pillsbury I ve known for years I think I knew her when she was a Junior Fellow here I ve known a lot of people go from Junior Fellows came back as Senior Fellows fifteen years later But Joanne stands out Elizabeth Boone was director over there before I m very good friends with the Fellow I don t know if he s in the field anymore Eric McGeer who was at Harvard for a while and was at McGill in Montreal for a while ABF Did you overlap at all with Betty Benson DP Yes Betty was here when I started She was the Director of Pre Columbian Studies And I learned through the other Fellows that she actually put that together pretty much everything you saw over there at that time just a wonderful person CW Before you came here we ve heard that there were some ghost stories that Mario has in particular Do you know anything about those DP From late 88 till 08 I m manager of buildings I think I ve always had one security officer who would swear that Mrs Bliss was around somewhere Laughs Never got a confirmed sighting that I could confirm put it that way but it seemed like I always had somebody saying Boy strange things happen around here at night I said Yeah I guess so especially when it was just two security officers by themselves in that big house at night I did that before promotions and you re walking around a building that size at night and a piece of machinery kicks on and you almost jump out of your skin because you didn t expect it I never saw anything Laughs ABF What do they say they saw DP They claimed they ve seen her up in the Main House And it s always her I ve never heard anybody say anything about Mr Bliss I m not sure why it works that way And Alex I don t know how many people I ve ever told this story to Alex told me this story that when Mrs Bliss passed away they had a house at 28 th and Q Street And Alex s job this was before I came here and I forgot who else he said he was with they would go down to the house to check on the house And Alex claimed that they walked into the house one day and they went up to the second floor and he heard something He looked around and saw the keys to a closet there And there was a key in the door and keys hanging from it and the keys that were hanging from it were swinging back and forth back and forth He actually had to go over and grab the keys to stop Now that s not on the property here but that s the most descriptive story I ever heard There s someone on the staff right now who thinks they see things They even mentioned it about the library I don t see how can it be the library It s a new building It didn t exist before that But there s always been someone But firsthand knowledge I don t have a story for you CW So your duties didn t change too much if the Director was different DP No They really didn t found out that our facilities department a lot of the jobs I had over the years came about as once you did something it was yours You really didn t quite understand it but once you did something it became part of your job I know what I was thinking about earlier when I was talking about Alex Not only did we do the mailroom at that time we also ran the gift shop That became another component of what we did Sometimes I d spend my time in the afternoons sitting in the gift shop CW Behind the cash register DP Yeah And they had a coatroom They actually had an old desk that they d roll over and put in front of one of the doors They put an old cash register that you had to crank to get the numbers up on it That was the gift shop They had so few items that at the end of the week Alex would sit down and look through the prices And by looking through the prices he d be able to tell you what books sold It was just a blank receipt with numbers on it It didn t give you anything So I was glad in the last few years that I was here that the institution had grown to the size it had that people were starting to look at it like Why is this person doing what they re doing We lost the gift shop some time ago and that was good Mailroom duties got assigned to certain people so we finally acknowledged that that takes a lot of time up and you can t be doing all these different things I thought the institution had reached a point I m drifting a little here but bear with me Dumbarton Oaks almost every year would send me to the national conference on cultural protection that the Smithsonian puts on We brought down Michele Trifiro who was head of Harvard museum security one year and she was to go with me She was going to give an assessment of the security here and attend the conference with me And I remember we were walking around once and her surprise when I received a call that a roofer was here And I said I ve got to go I ve got to go up on whatever roof we were going to And she said What s that got to do with you And I said Well I do roofs too So that was to me the first recognition almost of if you re doing security component you should be doing security component instead of running around and taking care of the mail room part of the time and seeing that the gift shop was staffed and seeing if the Xerox machines are working Now you re going up on a roof I m drifting here but that incident has always stood out in my mind like it was a takeoff point of I ve got somebody who recognizes that security needs more attention than it s getting ABF When was that DP Oh has to be early 90s I d say 90 or 91 somewhere in there I think it was before Angeliki got here ABF So who was responsible for re assigning some of these tasks that before had fallen on your shoulders DP That s taken place recently in the next couple years Happened after Professor Keenan got here and then really took off when Jan got here As I was preparing to leave Mike Steen told me that one of the things he wanted to sit down and do is sit down and figure out who does what and why do they do it And that had been brought up five or six years earlier but really nothing had happened with it ABF And do you think that was because you had just been here so long DP I think so ABF and had just done all these different things that you could just sort of DP I think so I guess that once you did them you kind of had them I don t want to sound pompous or anything but very often when some of our scholars that know me Joanne or any of the people we talked about earlier would introduce me to somebody new who came they would say This is Don Pumphrey He well he does everything They didn t know how to categorize what I was doing ABF Did it ever start to feel like too much so that you wanted to get people hired to unload some of this DP Yeah ABF So who was of particular help to you DP Particular help was the staff that s on now Mario Garcia and Embry Davis Especially when Mr Davis came on I really wanted to try to push him along because he was a retired D C police officer Where he didn t have a museum security background he certainly had a police background to know how to run And the security component was getting bigger and bigger They were hiring more and more and more officers ABF People like Eric you hired DP Eric I think was the first person I hired He actually came on the house staff and then went over to security ABF So you said that you started to as these tasks began to be reassigned in the last several years DP Yeah ABF So what were the circumstances under which that finally really happened DP I think a lot of it started happening when Professor Keenan created a position of Director of Facilities Then the position started to get broken down some But I don t think it really took off until recently ABF Was it something about the way Keenan wanted to organize the institution DP I think so ABF So how was that different from what you had seen before DP I had always reported to the Assistant Director up to that point The Assistant Director s position was kind of all encompassing in that she worked with the Fellows she ran the fellowship program and she kind of was the de facto H R director We didn t have an H R director for years and years ABF Until Maria DP Until Maria came in And again I don t know the details of it but obviously Professor Keenan had a different idea of how the organization should function in that way When Gay announced her retirement instead of an Assistant Director they hired the Facilities Director And then that got broken down a little more in that he had five or six departments reporting to him and then during his time here we re talking about Mike Getter now who was the Facilities Director then two of those departments were taken away and moved into the museum branch Those things started to change four or five years ago CW Were there ever any security incidents when you were here DP No Laughs We had more incidents of visitors being hurt is what comes to my mind of somebody falling or walking into something I don t I can t think of during the time from 88 to 08 any thefts or attempted break ins or anything like that We d have the occasional trespasser that we d have to get off the property and the biggest headache I used to have security wise was that swimming pool People would come in regularly and you d hear people talking about it at parties Oh yeah I know Dumbarton Oaks When I was in college I used to go swimming there in the middle of the night So what I did at that point we still had the contract service in the gardens I told the company we had at that point it was just one guy I don t want you to patrol at night I want you to sit at the swimming pool Cause anybody that s coming over the walls is coming for the swimming pool And you sit there and you just wait for them When they get there take them out We would ask for identification and we d tell them if they came back we were going to call the police on them next time and things like that It took a while but slowly it just faded away I don t know if word got out that there s no sense in doing it because the guy s going to be there waiting for you when you get there but it just slowly died away and I never hear much about it anymore CW We were just talking about the biggest security threats were people coming into the gardens to swim in the pool DP Yeah Everybody would tell me that ABF School kids DP College kids College kids Yeah We had a Georgetown student one night who came up from the bars in Georgetown and was banging on the North Vista door trying to get in He thought he was at his dorm laugher DP And the guard inside was yelling at him to get away from the door and police response was almost nil And it took almost two hours for the police to get there I guess they didn t think it was much of an issue ABF A drunk nineteen year old kid DP Yeah eventually he passed out was sleeping on the steps They were out looking for him and he comes over the wall where the cops were They said Come here We want to talk to you And the guys told me he had damaged a screen and the guy called me at the office about two days later very apologetic very embarrassed obviously and he said I ll do anything you want I said I m just curious I said Where the hell did you think you were He said Sir last thing I remember is leaving Chadwick s in Georgetown And he said I thought I was at the dorm I said Well you took a right when you should have took a left He brought a check that afternoon for whatever amount of money we said it was for the screen I just left him thinking about that I didn t tell him we weren t going to prosecute I had no intention of doing that But I didn t let him know that just let it die So security wise that was the biggest thing that swimming pool I was not a big fan of the swimming pool ABF So no big heists of a famous pre Columbian object DP No As I said from 88 to 08 I was Facilities Manager I don t recall an attempt even anything I thought was an attempt An occasional trespasser Most people just wanted to come in the gardens at night For whatever reason they wanted to come in the gardens at night I always thought we were fortunate kind of out of the way I subscribed to all these

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/donald-pumphrey (2016-02-18)
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  • Nancy Gray Pyne — Dumbarton Oaks
    they run up and down that ladder just skipped down it facing outwards and that s what I couldn t oh it was just horrible to look down I was up in the top TOM Amazing Amazing NGP Ugh Turn around and go down back well go down facing the wall Then you don t know where you ve been JC Where did you stay in Constantinople Do you remember NGP Oh we stayed at not the Pera Palace We stayed at a new American one It would have been the Hilton or something like that JC In Pera though probably NGP The it was not the Pera Palace was an old done over now they are really fancy but at that time they weren t so we stayed what d you say the Hilton No I said the Hilton JC I was just saying there it probably Pera was where the hotels the American hotels were NGP Yeah I mean it was a new one but just beginning It was sort of we felt a little disloyal to not be staying at a Turkish hotel She didn t like that I agree We were there we should be staying at a Turkish hotel JC Interesting NGP But TOM Do you know if she continued to travel after that very much NGP No No saw a lot of her socially again though she came for dinner parties and lunches Lunches I say Just somebody that would interest her And I would go to the house I almost got the name of the Butler It almost came to me TOM I m trying to remember the secretaries because I came across all those names in the archives And the library staff but we have that all JC What was this was the 28 th Street house I NGP Yes JC What was that house like NGP Oh JC And the gardens NGP Lovely The Nitzes live in it now I don t they ve added a great big thing at the back for entertaining a kitchen or something pantry But no it was a lovely house JC It was nice They didn t take any photographs that we know of when they lived at that house TOM That was a Rose Greely garden too NGP But you oh you have no photographs of the house JC No There is one of the exterior but nothing of the gardens or the inter NGP Would it be helpful for you to go in there now Because I could call them I m sure they d be delighted but then you d see their JC Exactly NGP Architecturally it was nice A very nice house JC They sold off someone sold off a part of it right There was a servant s house on the property I read that they split the property after their death and part of it got sold off NGP Could be could be TOM The University of Virginia has all of Rose Greely s drawings JC Oh TOM So you might be able to find NGP Why has the University of Virginia got those things TOM Well I I think because she Rose Greely was the only woman involved with the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg So there s that Virginia connection And they have a school of landscape architecture and they might have gone after them They might have NGP But Rose Greely what was she did she do the TOM She did the 28 th Street house NGP 28 th Street TOM Mmm hmm NGP Oh you see I TOM She did this place She did the NGP Yes she did in 1929 TOM They might have those they might have those drawings NGP Yeah in 1929 she did this through these kinkers lots out here in the back well I ll show you and did it And then when we got the house fifty five years ago or whatever Perry Wheeler just tweaked a few things But the bones are Rose Greely The bones are still there A few things were tweaked and yeah TOM It s amazing She s amaz NGP I didn t know that Now you see too bad that we never really discussed her garden there and this garden here Isn t that weird JC It is hard because I believe her garden was a boxwood garden as well It had NGP Was it JC defined areas of boxwood NGP Yeah JC So there might have been a strong similarity between the two houses NGP I think well maybe I think huh I ll tell Ann Nitze who owns it They live there I think with her it was really pretty much the Byzantine world We never really went into music of which I m somewhat knowledgeable And we never went into gardens particularly She never knew about this garden never asked to see it TOM Really Now that is But you know I m always struck with how little time how much she didn t spend so many years here it seems JC True TOM She was always traveling NGP Well yeah I think it depended on it depended on which now Pre Columbian Never did we discuss that because I knew nothing and that was just being finished that museum TOM And the collection was Mr Bliss s interest really But the building was very much her relationship with Philip Johnson was NGP Yes TOM well documented And he worked very closely with together they went to the nursery to pick out plants NGP Philip Johnson TOM Philip Johnson NGP And Mrs Bliss TOM Yes NGP Went to pick out what TOM Plants for the landscaping around the NGP Around the TOM The museum NGP The yeah That s interesting TOM Isn t that I just that was NGP But you see she wore a lot of hats I mean I mean and big Each well each section enormous But with me it was just the Byzantine world And Greece well the Byzantine world and not not really gardens That s too bad Isn t it amazing Because she would have done this first TOM Yes NGP Rose Greely would have done this garden in 29 way before she did 28 th Street TOM Yes yeah Yeah NGP Because let s see when they sold they left it to Harvard in 1940 They left the big house JC Yes NGP To Harvard in 40 TOM Mmm hmm NGP So she would have started work on this house in 1940 TOM So the Beatrix Farrand years are she picked up after Rose Greely really NGP Who was after Rose Greely TOM Beatrix Farrand NGP Well she was Dumbarton Oaks TOM Yeah NGP Mmm hmm So that would have been before Rose Greely That would have been when they lived TOM But she continued as an advisor to JC She advised Harvard in the first half decade of the forties a little maybe into the late forties And then she she was not NGP Who are we talking about Beatrix Farrand TOM Beatrix Farrand JC She then didn t really feel very well a lot of the time She sort of backed off And Ruth Havey began under Mildred Bliss to do design work for the gardens But then apparently when she moved to 28 th Street NGP Ruth Havey JC A woman named Ruth Havey NGP Ruth Havey Hasey TOM With a V Havey NGP Havey JC She was from Yale She was one of the early women who took a degree in landscape architecture and design NGP Mmm JC I think she considered herself an architect in fact TOM Yeah because you couldn t get landscape architecture at Yale JC Right TOM You did architecture JC Right TOM In fact Ruth Greely s firm was an architecture firm here in Washington first So But it s interesting how she engaged so many important women designers over the course of the history of NGP Yeah Right TOM her home and Dumbarton Oaks NGP Right Right But Beatrix Farrand did the big house did Dumbarton Oaks JC Yes Right NGP And Rose Greely did 28 th Street TOM Actually Rose Greely also worked on the big house too JC No TOM Not at all Not at all JC Not at all TOM Oh okay JC Unless it was very casual advising but it was TOM Yeah JC Basically Ruth Havey working for Mildred Bliss and Patterson and others working for Harvard so there was this odd duality of Harvard employing people to deal with the gardens and Mildred Bliss wanting to make some changes such as the great pebble garden that replaced the tennis court That was NGP Now who did that JC That was Ruth Havey s design NGP Oh really JC Mmm hmm NGP She doesn t get much PR on this JC No We ve been trying to resurrect her not very successfully laughter NGP Yeah that s interesting I had never even heard of her That s interesting JC And she did a number of designs that never got built gardens for the blind that Mrs Bliss was very interested in So it would have a lot of scented plants but also plants that I think you could touch And then there was a plan for a Byzantine garden which I assume was Byzantine era plant material Never TOM Mosaics JC laughter Mosaics NGP How would you track that one TOM I don t know I guess she would use plants from the Mediterranean NGP Yeah you d or you d go to Constantinople and take a look at what was growing there TOM Yeah Yeah NGP Yeah that s interesting TOM I wonder if you ever had any conversation with her about her collecting of rare books and paintings and drawings NGP Only that remark when I went with her to this to this bookstore And I think could I have gone with her in New York I think I did once We were in New York together I think I went there also The same thing happened Mrs Mellon had been there before her That was really a funny funny thing TOM Did she ever mention Mrs Hunt because at the same time Mrs Hunt and Carnegie Mellon was building the same collection NGP Yeah No I know whom you think but she no she didn t mention but I know exactly yeah She was great And then we came back I mean she was fun too She wasn t totally she wasn t totally scholarly and you know she was really fun I think we d been to Baalbek or maybe Sidon and Tyre I ve forgotten one whole day Eugh And those cars were not very comfortable fifty years ago or whatever And we came back to the hotel in Beirut very glamorous I mean Lebanon was the Paris of I mean it was really really glamorous And we got to the table for supper and she said Ah A strong gin and tonic laughter JC When you went to her house here on 28 th Street did was there ever any musical entertainment after dinner or before NGP No Well I mean I wasn t included But it the rooms are not that big JC Right I Interestingly in a lot of correspondence I ve read she politely says that she can t entertain someone who s coming to town because she lives in this very small house So they ll go out to a hotel dining room or something like that NGP Yeah Oh She wouldn t even JC She may have wanted to put them off but NGP I ve almost got that butler s name You ve got to get me that butler s name I mean I have oh damn I think she didn t want to because the dining room is a perfectly pleasant size Not maybe for a huge gathering not like what she once did at Dumbarton Oaks And I went there once for dinner Maybe it was before he died I went there once for dinner in that dining room And did we have real gold service TOM Really NGP Really I can t now you see this is TOM It s all possible NGP Possible Or maybe gold service plates or something was gold JC Well you know they when he was Ambassador in Argentina and Minister in Sweden was the era where it ambassadors had to supply their own furnishings and even often rent their own accommodations So all of their ambassadorial service Baccarat crystal and Sèvres china NGP They had to provide JC They had bought And they decided to take it home with them NGP Yeah well JC So I TOM Do you still have it JC We still have it We actually lent it to the National Trust I didn t lend it Someone a long time ago did And it clearly was marked gift but with the provision that if the Trust couldn t use it it had to come back to Dumbarton Oaks and they recently returned it all from the TOM Isn t that interesting JC We have it But they had an enormous amount of that wasn t gold but it was gold edged and monogrammed and NGP Oh well this could have not somebody said it was real gold She didn t say it was real gold But JC It could have been any you know her mother in California was very extravagant and lived that Victorian early Edwardian lifestyle where gold was better than silver and so she made TOM Especially in California JC Especially in California right So she may have when in 35 when her mother died she may have taken that to Dumbarton Oaks NGP Yeah Maybe yeah Could be TOM Yeah JC And then they records seem to show that little by little she sold a lot of things in order to keep the endowment at Dumbarton Oaks at a higher level NGP Yeah JC Jewelry and probably household objects So who knows NGP She She did talk about other posts She said when they were in Sweden you know at that time I don t think people were ambassadors I think they were ministers JC He was a Minister to Sweden right NGP That ambassador thing has just come in since the Second World War Every country has an ambassador now But in that era they were really mostly ministers except the big countries like France and Ger well probably Germany and London England and but other countries She said in the middle of winter all of the Mediterranean ministers or the staff they all had to go south go back to their own country because they had this affliction you know with no sun TOM Oh really They NGP Yeah TOM Oh NGP That was you know they ve discovered it now since TOM Yes NGP And there are some other articles on it But back then that was really true TOM Yeah NGP They got sick Sick not with seeing the sun JC Right NGP And just overcast dreadful Day after day and the sun going down at three o clock in the afternoon you know And then she was invited to the Shah s coronation I think she I think she was wait a minute One other thing that she d invited me to either the Shah or and I couldn t go It was very upsetting I could not go Or she went to Sweden when somebody was crowned She knew the heads of every country She knew them and was invited by them Yeah And how she knew Prince Philip s mother beats me TOM Well that s she NGP Who was in a nunnery TOM In Athens NGP Yeah TOM Because her first husband was King of Greece NGP Philip s mother No TOM Philip s father NGP Philips father TOM Was heir to the throne of Greece And that s where they lived when it was the revolution And they sent the NGP Really TOM Yes NGP I thought he was a cousin or something TOM No I think he was she was Philip NGP Then what was he doing TOM Philip could have become the King of Greece NGP What TOM Philip could have become he was in line for the throne I m pretty sure And so he was sent because of the troubles he was sent to England under the care of Mountbatten and he was really raised by Mountbatten NGP Mmm hmm TOM His father died quite young NGP Oh I TOM His father died young NGP Yeah Okay Well that I didn t know I thought that he I knew that they were related TOM I only know this because just recently there was a very good documentary on her on Philip s mother NGP Oh really TOM Yes on at NGP Why did she go to a nunnery for heaven s sake TOM She had she created her own nunnery She created her own religion She was you know she spent many years in this mental institution as well NGP Oh Uh huh TOM She had a long and very colorful life NGP When she came out and we went to the GB the Grande Bretagne for lunch and she regaled us with stories about Prince Charles and his siblings It was fun And then she went back to the nunnery I guess She had her habit on TOM And they still have she ran a she created a charitable organization kind of a safe house And it has it s still working today and Philip recently went back with her ashes to have her buried there NGP In Greece TOM In Greece as a monument to

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/nancy-gray-pyne (2016-02-18)
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  • J. Scott Raymond — Dumbarton Oaks
    and so I think our first interaction would be with them over lunch time And then the Director would usually arrange times social times for us to meet with them in the afternoon So we were able to get acquainted with them I think perhaps not spend as much time as I would have liked but certainly we were able to spend time and get to know the Junior Fellows AdC And in addition to these responsibilities that you just mentioned did the Senior Fellows Committee ever discuss larger theoretical issues when it came to pre Columbian studies JSR You mean getting into really academic discussions about pre Columbian issues I guess if that s what you mean the extent to which we might get involved in such discussions would be if we were as we were reviewing different proposals for future conferences We might get involved in discussing themes that we thought might be pursued within the context of conferences or discuss new what we thought might be an idea a marginal idea for a conference and who might be approached to organize such a conference But within the meetings themselves we wouldn t have engaged in discussing say our ideas or evaluations of archaeological or art historical theories that might pertain to the archaeology But outside the meetings at dinner or as we were walking back to where we were living we very likely would engage in such discussions AdC I guess in addition to that I wanted to get at sort of whether or not as a Senior Fellows Committee you discussed Dumbarton Oaks s roll in pre Columbian studies whether or not it could expand its focus geographically into the American Southwest or temporally into the early colonial period and that sort of thing JSR Yes we did discuss that on occasion Certainly I think I can t remember the name of the conference there was one proposal that would have involved the American Southwest and we discussed whether or not we should encourage that and whether or not that might set a precedent that we might regret later Also with respect to South America extending beyond the Andean region which we did and we had one conference on what s called the intermediate area of Chibcha and that took some discussion There were some proposals having to do with Mesoamerica that would have involved colonial a sort of colonial theme The proposal was good and we went back and forth on deciding whether or not we should venture into historical periods or not So yes we did get involved in that and we didn t all agree on how to pursue that There were aspects I can t remember which conference it was right now aspects of a conference where there was going to be some historical theme at least partly part of the conference And I think we managed to convince ourselves that it was justifiably included within the purview of pre Columbian studies AdC So was it your opinion that generally these sort of expansions were good or bad JSR I think they were good yes I m in favor of being more inclusive AdC And you while you were a Senior Fellow Jeffrey Quilter was the Director of Pre Columbian Studies for that whole tenure JSR That s correct AdC And how do you think he impacted the pre Columbian program Could you characterize his directorship JSR Yes I knew Elizabeth Boone briefly My first interaction with Dumbarton Oaks was with Elizabeth Boone and then at the time of the conference and then when I became a Senior Fellow Jeffrey had taken over and I was really quite favorably impressed with both of them in that both of them seemed to me people that took initiative But of course I was working much more closely with Jeffrey He was the person that really I think took a lot of initiative to try to maintain the standards maintain the kinds of excellent programming that Dumbarton Oaks had had to bring in some new ideas And of course he was Director at the time when all the planning was going on for the renovations So he was working a lot with Ned on the aspects of the plans that would affect the Pre Columbian Studies Program And he would come back to the Senior Fellows Committee and discuss these with us and ask for our suggestions and our support Not on some things I don t know if you know that the Fellows in Pre Columbian Studies used to be down in the basement area and some people found that not a very pleasant place to work without any sunshine So he worked quite hard to try to get some space which they now have which is really beautiful space very pleasant work place in the new library So in that regard with respect to the space and with respect to programming I think Jeffrey was a good leader and good director I m certain he worked very well with us in the Senior Fellows Committee AdC And in a similar vein did you have much interaction with the directors of Dumbarton Oaks as a whole while you were on the Senior Fellows Committee JSR With Angeliki not much informal interaction with her She always attended the Senior Fellows meetings She kept more to herself than say Ned Keenan did She mostly attended the meetings and observed and listened and would enter in occasionally in comparison to Ned who had at times a tendency to enter in let s say a little more than he might have But of course he was very much concerned about the new library the renovations of the place and would want to discuss that extensively And also outside of the meetings I saw that Ned took more time to try to interact with us individually AdC And were there any parts of the goals of these directors including

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  • Don Stephen Rice — Dumbarton Oaks
    I was lucky that way in the sense of whom my colleagues were I don t remember anything like that BT Well just to shift directions a little bit but obviously the symposia are very important and as a Senior Fellow you have a say in deciding topics and things like that In particular could you talk a little about the Latin American Horizons which I guess you lead or organized DR Yeah well that was a conference Gordon Willey published a great deal on the great horizons and talk about civilization and I think the Latin American Horizons volume was a topic that he probably proposed with the benefit of hindsight Quite frankly it was a session that he should have chaired but he didn t He suggested I do it This was at a time when Gordon was also working in or a participant in various symposia at the School of American Research in Santa Fe and there was a Maya Settlement Pattern volume which he should have chaired as well but he picked a young scholar Wendy Ashmore to take the lead on that to her benefit and I think to the benefit of the volume because then he could just do his great synthesis discussion And I wish he had been part of that Latin American Horizons group if not having led it I wish he would have been willing to participate but he wasn t He said You take it So it was relatively easy to organize I mean there were questions about are there really horizons in some places like the Maya area and who should represent these various areas and most of the people who were selected were already known to me certainly known to the panel members I went outside the group of people who kind of were familiar with Dumbarton Oaks in the sense that I picked a different person to do the Inca than John Rowe and I picked a different person to do the middle horizon than a couple people who had been Fellows at Dumbarton Oaks Benefit of hindsight again that probably wasn t the best idea not because they didn t do a very good job but I caught some flak from John Rowe and from William Isbell for not including them But you know that s the way life is It was I thought a good session not everybody did but I don t think I brought a great deal personally to it that was insightful or new Gordon who had been thinking about these kinds of things for a long long time relative to a relatively new scholar would have done much more with it and I m sorry for that BT As the organizer of the symposium you were in charge of gathering it together for publication Could you talk a little bit about that process Because the symposium was I believe 1986 and the volume wasn t published until the early 90s DR Right Before I answer that let me say something again about the conferences at least the time I was on the panel It was six years I don t know if it s still the case but the panel would select an individual to be the chair of the conference and it wasn t necessarily somebody on the panel I happened to be on the panel for the Horizons one but we talk about kinds of topics that might be fruitful and might be engaging and then we say Well who can do this well In other words we weren t taking applications from people to do the conferences That may have changed but conferences done during the time I was on the panel we usually picked the individual and then gave them their lead to pick the individuals they wished to have and also to take the lead in publication of the volume which gets me back to your question The conference was done in 86 and I during that period was in a transition between the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia I moved to Virginia I actually was working with Virginia knew more about Virginia or was participating in some of their activities before I actually moved there But that move was disruptive to me personally and it was also a time when I was moving from largely work in the Maya area to work in the Andes trying to get a grasp of a three year field project that I had had with under Moseley s auspices a project that I had with Geoffrey Conrad and we had NSF funding So I had a lot on my plate and I m going to admit that I m not a great manager of time at least then it was hard for me to do three or four things at once and so there was a delay on the volume one because the papers were slow coming in most of the people who were in the conference had projects of their own and other things they were doing And I wanted them to keep in mind when they did their presentation then and when they did their papers the theme of the topic the theme of the conference which was horizons and what they meant and what do we imply when we talk about horizonal features And so the papers took time and then I was very slow to edit them In fact to be honest I owe a great debt of gratitude to Elizabeth Boone because she did keep me on track That s the only way I can put it So yes the delay was due to multiple factors but part of it was my fault BT Mhm Yeah that s sorry if that came out like asking for reasons for the delay I was mostly just interested in the process of publication DR Oh no no no It s something I ve thought about and that s because I was going to have a phone call with you I m retired and the last twenty years of my career I was an administrator I wasn t really I hadn t been in the field very much although my wife and I continue to publish together You know it s one of these situations when you look back at things you realize God I could have done that so much better now that I know what I know I could have in the case of the Horizons volume I could have managed that much better now that I know that I had to manage things that are even bigger with greater implications for faculty and staff But you know the process itself was relatively easy when you selected people to be participants in the conference you selected people who not only knew what they were talking about and had thought about these topics but also people who have a track record And so it was rare for a conference to have somebody who was a totally you know off the wall or an unknown individual in terms of are they going to produce are they going to give us the papers But after the conference was over I communicated with the participants and made sure that they knew what we wanted in terms of the chapters and how long the papers should be approximately and how many illustrations and yadda yadda yadda and I think Elizabeth was the guiding force in that for me but I contributed my two cents as the editor and I was the one who communicated with the participants And then as papers came in I read them Elizabeth read them Elizabeth really I think probably singlehandedly copyedited the whole volume because when I read I read for substance and other kinds of things So you know we probably should have coedited it but anyway that s how it went BT Talking about Elizabeth Boone who I guess would have been Director of Studies the entire time you were there could you talk about her as an individual as a person the way she managed Pre Columbian Studies Because I saw from your letters there s a lot of friendly correspondence DR Elizabeth was the only permanent director that I interacted with There was a year I think she took a sabbatical and Janet Berlo was in for a while and Janet was also very nice I liked Janet a great deal Elizabeth and I became friends and I enjoyed her company and she certainly was not a heavy handed manager of the Pre Columbian Studies program She I think had cordial relationships with I can t think of any instances where they weren t with everybody who was there at Dumbarton Oaks and with people on the panel She was a very gracious hostess when we had the conferences and the dinners and so on and she was a good scholar she is a good scholar I shouldn t speak in the past tense because I m sure she hasn t retired yet although she probably deserves it And she knew because she was interacting with people from all kinds of fields and interacting with people from all kinds of culture areas she had an ability to and has an ability to ask important questions of data and purpose and style the kind of maturity that came with having experiences in lots of different cultures and lots of different formats and so I can only say good things about Elizabeth Again other than the conference and being on the panels we didn t work together But she was very very good I m sitting here trying to think of who the Associate Director was the Assistant Director and I don t know I guess it was was it Gordon McEwan BT Gosh it s not coming to me DR I don t know whether I m thinking of the last name of your current Director I don t think it was Jeff Quilter because I think Jeff Quilter followed Elizabeth But anyway she had a good relationship with that person I think it was Gordon McEwan but the staff was kind of uniformly supportive made it easy BT Going back to symposia obviously we talked about the Latin American Horizons Were there other big symposia you knew about at the time or ones you thought were particularly successful DR Well part of the problem is I don t remember all the symposia I have absolutely no paperwork from the days I was at Dumbarton Oaks I think we did the Aztec Templo Mayor then That one went very well whether we did it during my panel experience I thought that was really pretty good also Michael Moseley chaired one and I don t remember if it happened I think it happened during my panel period and it was on the Chimor in South America that was really focused and good But Mike is very good at that I think we tried to do one I m trying to remember I m remembering conversations and not necessarily the actual conference I think we tried to do one at one point that bridged North and South America that oh it had a title like something in the intermediate area Wealth and Hierarchy in the Intermediate Area that I thought was important I thought to the degree there were the Mesoamericanists versus the South Americanists I think that bridged an important gap But other than that there was a conference I participated in but I think it may have been after I actually stepped down and that was the one on the Mayan civilizations that Jerry Sabloff and I think John Henderson edited and I have a paper and did a chapter for that one But that probably postdates my period on the panel BT That s interesting the conference that tried to bridge North and South America and I m wondering if maybe you could do a characterization of pre Columbian studies as a whole at the time If there were any particular movements towards bringing disparate areas together or DR That s an interesting question And I m wondering who on the panel maybe I m not remembering totally correctly but I said that we used to pick people to organize the conference there weren t necessarily applications I can t remember who on the panel actually made the suggestion Well why don t we try to do something that bridges the areas and whether the genesis was ongoing conversation from one panel meeting to the next or whether somebody had actually talked to somebody who said This would be a great conference and I d like to do it But I think Fred Lange was the editor I can t remember though And with respect to Dumbarton Oaks I other than the ongoing recognition that we were on the panel as largely Mesoamericanists and South Americanists I don t remember there being a sense of a pressing need to do this but we thought it was something that would be productive and at that time we knew very little about the area The people who were working there were largely Lange and Payson Sheets and one or two of John Hoopes one of Gordon s students There wasn t a great deal of work there but there was enough work to really make the conference seem well to not worry about whether or not it was going to be full or not whether there was enough to talk about And in a sense Dumbarton Oaks helped the field because I think that brought a lot of people together who hadn t been talking and that was a good thing I think that was an important conference to me maybe it s because I ended up working both in Mesoamerica and South America I often wondered about what was going on in between if that makes sense And also let me say this I can t remember when that conference was actually formed or organized and exactly when it was held it s probably after Gordon rotated off the panel but I can remember one conversation in particular during a panel meeting with Gordon talking about the area that spans Mesoamerica and South America and it was actually a conversation when we were talking about horizons what happens between these great civilizations so that may have been the seed that was carried from one panel meeting to the next after Gordon stepped down But he was right you know BT Dumbarton Oaks as a center of pre Columbian studies at the time what do you consider were some of the biggest contributions it was able to make in that time period to that field of study DR To what the study of pre Columbian Well I mean what s your field I m going to ask that BT My field DR What area do you work in BT I m actually an undergraduate in English right now DR Really laughing Interesting Well let me characterize Dumbarton Oaks this way and it was certainly the way it was before I became a member of the panel and during and to the degree I paid attention to what Dumbarton Oaks does to the degree I paid attention to what Dumbarton Oaks did after I stepped down Dumbarton Oaks is a really prestigious place and I assume you know that It s a place where well ever since the conference was held there in 1944 you know about that what was going on between nations it s been an important place for important and interesting things to happen and quite prestigious For me to be asked to be on the panel was not something I pushed to do but it made a lot of difference in my career and I think it made a lot of difference in the careers of people who are or were participants in the conferences I can recall most recently as a few years before I retired I was still telling people that when you look at a review when you re doing a review of somebody as in tenure promotion reviews which I would see sixty or seventy of these things a year but you look for prestigious marks prestigious in the sense that something this person has done shows that they have very very positive peer review and their colleagues not necessarily colleagues in the same institution but their academic colleagues think they have important things to say and that they re doing really interesting work And having a Dumbarton Oaks fellowship whether a Junior Fellowship or being a participant in the conferences or being on the Senior Panel that s prestigious and for folks who happen to be a Middle American archaeologist or South American archaeologist and you re going through the vita and you look and say all of a sudden Well you know they ve been a Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks or They participated in this and that other conference at Dumbarton Oaks that s a tremendous positive peer review And I can only assume I haven t been working in Middle America physically for a long time although I continue to synthesize data with my wife and publish with her as I said and I don t travel very much anymore so I haven t been to Dumbarton Oaks in quite awhile haven t been invited back but I haven t been there either for conferences or the like But Dumbarton Oaks still stands as a marker for someone who has made has gotten peer review and is part of a cohort that is interacting part of whether it s an invisible college or whatever you want to call it Dumbarton Oaks signifies that to me anyway that you have something to

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  • Betsy Rosasco — Dumbarton Oaks
    it was harpsichords and old music and I wondered if that was what the Blisses liked and that was why At any rate in those days when I was driving in my car I had a little tape recorder and I listened to a lot of Mahler I remember telling Jim Trilling when our generation is in charge there ll be Mahler But now of course you look at the concert listings at Avery Fischer Hall and at Carnegie Hall and it seems to be Mahler all the time and it s getting to be a little old It s funny how these things are cyclical I didn t go to the pre Columbian symposium That was a stupid thing on my part I think it was in the fall and I hadn t figured out yet that it was going to be fascinating and that I should have gone and I should have met all those people and found out who the big figures were Michael Coe did come down to visit at one point Al Kolata was his student so we all went out to a disco and I thought this is amazing my thesis advisor I don t think even knows what discos are I didn t go to their symposium and I missed hearing good people I m sure I did go to the Byzantine symposium and Hans Belting gave a really brilliant talk about the epitaphios and of course here I work in a museum now that has an epitaphios so I knew exactly what it was and the speculation about how it was used It was also great because Robert Taft the Jesuit scholar was there just really luminaries It was really fantastic to have the privilege of going to that just because I was in residence here Then the garden symposium was about ancient gardens that was very interesting Wilhelmina Jashemski from the University of Maryland talked about the gardens at Pompeii and Greg Cunliffe from England talked about the archaeology of the gardens there It was really a different kind of approach to gardens than what I was doing where they re historical and you have texts and a few maps Just seeing garden studies as a field was so interesting to see all the ramifications Then when I went to Princeton David Coffin was one of the people that had been involved with the garden program from the beginning I think as a board member so he was teaching garden history You could sort of see how it s grown from something that concerned Renaissance scholars into a whole enormous field and preservation and reconstruction and all the different aspects I m trying to think what I haven t covered Are there any questions you have AS If we went back to the very beginning I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how you found Dumbarton Oaks and if it had a reputation at N Y U where you were at the time BR Well this is an interesting question I knew about Dumbarton Oaks originally because when Irving Lavin was teaching a course that I didn t take but a friend took about Italian Renaissance villas he brought his class here So they all knew there was this program and it sounded fabulous but somehow I hadn t thought of my own subject in those terms because I was working on sculpture But I had my two years in Europe and I had my catalog of the sculptures and I had to somehow figure out what this garden was all about what they were doing why they had all these marble sculptures and then a few bronze and lead sculptures So I hadn t come to grips with that I had the year at the National Gallery and I wasn t finished with my thesis yet I was still worried about this first chapter how to set the scene in the garden So Doug Lewis who was in charge of the Fellows at the National Gallery said well you ll just have to go to Dumbarton Oaks I thought I don t think after three years of working on my thesis they would take me Because I had really strung it out although I did have some health problems on the way that held me up and took a year out So I applied and lo and behold I was able to come and it was just great George Gorse and David Schuyler had been the only two Fellows the previous year and I think that they had been a more tightly knit group with Betty She had the two young men and I think there was a lot more interaction then Then George was renewed and David was renewed and I came new and Mirka Benes came new and so then it got a little bigger I think maybe because they didn t know us as well things changed a little bit and we didn t sit around and talk as much about our work we were doing our work and talking informally but not in any formal sense We did have to give papers though each person had to give a talk and I remember David Castriota was discussing ornament there were several people working on ornament he and Jim Trilling and at one point in his talk he said well there was this Syrian example and then it turns up in Ireland and so William Loerke who was very precise said I want to know the name of the ship and the name of the captain and the date it sailed You could really see that there were these different factions in Byzantine studies the Richard Brilliant student who was a little more free flowing and then the Loerke trying to pin everything down But for the most part the Byzantine scholars got along You think of that being a field where there are probably a lot of rivalries because Byzantine history is so fraught with nationalistic questions and all but everybody got along It was just wonderful it was part of what made the year so great Besides the talks we would get together on Friday afternoon for sherry at the end of the week That s when we saw the staff members most especially those of us in the garden section because we were a little physically removed from the staff members in the Byzantine area So that too made us sort of like a family and a community They just gave us everything Oh and the food my gosh that was delicious It was hard not to gain weight When swimming season came the signs of it were a little too obvious EG So you ate lunch here in the Fellows Building at that time BR Yes I think it was right here Not that far over there was a house where a family lived that was where the Kazhdans lived They came about halfway through the year from Russia Mr Kazhdan s son had come to teach mathematics at Harvard and he and his wife were able to immigrate I didn t really get to know them well now I use his dictionary of Byzantine art all the time and I think of him but at the time I didn t know him They had just fallen out of the blue in America and they seemed a little stunned it was so different from the old Soviet Union I would run into them at the grocery store in the vegetable section and they would come over and point at something and say what is that And you d tell them the name and they d say how do you cook it all these new things artichokes and asparagus I think they turned out to be an incredible resource for the Byzantinists I ve heard since how much everyone learned from them that had been preserved in Russia the third Rome I think that was very stimulating for the Byzantinists to be able to work with them JNSL How did the presence of the gardens here themselves help to stimulate your own work just having that environment there and the friendships that were forged BR I didn t go in the gardens in the afternoon I tried to go in the morning take a little mid morning break and walk around It was just so beautiful and to see the seasons the whole year of it I liked to see how the gardeners were working because one of the things in my thesis work was payments to the gardeners just what has to be done to the soil what is all this planting when they would change the plantings with the seasons and pull out one and put in another I also was very interested that Beatrix Farrand designed some of the gardens here and she worked at Princeton also so to see that you can keep up these plantings that are historical and that reflect a different era s idea of what went best in different seasons I ve been to some of the garden talks about Loudon and some of the British gardeners who are importing all sorts of new and exotic plants and I ve visited the Borromean Islands where there is also a kind of garden with exotic plants that were imported in the Baroque era and I think it s so rare and precious that you have just in a few places a historic garden I think it s a sort of duty to keep them up because the garden I worked on is no longer extant You try to imagine it and you can t reconstruct it from the evidence that we have it s just too sparse You just have these payments to the gardeners and lists of different kinds of flowers that you know were there but you have no idea what the plantings were like It s a real privilege to be able to live in close contact with a great garden EG Speaking of the resources here at Dumbarton Oaks I m assuming you also made use of the library pretty extensively during your year BR I think what my task was was partly to see what the Italian influence had been on this French garden it was really Louis XIV s villa Any book or article you wanted to consult about Italian villas was here all in one place you didn t have to take them out and form your own little carrel they were just there at your fingertips already so that was a great luxury to be able to have that and then also to be able to talk to Mirka and to Betty MacDougall about the Italian gardens and what might have been the influences I didn t really work on the floral part at all I was really mostly concerned with the iconography but I think there are distinct borrowings that I tried to document and I think that my big challenge going into this dissertation was I was dealing with a generation of sculptors that were the first French ones to go to the French Academy in Rome and to have direct sustained contact with the Italian sculptures and the ancient sculptures and that was supposed to be their education to emulate the great works of antiquity they were only allowed to copy they weren t allowed to do their own works and so I think there was something similar with the gardens that garden architects finally were actually going to Italy and looking for things that they could adapt So picking your way among the ancient models and the Baroque and Renaissance models and what was properly French and what they were taking and what they were rejecting that was a delicate business It was a really good thing to be here in a place where Betty had brought together this wonderful library because that was her field after all the Italian Renaissance gardens and Mirka was there talking about the Baroque gardens so it was a wealth of knowledge and ability to tap into other people s work AS You mentioned earlier that you came from the National Gallery to Dumbarton Oaks and I wonder if from that experience you had any perspective on the relationship between the two organizations or Dumbarton Oaks s relationship to other D C institutions like the Library of Congress or the galleries BR Well my year at the National Gallery ended just as they were opening CASVA I went to the dedication and got a bad sunburn I could really see that they were probably trying to model it partly on the Dumbarton Oaks program probably this and the Institute for Advanced Study and I think they were probably trying to compete for getting foreign scholars to come to the National Gallery but for certain subjects this is just the place there are no two ways about it When I was at the National Gallery I had a stack pass and I would go into the Library of Congress and plant myself on the floor in the section that interested me and just pull books off the shelf because I thought this is one way of learning more bibliography But here you don t have to do that it s all here Basically the only time I went to the Library of Congress was once Tony Cutler came down from the University of Pennsylvania and out at the pool he thought we should all play the match game so we set up the matches in rows and a triangle and take them away and the one who leaves the last match loses At any rate I remembered when the movie came out when I was about in high school I think it was either Time or Newsweek had printed the answer of how you win So I went over to the Library of Congress found the date the movie came out looked up the little diagram I photocopied it and came back so it sort of spoiled his fun I m afraid At any rate I didn t have to go over to the Library of Congress because the books were here it was wonderful We were invited to a couple of openings at the National Gallery and we went as a group I thought this is just so nice to have all these friends that I know well and I was thinking about how the previous year had been a kind of isolated experience I didn t go to the Gallery very much because basically I would go to see a show but it was so rich here and of course I d been there the year before so I d learned the collection pretty well We just had such a nice atmosphere I keep coming back to that So we went over and ate their very lavish h ors d oeuvres but we all stayed together And I kept wanting to invite people to lunch that I knew in New York because I thought they wouldn t believe what a wonderful place this is they should see it for themselves My sister came I think she was the only one Most of my friends from the Institute didn t come I think before I moved to Washington I had been a little wary of it because it s a kind of company town everybody works for the government and being a graduate student just seems like you re in such a minority I know there are a lot of universities here but my year at the National Gallery I felt as though I was the only person in the world writing a thesis Here everybody was deeply involved in their theses Nowadays I notice that there are programs where people sit around and talk about their writing problems discuss how am I going to structure this and how am I going to bring in that aspect what s the best time in the thesis to make this digression I don t know if that that would have helped me I don t think it would have frankly I think it was just good the way it was EG You mentioned you attended some of the symposia in the years since you were a Fellow here Were there any that really stood out in your mind as being important or meaningful in the field BR I attended one that was Betty MacDougall s anniversary I forget exactly which anniversary it was but AS We ve heard good things about that one BR It was former Fellows That was really interesting to see what everyone was doing and have the different subjects We were a real range of papers Then when John Dixon Hunt was here there was one where he talked about John Evelyn on gardens That was a real breakthrough I thought It really made me understand why David Coffin could integrate a course on garden history into the traditional Princeton curriculum because it s all based on ancient theory and ancient writing and fits perfectly with the study of the classics There was one where who was the German head of Dumbarton Oaks AS Joachim BR He gave a talk about these Nazi gardens it was a little frightening It was sort of the Saxon grove and it was supposed to be reconstructing the Germanic tribes gardens It was a little chilling The really memorable one I think in my field was one about Baroque gardens I had this surprise that I saw the list of talks and Michel Conan was talking about something like fantasy in the garden and I thought oh this is what I ve been working on seventeenth century gardens and then I got there and it turned out he

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  • Calogero M. Santoro — Dumbarton Oaks
    too she s Daniela Valenzuela She started to eat early at night which is a good practice that you have in this country In our country we tend to go very late with our dinners But here is a good practice to have dinner early at night so you have sort of the rest of a late night that you can do other things You can go out for walking or you can do readings or whatever You have sort of an extra part of the day you know for other things besides eating like we normally do in our country you know So we got this routine and it worked perfect for us And during the weekends I rarely went to the library I preferred to enjoy the possibilities that this city offers I think this is one of the few cities in this country that offers so many free things you know The museums a lot of spectacles musical and then you have all these seasonal activities related with all the changes in the environment because we have the fall then we have winter then we have the spring And all these seasons come with different landscapes that you can enjoy just walking outside or by going to some activities that are outside too So we combine both this very intellectual activity in the library and the outside world offered by Washington LL Did Dumbarton Oaks host any events during your fellowship that you attended CS Well a lot of them First we have this Pre Columbian symposium then there was a roundtable about the Maya and besides that other activities symposium or workshop related with the other programs The Music Room was offering these concerts that we had the opportunity to attend the concert if there were empty spaces And in our case one or two times we didn t have the opportunity to go but most of the time that we put our names we got a free space for concerts They were superb concerts all of them were superb very fine and the Music Room also itself is just a monument It s incredible and all That was another value added to this Dumbarton Oaks opportunity And besides there was this Pre Columbian Archeological Society of Washington that they I think that s the name so they also have lectures and they invite some of the Pre Columbian scholars to give a lecture there I give a lecture there too and I give a lecture in the Chilean Embassy too So I tried to follow Joanne Pillsbury s suggestion see Don t fill your agenda with a lot of activities because that will ruin your time you know at the library And I think we managed to do that you know I can say that I didn t attend much activities so if I look at the eight months or nine months that we were here most of the time was at the library activities LL And prior to your fellowship did you ever attend any of the symposia CS No no I knew about them because I read some of the results And actually this I would like to be in one of the symposia because normally you know in our field it is hard to find to attend symposium or workshops that are just concentrated in one particular topic And everyone talk about the same major topic but from different perspectives and I think that produces a tremendous earthquake in your mind You have the opportunity to see different trajectories in research different ways of concluding or making explanations for the same phenomena or things like that So I think it s a good thing that Dumbarton Oaks organizes these symposiums I know these mega congresses that tend to be probably they are more visible in the world system but in terms of impact academic or intellectual impact I think the symposia it has a better the products are better And also normally the symposia are producing a book or something It s a double effect LL Going back to social life during your fellowship were you able to interact with the Byzantinists or the Garden and Landscape Fellows CS Yeah you know that at two levels La Quercia created a good environment for communication and for interaction so there we have interaction mostly by having dinner together by having some wine You know we organized this dinner so everybody brought their own ethnic food We did that several times We did also a lot of activities outside We went with other Fellows to eat outside But also intellectually what we did is a reading group and it was related with the people that were doing their Ph D So I decided to be in that group despite the fact that I was not writing a dissertation I want to know how people young people in this country or from outside of the country they are doing their dissertations how they are managing all the problems Because I belong to I am a faculty member of a Ph D program in Chile So looking and hearing their experience I think it was another way to understand the process of being a student in a Ph D program So and in that reading group there were people from Landscape Byzantine and form Pre Columbian And we were very strict I think we get together every two or three weeks everybody has to read the chapters We were very not nasty but we were very strict very sharp in our comments Because that was the point just to make the other person see Well this chapter it doesn t make sense There are sections that should not be in this section because this section is related with this and this and this topics according to your definition at the beginning you know So most people I think were pretty happy they thought that this time that we spend once in a while was worth it LL Sounds like it was CS Yeah LL OK And would people interact during lunches CS Yeah We interacted a lot during lunches But at lunchtime we see always that each program was eating by themselves There were a few people that were moving around What I got from those days that the Pre Columbian table was always the most noisy people most of the time were laughing and making jokes and so on and so on While on the other side the Byzantine you look at people and you would say You talk so calm we got the impression from outside that you are praying or something like that They were having a good time too you know but when we said that you could see the different personalities behind these programs you see Which is incredible how topics in some way or another makes your personality or your personally is so attached with your topic that there is sort of a dynamic relationship between what you do and the way that you behave So the Pre Columbian was sort of the happy table you know the noisy table but the hardworking table too LL What were your impressions of the institution how it s organized CS Just for this trip you know I was I get a letter from Emily Gulick and she said and Lee the guy that is in charge of your check LL Jonathan Lee CS Jonathan Lee Please send me some papers my passport blah blah blah blah blah Send this in advance your check will be here we will start to deposit your check And all that goes so smoothly I send it and I don t have to be concerned about that the paperwork will be working and that I am here I would not get an excuse Sorry but something was in between that your check is not ready When any institution is working with that fine tuning in the organization I think it s a great institution You come from there everything on top it s a breather It has a good breathing Everything goes well you know But when all these little things at the base doesn t work and you see that each part of the organization are not connecting each other so normally you have an organization that is loosing time the workers they don t feel that they are doing well you know because there is no good connection between them and that affects also the people that are receiving your service I think this is a good example you know So I was telling my secretary there this is the difference between our university and this institution you see Here I send the paper and the check will be there They said the check will be there in fifteen days and the check will be there and it was here you know when I arrived There well it s different They are different kinds of institutions But I think in that way you don t have to be concerned about that you have to be concerned about the reason why you come here You came here to study not to be concerned about your paperwork you know about that That I think I would say it s an example of the how this organization operates It might be possible that like many organizations around the world that it has some problems because it s a human organization But from the outside you don t notice LL And what would you say is D O s greatest contribution to Pre Columbian Studies CS Well I would say that in this moment there is no other institution that is doing I would say in the United States and probably I m right when I say in the United States and in the whole Latin American and in Europe So I would say that this is the only one big institution prestigious institution in the world that is creating a tremendous network because you have scholars coming in with different levels you know people just getting started in their career postdoctoral people at the end of their career All these levels are coming together to sit together working together But then you have the books then you have the symposium then you have the library you see You receive a lot of books from Dumbarton Oaks buys and receives books from these three different programs in particular from the Pre Columbian program so you are certain that here you will find one of the best collections for Pre Columbian Studies too So if you have all these parts I think this is a tremendous institution And we have to be glad that this institution is still alive and in good shape beside all the problems that is in the outside world you know with the economy falling down not only in this country but in the outside world So we have to thank I don t know who but again glad to be part of this LL Dumbarton Oaks and the Pre Columbian Studies program focuses a lot on sort of Mesoamerican studies and Andean Studies and I believe that you are doing Chilean archeology So how do you think that sort of D O or what do you think D O can do to bring those sort of lesser known fields such as Chilean archeology to D O CS I talked about this topic with the Director with Joanne too And I said what you should do what you could do is that instead of bringing people over for certain events move outside of Washington move them all to different countries And it doesn t have to be something that D O has to fund 100 percent So in that way you create alliances you know with countries and being in Washington here are all the embassies all the countries in Latin America you know So it s around the corner all the connections are around the corner And I m pretty sure that the ambassador and the cultural attaché would be happy to organize activities were Dumbarton Oaks would be involved with their particular country I would look in the CVs of the embassy here and it would be great for our country but it would be great also for Dumbarton Oaks because it would move their network too physically to the rest of the continent We talked about this I think it s difficult because all institutions have their own procedures It s one way to move the organization Again it s a suggestion and it s my impression because it s another way of sort of to promote this institution because in our country people tend to be afraid to apply to these great institutions because you say Well will they consider my application What about if they say no to me But if you are there if Joanne is there and explaining what is going on I think you would also it will give Dumbarton Oaks and it would be the people over there to get Fellows that probably the best Fellows good Fellows but they don t make the connection you know And probably being there physically that would create a different scenario for people that have been thinking that never have thought of the possibility of come over and so on LL It would be great to have more Latin American scholars here It would be wonderful And you are here now as a reader What do you think the difference is between a fellowship year and your time as a reader CS Well people have been asking me about the privileges if I feel sort of down if I have You know for me the most important thing is to get access to the library and I have said all institutions have regulations security And so if you are invited to an institution and you accept that invitation you have to follow the rules of that institution I learned that from my mother My mother was a very strict and firm woman I learned that every time I went to her house I have to follow her rules all the problems disappear because I sit here you sit there because your legs if you start looking at all the you loose why you want to be here I want to be here because I want to use the library And the library there is not question that I can use the library I haven t lost my privilege to use the library It is not a big big difference The privileges that you have as a Fellow I don t think they are qualitatively different from being a reader There are little things you know For instance the other day I couldn t apply to have a document scanned through the library because But there are ways to go around with that It s not a big deal as you say here No I don t see any important difference besides One difference is to be living here near in La Quercia this is not an intellectual or academic difference it s sort of a domestic difference I think Washington D C as many capitals in the world you know it s hard to find a place in Buenos Aires it s the same in Paris it s the same in Santiago de Chile is the same It s not the problem of Washington it s just being in the capital and this is the capital of the world the capital of most important country in the world You have to expect that to find a place to live In my case I have to thank Reiko and Carlos for having me in their place you know LL What s the next question Sorry How do you think that the field of Pre Columbian studies has changed over the years and maybe how has D O been involved in that it has played a major role CS This is my impression but maybe I m wrong I think that the world of archeology and anthropology have been going through a change throughout getting more and more science involved in the discussion in analyzing data or producing new data I was reading for instance in a it was here in this museum in Washington in the American no the National the American History Museum the one in the Mall They have this spot from the Pueblo Indians and by doing this chemical analysis they realized that spot contained chocolate in the past And those spots have been sitting in those collections probably for hundreds of years I don t know how many But I don t see that kind of thing happening in D O I would say that s a big difference But again science it doesn t mean that you have to follow all of the possibilities that s the good thing with science that one line of activities related with putting a lot of science into archeological remains But also there is the world of thinking the world of ideas that will be relying on this data So Dumbarton Oaks doesn t need to produce that data doesn t have to have the labs to produce or to create that data but you can have the people coming over here with this data in their hands to produce their paper to produce their book or whatever So that s I will say the sort of the separation the division between what is going on in the inside of Dumbarton Oaks and what is going on now in the outside world in the archeological world LL And speaking of the Collection what is your impression of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection Do you think I m not sure if it

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  • Abbrial Seagle — Dumbarton Oaks
    1998 you said AS Well I went on extensive vacation JC Uh huh Good AS I was gone three years and within the interim Marlene would call me Come on back I need you laughter And I said Sorry I m on vacation Another time she called me I was in California laughter I said I m on vacation in California And next time I forget where I was but I wasn t here In the Bahamas or some place And this went on back and forth for three years And finally she sends she sent me letters I d read the letters put them in the garbage and go jump on a plane you know going again And finally she sends me a registered letter like At least talk to me Come in and talk to me I said Okay I called her and said Okay You win I ll come in and at least talk to you So she said I want you to do the refectory for me No no no no no Give it to Diana or Diana was still living then Diana or somebody in the office there I said I m having too much fun She said Name your price And see at that time I had retired I was old enough to retire When I retired from my first job I wasn t old enough I was only fifty five so the reason I went back to work was because of the insurances going up up up JC Sure AS I said Darn I gotta go back to work Oh jeez Spare me laughter And I was lucky and fortunate enough to find this you know But she came back here and I said Okay I don t want to go too high She quoted a price I said No way Are you out of your mind I won t work for that You know laughter So I said This is my price take it or leave it She said You got it Then we sat down and started going over the what she wanted et cetera et cetera et cetera And it s beautiful And she was like my daughter I think she in essen in fact she s like two years younger than my daughter And I said Whether you like it or not I m your mom laughter And she said Okay mom And with that like I said when I thought she was wrong in anything I would correct her I said Because and I told her and Jose when we worked in this little office we also did supplies And I m trying to get I is it that way Yeah It was back that way just before you came in the doors Finance used to be over there And like I said it was a little cubbyhole Marlene had a little office about half the size of this and then another little space and then there was a desk by the door then Jose s desk there And the supply room used to be to the right with three steps going up So anybody who d come in the office to get supplies would have to run up and down stairs Hey Ab I don t know how you do this Think of it this way so that you don t go nuts It s good exercise JC Yeah AS Keeps your legs toned JC Yeah AS They say You got an answer for everything I have to to keep my sanity laughter Every day I come in I run upstairs I run back down And I said to Jose one day This is a trip And then once I came on board Jose was Cuban and had an accounting degree and worked at that in Cuba before Castro came in And so when Castro started coming in him and his wife and two children got out with only the clothes on their back And so when he got here to Dumbarton Oaks he was working in the maintenance And through conversation I guess he told Marlene that he worked you know he had a degree in accounting But I mean to tell you he knew his stuff And I can tell that because I came from good old school accountants back in New York You know this was before computers And we had one in our office and he knew his stuff And when I saw that Jose knew his stuff and then one day I said to him I said Let s you and I have some conversation You first of all I know that you know that you are not showing me everything I need to do my job efficiently And I said So therefore I do not have your back I said You show me what I need to know I ll do the rest I said But show me and then I ve got your back I said You capisce So he says I capisce And he showed me So one time he was saying I haven t had a vacation in so long because of the work load You know and the at that time financial assistants they kept coming and going The last time the one that was before me she kind of showed me a few things And she said I m out of here This is too damn much work laughter And after I got into it I said Oh I see what you mean But it s a piece of cake in reference to the volume I had in New York And so he showed me So finally the office upstairs moved downstairs in the basement JC I remember that AS And I had my own office and a beautiful storeroom in the back All I had to do was walk around the corner I didn t have to run up and down steps again And Jose was down the hall and there was another spare room And then we had a nice conference room there And Jose says I said When are you taking a vacation Jose He says I don t know I haven t been on vacation in so many years I said Well get the hell excuse me I said Well get the hell out of here What are you sitting here for I got your back You don t trust me yet And then you know a couple years or so had gone down And he says I think I will So he took a week off Getting back everything is laid out for him No problems The next time he says I m taking two weeks laughter I said Now you re getting spoiled laughter He said Ab he came over and gave me a big hug He said Thank you He said I m a different man now because I I can enjoy some time away from here I said I know what you mean And even to this day he lives in Florida And he used to do everybody s taxes you know some of the people that worked here and he still does it So he Natalia Teteriatnikov She was in for lunch the other day and she said Jose says to call him laughter I say I don t have his number She says I m going to bring it for you He wants you to call him to say hello I said Beautiful honey It d be nice to talk to him But Jose and I pers just the two of us put finance on the PC on the computer Prior to that it was all hand And we ran the same the two new systems for three months before Marlene said Okay it s good So I had reward I guess the most rewarding experience was when you re up for a raise and whatnot Marlene called me in the office and she says I want to show you something coughing JC Sorry AS And she says Out of all my years of being here you re the only one that s ever gotten excellent on your review from Harvard JC Nice AS And she said I m flattered And she said I ll be damned laughter You know Like and I said well I said Thank you I ve earned it you know laughter JC Yeah You had AS And she was she said I m just blown away You know I said Why Well whatever But the other directors Thomas was I think that was his last name JC Thompson Is that Robert Thompson AS I think When I came I think he was the director Then there was was it Angeliki after him JC Yeah I think so AS Angeliki And then it was Ned And now hmm Jan Okay but the first one he was very stuffy You know he didn t more of a figurehead than hmm you know say like being courteous to the help laughter Angeliki was the best Like I said she was real and she gave great parties JC Yeah AS The food Oh The last time we had a Christmas party I think they had like one table a little bigger than this other square for the food And I said When Angeliki was here we had a table that ran almost the length of the music room with everything you could imagine you wanted to eat And it was like that the whole time she was here JC Mmm AS Everything was just so And I said Oh The budget must be getting tight around here They re getting stingy with the food laughter You know I said I m not coming They don t feed you anymore And but everything was excellent because Hector s been around here twenty six years I think He came after Winnie Were you here then JC I was AS Yeah I thought so Winnie was good And then Hector just followed what she was doing So I said but the food was still pretty much the same very delicious but the table kept getting smaller and smaller you know the phone rings And who is that Then after that was Ned Ned was more like the first person And phone continues to ring probably my daughter laughter And he wasn t too much of a social person And then Jan who is very social I think But there have been many changes and well most people don t like changes You know they find it difficult But it is inevitable that things change JC Right AS And I said What if they didn t change How boring would it be You know And in this computerized world everything has to go that way I mean this is a younger person s world and it gets faster and faster you know I m glad to see that they re going to repair the floors out there because when I saw them I said Oh my god Angeliki would just be besides herself laughter She d be cussing she could She cussed pretty good laughter And fussing about those floors you know JC Yeah AS And I said I hope they they ruined them with the sun They let the sun in you know And I used to say oh Jose was the first one I have to tell you this story because you might have experienced it A lot of people around here have But Jose was the first one that says to me Did you know Mrs Bliss is still here laughter And he said when he used to work as a maintenance you know having to check the rooms and whatnot he said he d see a cold white figure coming down the hall You d be on this end he said I ve seen her many times JC Mmm AS And I said I bet you did I said Were you scared So he said Yep He said I went back the other way And so another security what is her name Oh Daisy s sister Oh I can t think of her name But anyway she said one night she was up checking in Marlene s shortly after Marlene died She says I went into the office there And like in her office she said I could hear papers rattling And it s like one went flying across the room She says Abby Abbrial I got so scared I ran out of there I said I know I m not afraid though And I know they still walk around And then even outside in the garden What is her name What is Daisy s sister s name that works on security Black hair JC Nora AS Nora Nora was up she said she saw both of them Mr Bliss and Mrs Bliss down by the gate JC Mmm hmm AS Right down there coming up the walk the pebble walk I said I ve seen them And one day I was coming in to do the garden and I think that s when the whackynuts were here the agency A young guy was on the desk so I had to go come upstairs to get the bag by finance And so when I get upstairs I get ready to go into the ladies room And the men s room is right next door JC Mmm hmm AS Up a hallway going down that way And I hear two people talking in no when I first get up to like the top of the stairs I hear a door slam And then as I am approaching the ladies room I hear two people talking in the bathroom And there was it sounded like two women So anyway I go and get my bag and I go back downstairs and I said to the security guy on the desk Is anybody else in here besides you and me So he says he checks the screen and he says He says No Just you and me I said Well I just went up went to get the bag and I stopped by the ladies room and the bath men s room right next door I heard two voices talking And the door slammed Well his eyes he slid back into the chair his eye laughter When I said oh laughter his eyes got big I don t think he lasted another week laughter And then another time we had security would tell told us that and again it was this whakynut whackanut group of security They said this one guy had to patrol at nighttime and it was get it wasn t nighttime yet but dusk And he was out doing the garden Well he came running down by the Orangery Another security was standing by the gate He threw him the keys and he said I m outta here They re out there in the garden again laughter He quit JC That s amazing That s like five or six people AS Oh yeah JC Wow AS And then another time I think it was one of the security here He was doing the front desk and he said all of a sudden something cold touched his arm Well you should have seen his face when he was telling me about it I said Oh that was just Mrs Bliss Or it could have been Marlene His eyes got big again laughter But the experiences are and I felt it when I was going to the ladies room it s cold There s something cold around JC Mmm AS And especially with Nora the same thing and I ve seen Mr and Mrs Bliss in the yard standing up by the Orangery from down at the gate house So they re still here but lately no one s said they ve seen em I said Well maybe they got tired roaming around the garden You know And the house and gave up And when they started doing the renovations on this house that s when they saw them the most And so after my encounter with the well my experience with the bathroom there when I would come in and nobody s up here I say Good afternoon Mrs Bliss I m here This is Abbrial I say Hi Marlene You feeling all right You doing okay You know acknowledging their presence which you know you can feel it around JC Mmm AS So with that I don t have to I go about my business nothing But one night when I was working full time down when the offices were downstairs I was working late And all of a sudden there was a cold breeze coming down the hallway like somebody opened a window or something And I said to myself I said Mrs Bliss are you here I said it out loud because I m the only one down there And I said Mrs Bliss if you are here I said you re scaring me And I said Because you re cold There s a cold breeze in here And I said You re scaring me and I have got a lot of work I got to get finished tonight I said Then I will be gone And I said But would you please go and stop scaring me Went right down the breeze went down the hall Gone Serious And the stories that Jose can tell you oh And like I said if I only heard it from Jose I might not believe it You know I d take it with a grain of salt as they say I said but so many other people have encountered the same thing you know But I haven t as I said for ooo must be

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  • Werner Seibt — Dumbarton Oaks
    for instance these two articles that we had in DOP and it made sense to show on the one side what can be learned from the seals and other resources for a special family that prior to was neglected because we didn t know how much material Even we were surprised if we had known that so much is applicable Perhaps we had taken that up Laughter And when I came again for this short symposium a workshop at the end of 2011 I remained some days more to study the strange names of alpha And that again became an article I had already work done before and I wanted to again see this material before we had tried to publish it And only after long discussions last year we began now to make it systematically And as long as we depended on photos sent from D O to Vienna it was slowly But now I hope we come on in a quicker way And if really perhaps in one year I come back the manuscript should be quite advanced that we would have for the letter alpha more or less the manuscript and work on refinements and something like that Perhaps it will be enough for one volume all that we have in alpha That s much more than we had thought Some came to the material some was put out because we decided now to make it according to Latin alphabet That means wherever we have a spiritus asper ha hagio for instance that will be postponed JS Right WS Taken out and postponed for h JS So you came here a couple times in the eighties and then WS Ja JS And actually now three times in the 2000s What changes have you noticed about happening in Dumbarton Oaks WS Ja the enormous change was of course the new library And the problem was now much more to go from one place to the other and especially with the books I know it is the possibility with this nice machine to send books here and there but it was quite different if you just stand up go to a Fach higher take the book bring it down Now we Laughter And it became much more The library became so gigantic that it s not so easy to find it In earlier times it was easier to find what you needed Now it s also possible after some time if you know the mysteries you find much You find not all Laughter But you find It Gott sei Dank I don t need so much library because at home what I need I bought or have it took it from the academy We have god thanks a good library But of course the original material is not without that the work is only half thing You can have a lot of ideas but if you see no that must not be a alpha that must be a lambda or a delta all changes Laughter You can have so many ideas but it doesn t work JS So the library s a big and you can t take the seals outside anymore of course WS That is difficult Laughter Even to take out a book and then read it outside is impossible But the conditions of this coldness in the library is still worse than here Here it is better But even it could be a little bit less cold Laughter That was not so bad in earlier times It was not so necessary even the books up in the second floor here they were under difficult conditions It was quite warm up in the high library Laughter But it was not so big a problem But now there is much place and place to work and so on Especially here the possibilities for the seals project are much better Alice Mary s promised it already when I have been there in in 2000 was it Already that there are plans to make it different to make a bigger library to buy the house of Elizabeth Taylor and to transform the house of the Director to the new refectory and the Director takes the big building And I don t know who was at the beginning I think in the beginning of the house where now the security is there was at the beginning the house of the deputy the vice director of Judy Then when we managed to bring Alexander Kazhdan to America he came via Vienna and was some time in Austria Then we tried to find something Hunger invited the Director of Dumbarton Oaks I don t know if it was still Constable I think it was still Constable to discuss with him possibility for Kazhdan to come here And then he had to go to Italy for three weeks or something like that to be checked through by the CIA Laughter and then he got green light to come here And then he lived in this house where now the security is Pause And in the garden that didn t change so much The pool is as it is now It was especially summer it was so important to have this possibility because if you are living in La Quercia already the way from La Quercia up to the Main House was not so easy You were already wet Laughter And especially when I had to take care of the child after lunch we went in the noon sun we went back home I brought her home Then it was a little bit difficult And so the pool was enormously enormously important to survive Laughter You have to survive JS So I wanted to ask you just a few questions about seals and sigillography You ve answered some of them as well such as how you got into sigillography which is a great story Were you excited to get in when your professor approached you Was this something you thought would be interesting Did you expect to be doing it forty years later WS No Absolutely not Laughter But the center the focus of my former study was Latin history and especially ancient history I made my dissertation ancient history But I had been attending lectures of Herbert Hunger since the institute was founded and he had become the first Ordinarius in 1962 already I had started studying a little bit earlier And I had good training in Latin epigraphic but nothing in seals And so I said okay I will try it If something comes out okay If not I have to look for another possibility And the important thing was that Hunger gave me the possibility to come deeply into the material and I used frankly speaking the volume five part one and two of Laurent of the corpus of Laurent that had been appeared at the time as a kind of Bible I started taking word for word I had in the beginning some problems with French but so I translated what not was so clear and word for word it was my Bible So long till I found two seals later on even three seals that were exactly parallels but read different and dated different Laughter Then the wall fell down and I said okay now it s necessary to become standing on your own feet and don t believe all what he says as a dogma And I had the big chance to work in this material through some years and when I published the first volume of the seals in Austria that was already after seven years Then it was already quite different Then I was so accommodated with this material and I d already started to start collecting seals I went to different places to first to make photographs in Athens in Istanbul In London I had not the possibility to make photographs but I could see all the material JS Okay WS And make my notes in the a copy of the catalogue And then I started first I got some seals presented by Wolfgang Hahn the numismatist who had bought some and cleaned it but cleaned it too much Laughter so that too much was lost And he hadn t didn t have any pleasure again with it and said Do you want it You are working with seals I said Okay That was the beginning And when I came soon afterwards to Istanbul I asked my Armenian friends if there would be a possibility to get some material And they brought me to an Armenian who had one seal that he knew was of some value and I got contact with a Syrian merchant who was the first time cautious The first time I came there I got only tea The second I got tea and we spoke a little bit Then he said Come tomorrow in the evening Laughter And then I saw his material and could take some forty thirty seals I don t remember so of this material Then we spoke about the price and what s going on So started it Then I got some presented and I started buying Laughter JS That s a great story WS And it became my hobby at the same time But at university of course it was not possible to teach only about sigillography I had to make the full program And so there was not so much time but at the same time I continued my seals project in the academy And then I was for twenty twenty five years the a kind of manager of the Byzantine Commission as the deputy Director I had the possibility to buy the books necessary and to make good working conditions Laughter for me and so on And this went parallel to my other work And I had some dissertants who make dissertations One of them was Stavrakos He was my first dissertant who could finish a Ph D about seals and the second high qualified was my later wife who started already with a dissertation about metrical seals so in Vienna And I gave her the lectures I was at the same time Director of Studies responsible for teaching and then examining and all these things I gave her to become Lektor I think in 1000 01 something like that So since that she made the lectures concerning sigillography and I could concentrate more on Byzantium and Caucasus and administrative history and these things JS You mentioned a trip to Istanbul and obviously a lot of the Dumbarton Oaks seals came from Istanbul WS Ja ja We think JS I wondered if you know anything about where our seals came from the formation of our collection Anything like that WS The early ones the Shaw collection and the group fifty five fifty five one was surely at a very high percentage from Istanbul and the region But as soon as the people knew that George Zacos is paying more than others for seals they brought him seals from all of Turkey and even from other countries And even later on after he had sold even his second collection I was also once with him in Basel and in this week two merchants came from different countries and offered to him seals And he said frowns and gestures as if picking at seals on the table Mm Nothing nothing Ah That s interesting okay put it aside That s nothing that s I have Hmm That s a thing Okay Laughter And then they started about speaking about the price It was no problem for him to pay a thousand two thousand Swiss francs Laughter But he paid more than others would have paid in this time But in this time we don t know where from the seals came JS Right WS And even he bought for instance a collection that is in the in Laurent it s the Collection Diamanti Vienna It was never in Vienna I was searching a long time for it But George Zacos told me Ja Diamanti was a man a dealer perhaps antiquities and something like that who came from Vienna to Istanbul in the thirties and started also collecting a small collection that was the Collection Diamanti and I bought it later on Laughter So it became part of the Zacos collection and it didn t it wasn t necessary to search for it anymore in Vienna Laughter JS Zacos seems to have been a very interesting man WS Very interesting ja and original absolutely a man of manner And he especially he was a gourmet That was very important two hours at noon we went to noble restaurants and he had a big pleasure with excellent food and so on And he was very very eager on this material It was his hobby He continued of course selling and buying antiquities Especially I heard from another dealer Medieval and early silver don t touch That is a question of George Zacos It would be difficult to come into his problems with him That is his area and let it be Laughter JS And he of course moved to Switzerland in the end He left his WS Ja ja When the police of Istanbul found a copy of the check Dumbarton Oaks had sent it was the second check then they said Okay you have forty eight hours If you are still in the country you will be jailed in the rest of your life You have this information Do what you think And he collected what he could and pushed out Laughter JS That s nice of them to give him a warning WS Perhaps that had its price also Laughter And he moved to Switzerland to Basel And every year he wanted to be near to Turkey so he came always as long as it was relative secure and sure secure he went to Cyprus And he was in Cyprus when there was this invasion of the Turks with this problem Immediately Laughter he take a Flug back to Basel And he never tried to enter Turkey anymore JS Can t say as I blame him WS What JS I can t say as I blame him Laughter WS And he participated also in the Viennese Congress in the Byzantine Congress And ja we had a nice meeting there with Hunger and I think two other of the so called big animals Laughter in the Palais Schwarzenberg this big old Palais Now they wanted and they did it transform into a five star hotel but that isn t working really so I don t know what s really going on They are restoring and so but in this time it was a very special and quite expensive hotel ja He was living with his wife JS So antiquities dealing is a good business to get into then Laughter I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about the other sigillographers you worked with at Dumbarton Oaks You ve worked with pretty much everybody who s been through here sort of WS Now the sigillographers they are not much more At the first time there was John Langdon interested in seals especially in the seals of Vatatzes He dedicated the rest of his life to the family of Vatatzes It was already a dissertation but even his email has beginning with Vatatzes Laughter It I don t know how it s going on Gmail or something like that Laughter But others of course with Nikos and with John Nesbitt but normally then I was working here alone except when my wife Alexandra was here We have been working together with some metrical problems But normally then except that I was working alone intensively Laughter on the seals I could get JS I think John is one of the longest serving members of staff Dumbarton Oaks has had Thirty six thirty seven years I think WS Uh huh Ja ja JS And you ve worked with him for the whole time WS Ja ja Ja ja Uh huh We met first time in 80 in 1980 and since that time we have good relations that now they come even to a higher and better Laughter JS And the same with Oikonomides You knew him for most of the time he was at Dumbarton Oaks WS From 1980 Ja ja Mmm hmm But we had also a lot of contacts outside sigillography I had been working successfully to make him General Secretary of the Association JS Mmm hmm WS He was not very fond about that But at some time we thought it s necessary to have a new presidium Ševčenko had been long enough president and Karayannopoulos was long enough general secretary and for the Paris Congress they wanted to have Dagron as president and Nikos as general secretary Dagron was einverstanden d accord Nikos was not so happy about that but Laughter He was already director of the center in Athens the fonds de recherche Idryma Erevnon and so on And he accepted it And where wherein some fear that there would be a counter Stimmung a fight between the old and the new But we could bring Ihor Ševčenko till so far that he himself made it at the end And in the session the proposal the new president should be Dagron and the new general secretary Nikos Oikonomides And we applauded so it was without discussion accepted Laughter Karayannopoulos was not happy Laughter D accord But he had to accept But they made it only as Dagron made it only for five years after the congress in Paris He said No It s enough But Nikos remained till he passed away much too early of course And then Chrysos had to take it over his successor in Idryma in the center in

    Original URL path: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/werner-seibt (2016-02-18)
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