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  • Valerie Stains — Dumbarton Oaks
    the National Gallery of Art as well the NGA So they decided to look at what those groups were doing or those organizations were doing and try to do something a little bit different So at the beginning they said Well we want to avoid all of the nineteenth century music you know all of the Romantic music not avoid it entirely but play it down and spend more time in the eighteenth century and the twentieth century and that of course would also involve some occasional commissions from young composers So over the years of course that changed quite a bit Again since I didn t know that when I first took over the series I just was trying to create something that would be balanced and interesting and represent a lot of different eras and also go for the highest quality of performances I could find and so on So I didn t really stick to that because I didn t even know about it and now over the years I think audiences tastes have evolved from what they were initially My understanding of the Friends of Music is that early on it was a very sort of closed organization and people were invited to join and they actually joined and it tended to be people mostly in the neighborhood and close friends of the Blisses So oh dear I don t want to do that So now it s you know just generally open to anyone who knows about it We don t ever advertise and so it s just by word of mouth that people find out about the series but they re very happy to come Over the years I think since the audience is changing their tastes are changing what s going on in the world is changing and also the way people listen to music and consume music is changing And so I ve taken some risks I guess you could say made some bold steps in terms of introducing groups that are a little more cutting edge perhaps such as Brooklyn Rider which is a string quartet that does very new and interesting work They also perform with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project There s world music influence in what they do Also Time for Three which is this wonderful young trio not so young anymore but they were young when they graduated from Curtis just trained in classical music to an inch of their lives yet in their downtime would go and play bluegrass and jazz and they do wonderful little they would tweak classical compositions and so on and the audience loved it I mean these are really musically conservative people and they loved it most of them did There are probably a few grumpy people in the batch but for the most part they liked it a lot same with Brooklyn Rider And then I mentioned world music one season not so long ago a couple of seasons ago I engaged I lined up the season and then I realized that the undercurrent of that particular season was world music and what that was about The reason I say that is because I engaged an early music group from Canada called Ensemble Caprice and they had a program called Vivaldi and the Gypsies which is a politically incorrect term but that s what they called it It should have been Roma or Romani people I suppose But they had a Baroque manuscript with melodies from the Romani people the Roma people oh gosh I don t know which it is Which is it do you know JW I think Roma VS Roma And what s Romani Is that an adjective perhaps Anyway it doesn t matter So from the Roma and then they arranged the melodies and then they arranged the harmonies and instruments how they perform it And what they did was that the played a Vivaldi concerto and then they would play a Roma concerto Romani concerto gypsy concerto not a concerto just the gypsy piece it wasn t a concerto I m really glad you don t have to edit this because it would be a nightmare Anyway so we had world influence in that concert We also had I engaged a Mexican string quartet the quartet of Latinoamericano who came to play The first half of the concert was all music from the New World essentially for string quartet and then the second half they were joined by a player of the bandoneón which is a tango instrument and this is a person who played in Ástor Piazzolla s tango band in Argentina His music is very popular now It s very well known in classical concerts I mean he s just been embraced by the classical world as well as the world music community So we had that and then the other sort of strange concert for that season was in December It was called Music of Three Faiths by the Boston Camerata They were the performers The Boston Camerata has performed many times at Dumbarton Oaks and this time they performed it was essentially medieval music from the Jewish tradition the Christian tradition and the Muslim tradition And we had an Arabic ensemble They called it the I can t remember what it was called but anyway it was a trio of Arabic musicians from different Arabic speaking countries actually So that was a little bit interesting too We added a new dimension I think to our music series with that And coming up this next season we re going to have a Persian santur JWC Now I was curious to know you talked about the audience a lot who is your audience nowadays Do you have a lot of the same types of people who may have been involved in an earlier era of the music series or do you have professionals families Who likes to come VS We have a core audience that I think has been coming to these concerts forever A few seasons ago maybe ten seasons ago actually I remember a man and his wife were telling me as they were welcomed to the first concert of the season he said I believe this is the fiftieth the fiftieth year that we have been coming I was really surprised to hear that because that s a long time But they looked like it was possible So what I m saying is I think there are quite a few people like that We had unfortunately many of them have passed away but early on after I first arrived I remember that J Carter Brown who was the Director of the National Gallery of Art would come faithfully with his family and he would tell me that he was his aunt brought him to Dumbarton Oaks when he was a child and that she would gesture to the stairway that comes down into the Music Room and say And then Mrs Bliss would come down the stairway That was rather nice to have that connection that he was there and that he had heard about Mrs Bliss I don t know if he actually met her or not but he would hear stories about her from his aunt The widow of Abe Fortas who was on the Supreme Court used to attend faithfully Her name was oh gosh Carolyn I think A G G E R was her last name and she would come every season She would subscribe every season to our concerts and was very happy to be there I think And actually I believe that that is the Fortas that has given the name to the Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center So we were very fortunate to have her as well Again I m just trying to think of any other people who actually I think that s probably the only connection I had to the people who came who might have been connected to the Blisses in any way JWC Do you find that the type of audience you have influences how you put together a season VS Right that was your question wasn t it I think actually that we do probably have an audience that is hanging on as long as they can to this particular concert series because they re familiar with it and so on The newer additions to the audience well I would say the youngest are probably in their mid forties JWC Oh wow VS I mean there may be the occasional slightly younger person a couple who comes but I think it does tend to be an older audience The youngest people in the audience of course are very often the Fellows who are here at Dumbarton Oaks which is lovely It s wonderful to see them But no I actually have to say that I do believe that there are some younger people coming and that s maybe it s because we re doing some more interesting music I mean there are different audience categories you know There are people who are very enthusiastic every time they leave a concert they say Oh that was wonderful thank you so much it was so interesting whatever nice things And then there are other people who I think might be a little grumpy about anything that s new and challenging to them But they came back so you know I think it s worth the risk JWC And what for you makes an ideal concert I know there s a lot of variety in the types of pieces that you re putting together and between seasons there are different themes but is there some common thread that ties all the concerts together VS Within a season or just in general JWC Well both Within a season it seems to be more topical there s a musical common thread and I m thinking overall is there you know a spark or something that you re looking for that regardless of the genre or period that a piece is from or that a performer focuses on that they all have in common VS Well I think what I try to do or look to do really what it is I look for is excellence in performance excellence but not just musicians who have a lot of facility not just musicians with chops as we would say but musicians who are deeply musical I d say that s really important I mean sometimes I m luckier than other times but I will not engage anyone whom I have not heard either in person or nowadays on YouTube That way I can see how they present themselves and I can actually hear them directly in performance to see that they can deliver the goods That s probably not a very good way of putting it But I want to just make sure they re the real deal really have accomplished artists who come here That s really the most important thing The programming of course is the most fun in terms of when I ve identified wonderful musicians We can talk about what they want that might be a little different or more interesting or whatever I think its excellence excellence of musicianship and performance JWC When you re finding these performers how do you first encounter most of them Do they have agents that are reaching out to you or are you seeing in the community and reaching out to them Or a little bit of both VS I d say it s both I ve actually been in the business here at Dumbarton Oaks but before that many many years I know lots and lots of musicians and I know lots and lots of managers and agents so we ll sort of have a nice collegial relationship I might write to them and ask them if they have this or that and ask them what so and so is doing this year Or they might approach me and say we have this really interesting group that s gotten together this is a particularly interesting program and so on and I consider it So it s very fluid in that way I just feel very comfortable moving on my own or taking things that are offered by the managers If I trust them You have to trust them in taste and so on JWC What s the number of performers you have in a series versus the number that you start to investigate at the beginning of the season What s the ratio of people VS I ve never kept track of that I don t know I do some seasons I have a very clear idea in my mind of what I want to do Boom just like that Other seasons I think Oh my gosh it s another season I have to line up fourteen concerts And then I start thinking I have to organize in my mind what I think might be a good season And other times I m so full of ideas and there are so many people I d like to have come to Dumbarton Oaks that I can only have there are only seven concerts each one done twice That s where I got the fourteen So I have to be selective It s an odd process I don t actually think about something like that now that you ask No statistics JWC How far in advance do you generally plan out a concert series VS A season Well right now I m working on in the summer of 2013 of course we have the 2013 14 concert series but I m working on 2014 15 right now and I have quite a number of ideas I haven t nailed down anything yet but I m sort of designing it now I have these sort of maybe this or that you know It s in process right now JWC When you re putting these things together are you always trying to find something new and different or are there always a few standbys that the audience really enjoys and makes reappearances through the years VS Well I look for what I try to pay attention first of all to what s going on in the world of music I do look for something that might be particularly interesting because it s different in its approach I think it s really important to pay attention to that sort of thing We ve had a group here a few seasons back called A Far Cry It s just a chamber orchestra of young people who met at New England Conservatory They were so amazing in their approach to the type of music they played and they listened to music and they listened to each other when they played and the variety they offered within one concert itself To me just something about them just struck me as being something very different and special so I engaged them And they were so fantastic the night after the last concert I went home and got their manager on the phone who lives mercifully on the West Coast so it wasn t so early and I said I want them next year again So wonderful That was the first time I did that Normally I don t do that even if we have wonderful concerts But these people were so compelling and so musical so deeply musical and dedicated and so wonderful that I had them come back But to answer your question about whether I m always looking for something different or new I think more than that I think I am looking for something new I always like to have one what I would call to myself a weird concert that might shake everybody up I don t always succeed in identifying a weird piece Sometimes I have an entire season of rather tame concerts and then I m disappointed in myself when it comes out to be a tame season I try to balance If I have the weird concert I will try to have something that will wash gently over the ears of our audience who might be more sensitive to that sort of thing and who might be reassured by that type of program But I do really think it s important to pay attention and offer more of the sort of new approach to how people are playing music Classical music They the serious intellectuals are talking about the future of classical music is in jeopardy And it can be in jeopardy but what I know is that we have so many young people something about it sparks interest Lots of musicians are graduating from conservatories and universities and whatever all the time that can continue We just need to identify what that is and find an audience for them And so they have to be as out there as we do in terms of having to think about a different way to how they deliver the music to people who listen JWC Do you ever find that other people in either the Washington community or father afield come to consult with you when they re trying to put together a concert series of their own VS All the time Yes they do I get phone calls from people who are about to start a series and they ask me basic nuts and bolts questions about it It s not so much artistic stuff It s more like well it sort of is like how do you go about lining people up or how do you deal with getting people interested to come as an audience or how do you do your contracts various things like that JWC Is Dumbarton Oaks unique in the type of concert series it

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  • Michael Steen — Dumbarton Oaks
    primary reason that Ned Keenan came to Dumbarton Oaks was to build that library And he was very successful in his approach to the way it unfolded and the way it turned out JN And finally tell me what you interaction with Gail Griffin was You were in change of building the Gardeners Lodge I think it s called that really centralized that part of our institution MS Gail Griffin wonderful woman wonderful lady and a good friend And I ended up thankfully with a lot of good friends from Dumbarton Oaks From Knoxville Tennessee She s from the South and I m from the South and we really had a lot in common from that aspect Gail pays a lot of attention to detail And I dealt with her during the construction with no problem We had landscape issues we needed to discuss She was very helpful from that standpoint When I came on as Director of Facilities and she was Grounds and Gardens we had a lot of interaction and I had a lot on my plate to deal with I dealt primarily with the buildings and much more so than the landscape and the hardscape in the gardens and all but we had a good working relationship And I would have to say that I did not do as much in the gardens as I probably could have But Gail understood workloads and the different things we had going on and so she was very patient about how we handled things in the department of Facilities JN So once the library and the gardeners lodge were completed and came on line and the central plant was operational the Main House and Museum Wing were shut down and everyone and everything were evacuated from those structures Talk about what then ensued and how you protected the historical fabric of the house while at the same time bringing it up to code by putting in new mechanicals and that sort of thing MS James as you know I think that was a monumental task Not only protecting the historical aspect of the building interiors and exteriors we also had to meet a lot of conditions with the outside boards that we worked with the historic boards We had to have people who knew about preservation and construction involving historic fabric We had good plans to move people around which we were able to do We did have to rent a facility which was just up the street on R Street to relocate some people into while the house was reconstructed and modernized and brought up to code life safety codes and ADA codes Americans with disabilities We did everything we knew how to do for that time for the construction and the protection of the facilities We had to do a lot of alterations to the inside to accommodate new mechanical systems electrical and plumbing as well and all the new equipment So it was quite a task but we had some very understanding people like you James and others Gudrun for the Museum who understood that we had to remove certain things And we replaced them with like materials and all to make everything look like it did before the restoration took place We were able to preserve and actually restore three historic rooms that we are real proud of the Founders Room the Music Room where we actually were able to restore the decorated ceiling which was really a nice feature And we were able to keep it within our budget for the Main House and the Study JN And the Oval Room MS Oh yes and the Oval Room They have a common corridor between them We brought the Oval Room back to its former glory I guess And I think all in all we did a good job with it and we had wonderful cooperation and coordination with all the users that were in the building Here again it was something that I think we all learned a lot from it And I ve been able to apply what we did in my career since we lived here JN So in 2008 you became an employee rather than a consultant What were the challenges or the problems or daily incidents that you remember from the period after the completion of the renovation MS Well I was able to be here to see how Dumbarton Oaks ran how it was managed how all the programs were implemented while we were planning and actually doing some of the construction If I d thought a little bit closer about it I wonder if I would have taken on such a task It s kind of not knowing but if you think about it when we built a new library and a new gardeners building and a central plant we more than doubled our requirements for a lot of personnel like security and the engineers that had to take care of all the equipment and the systems So the people that I was in charge of was actually almost double the number before the campus was enlarged before it was almost doubled So I had a lot of people to manage a lot on my plate a lot of things that we were still going to do to the buildings for improvements the reroofing projects foundation fixes for leaks and things we couldn t do in the capital program that we had just completed So I had quite a bit of work to do and I had all of us did a real good friend in Marlene Chazan When we lost her things became a little bit more difficult to deal with I think we had more direct influence from Harvard then probably we had which changed some of the complexion of how Dumbarton Oaks operated including Facilities So I am glad that I stayed here having second and third and fourth thoughts laughter maybe more but I learned

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  • Michael Steen — Dumbarton Oaks
    stored the fertilizers pesticides and the greenhouses were back here in this location It s always known as the West Property or the back of the house OK now we are at the bottom of the service area that we call the Gardener s Court This is actually the old Gardener s Court and now it s called the Service Court The drive that I ve just walked down as you can see the blue stone edging and the cobbles that are embedded this is quite a hefty roadway there s an eight inch concrete slab and three inches of embedment above with the cobbles All this was removed however when we built a connecting tunnel that connected not only the library to the Main House for utilities It s eight feet wide and ten feet tall inside It also carries books the book conveyor to the Main House where the Fellows the fellowship program is being maintained there as well The stones were numbered the blue stones were numbered and reinstalled in their locations their original locations All the walls were rebuilt and the cobbles were rebuilt Now let s move around in the court here This next building that you will see is known as the Refectory The lower level contains a large meeting room and we used it for temporary purposes for research reports that were given weekly by the Fellows Now that will be conducted at the Main House The kitchen the commercial kitchen is also on this lower level and the dining hall is on the upper level and there s a nice den well it s a sitting room it s very well appointed We continue to go around I do want to say however that the gardeners once occupied the lower level in this building and this building was originally built as a chauffeurs house And the Blisses had six rooms for chauffeurs and three four bays for their cars There was a debate and two schemes drawn where the question whether or not to build this as a motorcar garage or a livery And I think after they developed both schemes and got to looking around what s happening in the world they thought that they should build it for the motorcar And I think that was a pretty wise move You can see now we are looking at the west from the west property to the into the garden gate that takes you to the back of the gardens of the ten acre formal gardens that we ve talked about I must tell you that we are standing in a courtyard that was the greenhouse forms the northern boundary the refectory forms the southern boundary the garden wall is the eastern boundary and the cool house which is another greenhouse or orchid house was a McKim Mead White construction project And this was in the mid twenties 26 27 This greenhouse was totally restored all new glazing watering systems fertilization systems ventilation protection ventilation and all and as well as the pit house the greenhouse behind it Now if we keep panning around the circle here and we come to what I just referred to as the orchid house on the west end of this court This building was converted into a reading room for the library and is about 1 200 square feet And it attaches or appends to the 47 000 square foot five level library It s very well done and we were able to preserve the McKim Mead White quadrangle here We ll go ahead and pan on around And I don t know if you saw the building at the top of the drive that I just walked down but that is also a McKim Mead White building that is known as the Gardeners Court Cottage And that s where the security staff resides the servers and all of the security equipment is it s actually the heartbeat the hub of the campus for security and telecommunications Facilities is located there and the IT folks are located there as well And my office is in there too and I ve enjoyed that space immensely Now we will continue our trip by going into library to see what s in there And we are now panning into the reading room described from the exterior as the old former orchid house that s been converted into a reading room It s now very nice integral part of the library You see the pre Columbian statuary there We have several artifacts in all of the buildings in addition to the museum space We continue to pan around and I wanted you to see that we have the stacks I would go ahead and add that this is a Robert Venturi design Venturi Scott Brown Associates has done this We re on level four Levels three four and five are similar to this level And then on level one we have stacks down there that contain primarily most of the volumes of the library Level two is the level that contains the technical support for the libraries and the area that they call the photo archives And most of the staff is housed on the second floor Each of the floors five four and three do however have offices for six fellows that study from the library that s eighteen offices plus a couple of offices for visiting scholars and then the librarians have the other offices and the Directors of Study of the study programs are all housed in the fade We are now going to look at the library this imposing sight We have exposed four and a half levels on this elevation of the five levels so there s a half level below ground here Only two levels are exposed on the courtyard side JH Behind me is Gardeners Cottage formally a duplex for visiting scholars experts in residence here at the facility and other guests It

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  • Rebecca Rollins Stone — Dumbarton Oaks
    what was happening with the building project and we didn t have much responsibility It had a lot of getting permits and running into problems and delays and the usual stressful and how were things going to be moved so that was a lot of the news that we would be informed of Mainly we were trying to hear where were each of the publications and what should we do for example about the Inca one that was dragging so badly I mean Craig Morris died in the middle of it I mean it s almost like that s not something you can anticipate and that doesn t work But having three editors is a problem and we were trying to get more rules I think We were saying Well if someone doesn t meet the deadline then they re out of the volume and we have to just really be stricter We can t let all these people be a herd of cats And so we would kind of give permission to the director to be stricter and more hardnosed about that which I think is good And there were other struggles trying to get the re publication of the entire collection and who was going to do the Mesoamerican one and so on So we wrestled with these publication issues We proposed topics and we reviewed topics for the symposia and tried to suggest well we need another art historian usually Who can we get Should we include the Southwest And so there were some good philosophical issues that we took on And then mainly that would be the fall where we were dealing with those kinds of things and then in the spring in January February somewhere in there it was always around inauguration when George Bush was inaugurated one of the low points we would have read all of the applications over Christmas break and then we d get together and wrangle over them There was a wonderful collegiality I really enjoyed staying in the Fellows Building and coming down for breakfast and going out to eat around the corner in the restaurants together and share a glass of wine And I really liked meeting the people that I met I wouldn t have met Louise Paradis or Barbara Stark Those were people that had never come into my circle I m good friends with Tom Cummins and Gary Urton and that was all just really fun And Jeffrey Quilter s fantastic and Joanne is marvelous So it was a wonderful group even as it changed I think there was always an undercurrent of Harvard dominating and if someone were a Harvard professor then basically it was understood that their students would have some priority And I could make my peace with that although I wanted to make sure that it was not just an elite club and I was constantly saying Okay can we let this person in Can we let this person in Let s not make it an old boy club please And we heard way too much about Harvard politics especially from Ned Keenan long long long stories with all this name dropping and all these people that I don t know who they are and all the ins and outs of Harvard and that was just I just knew that was going to be and that was just the way it was And people kind of just put up with it they were just sort of patient with it I don t think there were any abuses I certainly wouldn t say that anybody got in who shouldn t have a fellowship I think pretty much ninety percent of the fellowships that are proposed would be absolutely worthy of one and that was the frustration That was I think the hardest part was to say there s thirty of these We want to help people from Latin America we want to help people from lesser schools we want to help the really incredible students from the great programs and this measly three and a half fellowships is just not fair And it always felt unfair that the Byzantinists never had to beat the bushes to get enough people That was our feeling I don t know if it s true but that was our feeling that they could beat the bushes to get anybody and give them a fellowship and we were turning away wonderful candidates And so there was always some kind of bitterness And that s when Ned was open to expanding and that was really a wonderful sense of change and sense of having done a little bit of something to make a difference So I think that those meetings were exhausting They were kind of a forced march The chairs were extremely uncomfortable in the old we would meet in that open library So they were a challenge But I really liked doing it and being part of it and being able to go to Washington and see the collection for myself and run down to the Smithsonian or wherever to the National Gallery and to have an excuse to be in D C So it was a good gig and I really liked it AD Now while you were on the board did the issue of repatriation or acquisition of new objects ever come up RRS I m trying to remember AD Or was that an issue that you ever heard talked about while at Dumbarton Oaks RRS It doesn t loom large It doesn t loom large in my memory I know that it s something that we re all concerned with but the problem with the Yale stuff hadn t really surfaced much by 2006 that I recall It s not something that I remember talking about very much I remember getting some papers and archives and photographs and things like that but I don t remember much about objects coming in AD And so let s return finally back to your interaction with some of the directors of Dumbarton Oaks like Robert Thomson and Ned Keenan if you could maybe characterize their respective directorships RRS Robert Thomson was a very upright somewhat rigid person and it felt like the rules were all important under his reign and there was not a lot of leeway And this was the way it was done especially at Harvard And there really wasn t any room for change which I felt was unfortunate I understood it he was a perfectly nice person but he was not a warm or friendly or particularly open person very formal Ned Keenan was a very talkative person long stories liked to hear himself speak very welcoming I liked his wife His wife was very liberal and political in causes and they were we had nice lunches up there beautiful delicious lunches I think Ned was he had all the same sort of trappings of being a traditionalist and yet somehow he was more open minded and so he was able to see that pre Columbian needed a little more parity And he was very thoughtful and if he could just forestall the twenty minute talk about something else then I enjoyed having him at the meetings to hear the deliberations and I respected him doing that with his time So both of them were very elegant and eloquent men who could stand up and do the Dumbarton Oaks toasts and the introductory speeches and very confident but just somewhat different And as I said I did not know Angeliki so I can t comment on her AD Well Ned Keenan was responsible for a lot of the reconstruction projects and for the building of the new library What were your and you worked with the old library when you were a Junior Fellow here what were your thoughts RRS Overlapping Yes down in the basement AD I m sorry RRS I was down in the basement in just a cubicle down in the dark windowless basement I was grateful I mean I had been turned down for the Met I had been turned down for different big grants because what I did was very strange No one had ever heard of a Wari tunic before so and I was turned down the first time by Dumbarton Oaks They said it wasn t the right year but they encouraged me to reapply And then my year we had Bill Isbell and Anita Cook so it was a Wari enclave So working down there in that basement was depressing It was I think difficult to it felt like putting your head in a bag just in terms of the environment In terms of being down there where all the books were they were all down there and you could just run around the corner and grab one of fifteen thousand books It was like a kid in a candy shop And this is still me coming from Yale that had at the time six and a half million books So I wasn t starving but Dumbarton Oaks was like a feast And I got a lot done I got the majority of my dissertation written I finished it the next year I did the revisions in the fall and got it in in March of the next year And I hadn t really analyzed my data either so I did the analysis and an entire draft while I was there So one was very productive because it was a gift not to be squandered And it was fun I liked being there as a Junior Fellow We called it the golden leash because there was having to go to the sherries and having to listen to the Byzantinists talks and the landscape talks The landscape talks were interesting The Byzantinist talks were very boring and kind of annoying because when they would come to our talks they would say Well you don t have any evidence I would show them fifty six tunics of a staff bearing figure and talk about something that was true of all of them and they would say Well you don t have any evidence because there s nothing written And then we d go to a talk of theirs where literally it was on the second half of a sentence that s all they had And they said that that was sort of a superior type and amount of evidence And so it was a joke you know But the Byzantine talks they never gave an introduction to who the Visigoths or the Ostrogoths or any of the Goths were and we had to introduce This is Peru This is South America and this is Peru So I mean it was just sort of understood And we also had Margaret MacLean that year who was the first or one of the only ones I don t know if she was the first but to be both in Pre Columbian and in landscape because she was doing Machu Picchu So we were it was a pretty tight knit group and that was fun There was a woman from Germany and there was Peter Heather in Byzantine who teaches at Oxford It was great It could be a little distracting You had to really buckle down because you knew you had to go to a talk or something at three or four whenever it was and you had to have these lunches had to go to lunch So you had to really get your work in in the morning and then a chunk in the afternoon and keep your nose to the grindstone AD So between these different fields it seems academically they re very different but once you got outside of these talks outside of the academic atmosphere was there much social interaction between the different groups RRS Mmhmm Certainly the Junior Fellows We socialized We all lived up the hill and there was another building way up Wisconsin that we had to walk to about a mile straight up the hill AD Oh wow RRS And it was kind of a depressing place with cockroaches And I had a cockroach in my bed one night But it was my own little apartment and I got to put up yellow curtains and it was I was really grateful for that too I was next door to Emily Umberger who was wonderful And actually you know I d like to say that s we interacted I think across the groupings pretty well from Senior to Junior But it was sort of a camaraderie You know you re walking up the hill and as a woman I never wanted to really walk by myself so we would walk in a clump Yes I think socially I really enjoyed it We played croquet outside in the spring There were some really fun times We got to meet everybody I mean you felt like everyone who was anyone was likely to come through and meet them at lunch and they would give you some bibliography or some something and so you were constantly being stimulated AD Now I ve heard from some other people who have been interviewed that this kind of collegial atmosphere this social atmosphere was as you said a little distracting in that sometimes people would come and not even get any work done on their dissertation and end up working on another project RRS No it was yeah that was a problem and I was aware of that and I vowed that that wasn t going to happen to me and I didn t let it I always felt like I might have been able at the time every day I felt like I might have been able to do more And that s why it was the golden leash because you kept getting sort of yanked away But yes I think some people in the group were more distracted than others but some of them finished their I remember Peter Heather he had one hundred thousand words and I remember the day that he got his one hundred thousand words and that was it AD And in your work at Dumbarton Oaks as a Junior Fellow you got to work with the collections RRS Yes there were a few pieces that yeah they have a few Wari tunics and so I got to study them and put them into my dissertation so that was good By then I had done it I found two hundred seventy five individual pieces which when reconstructed became about one hundred seventy five original tunics because people have cut them up and sold them as pieces to different collections so by then I had gone to forty eight museums on three continents and I pretty much knew how to do my research So getting those last pieces just took a matter of hours of what I did with the measurements and the color chipping and all the photographs and stuff But at the same time I was also finishing up getting my data from the Textile Museum so I would go over on Tuesdays and study their tunics but that was another one of the wonderful things about being in Washington D C was the access to that collection AD And what were your impressions of the pieces in the Dumbarton Oaks collection RRS Oh they re stunning They re very important what they call the harvest textile very important in my dissertation It has color anomalies and that s one of the things I was concentrating on And if I had gotten to iconography I ended up just doing technique and form because I had spent four years on my dissertation and Mary Miller said You re going to finish And I said Well then I can t do iconography And she said Don t do iconography And I said How can you not do iconography And she said Don t do iconography So I didn t But if I had that one would have been really crucial Although now in my work more recently I m totally concentrated on shamanism for the last ten years or so and I would have a completely different interpretation of that of those textiles than I had at the time But they re beautiful beautiful examples and they keep wonderful care of them And just absolutely one of the perfect museums but also not dedicated to keeping you away from their pieces like some places that I studied at The Art Institute of Chicago it took me two weeks to study like two tunics because they really didn t want to help scholars out much at the time I appreciated that Dumbarton Oaks was really open with it especially textiles People have to be very careful with textiles but you have to let them be studied so that we can know more about them AD Was Elizabeth Boone the one in charge of the collections at the time RRS Yeah AD And did you have much interaction with her while you were there RRS Oh yeah Oh Elizabeth s fantastic She s so funny And she had a wonderful trick of when we would be at the Byzantine talks especially she would sit up at the beginning and then she would fall asleep very demurely and non obtrusively and then right at the end she would wake up And then she would ask a question from the beginning of the talk that sounded very intelligent Or one time I think she did it in a I don t remember whether it was a Byzantine or a Pre Columbian talk and she woke up and she said Rebecca has a question And I was like Okay that s not fair That s not fair You have to come up with your own question from the

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  • David Stuart — Dumbarton Oaks
    you got And they ve since changed that I think about ten years ago they changed it so it s a set amount of money for everybody So I m the youngest MacArthur award winner but I m also the least the younger you are the less you get the older you are the more you get So I m the one who received the least amount of money of any MacArthur Fellow not that I m complaining it was fantastic I always thought it should be the reverse though If you re like ninety years old like you know AdC How much longer are you going to live DS Exactly I rationalize it that way So anyway that s how it works It allowed me to save up money for later in life for various things and funding and education and traveling down to Copan just saving for eventually life ahead houses and stuff like that It s so long ago now that it s not something I even have anymore It was a long long time ago AdC While you were a Fellow here at Dumbarton Oaks you mentioned this briefly earlier about interacting with some of the Byzantine Landscape Studies Fellows as well DS Yeah AdC So there was a good deal of interaction between those three branches DS Yeah I would say maybe not a whole lot because we were working in our own spaces but we had lunch together all the time and going to different talks I remember and the sherry events that were every week or so Giles Constable was the Director at that time and I remember the first time I ever sipped sherry was here at Dumbarton Oaks It was an acquired taste but AdC And those were held for all three DS Yeah all of us got together So there were these occasions where we could interact I remember just having some nice times socializing a little bit I couldn t do it quite as much as other scholars because I wasn t living in the apartments or the housing So apart form the daily routine I wasn t really engaged in the social scene of the Fellows that much AdC And that was a requirement of your accepting the fellowship in the first place was that you don t live with the rest of the DS Yeah well since I was here in town already and a lot of my work materials were there at the house with my dad s own library which was pretty extensive too I think it was a way of kind of cost saving and it just seemed like a mutually positive arrangement So it was basically a place where I would come in commute to work during the day AdC Were there any relationships with particular Fellows that you got or developed while you were here DS Well there was kind of a generational gap It was a little hard for me to develop really close tight connections with people I remember though it wasn t so much the year I was here as a Fellow but a couple of years beforehand when I was volunteering and kind of coming down to D O anyway quite a bit when Mary Miller was here as a Junior Fellow or I don t know if she was a Junior Fellow or not But she was working on her dissertation on Bonampak and I had known her from the roundtable meetings in Palenque and she was a very exciting young scholar upcoming and Bonampak was such a neat topic She was really open to my ideas and discussing things with me so that was really cool Because when I was in my teens I m sure looking back on it it must have been kind of weird for me to be approaching these established scholars or people getting their Ph Ds and wanting to talk about Maya art or Maya writing There were some people who were very kind of standoffish and some people who were very accepting And I remember Mary was really accepting and really interesting and listened to what I had to say and talked about glyphs and stuff AdC That must have been really interesting to have that mix of archaeologists and art historians here at the same time DS Yeah it was Right AdC And you mentioned earlier having the opportunity of not working but interacting with Betty Benson and Elizabeth Boone If you could could you characterize what their different directorships were like and who they were DS Yeah well I ve known Betty Benson for a very long time and that goes way back through contacts with my parents and Linda Schele Linda Schele was a very good friend of Betty s and Linda was a big part of the scene at Dumbarton Oaks in the late 70s I think Linda was a Fellow here in 77 or around that time That s around the time I got to really know Linda in fact here in Washington And so I knew Betty from conferences in Palenque again and so forth I didn t know her really as a director here that well I remember those years vaguely but I wasn t really part of Dumbarton Oaks at that point It was when Elizabeth Boone was here that I was a Fellow And I can t really contrast their roles as Director of Pre Columbian Studies but I think both had very important strengths that they brought into the place And Elizabeth Boone being an Aztec specialist I remember having some fascinating discussion with her and she s become this really incredible scholar And she was at the time in Aztec art and Aztec culture so I ve long respected Elizabeth s scholarship and still do and really treasure that time of getting to know her when she wasn t teaching in an academic position As Director of Dumbarton Oaks

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  • Alice-Mary Talbot — Dumbarton Oaks
    to women s convents and I just thought the material was fascinating And I began thinking I don t know anything about nunneries in Byzantium and this might be an interesting topic to research So I began to do research and to find the surviving typika which survive the six surviving typika and at that point I really didn t have any time to pursue the subject but that s what triggered my interest And it was only in the early 80s with the typikon translation project which I became involved in that I then had the opportunity to follow through on that interest and to translate the six and to really develop more detailed knowledge of the phenomenon But it was definitely that course at Lake Erie that sparked my interest JNSL And did you return often in the 70s to Dumbarton Oaks or were you more really out in Cleveland at that time AMT I was very much based in Cleveland I had two small children so it was difficult for me to travel very much and I didn t have very much connection with Dumbarton Oaks I did publish my dissertation at Dumbarton Oaks and so I did come back a few times in connection with preparing the final manuscript and checking proofs and that sort of thing That book was published in 75 so I would come very occasionally but I had pretty minimal contacts until 1978 until I came back as a staff member for two years JNSL So let s move to that period AMT Okay What happened was that when Giles Constable became the Director of Dumbarton Oaks in 1976 he decided to abolish the position of Director of Byzantine Studies It s something I ve never understood completely It was whether it was a cost cutting move whether it was because of supposed difficulty in identifying an appropriate candidate I ve never really understood why that decision was made I think it was a very bad decision In any case Giles assumed the duties of the Director of Byzantine Studies but he very quickly realized that it was very difficult for him to do both jobs and so he and his successors as Director at Dumbarton Oaks had to make a series of accommodations over the years to try to get help in carrying out all the duties of the Director of Byzantine Studies And so the first such effort was hiring me on a half time basis to help with organization of academic events So I for example organized public lectures and I organized the symposia and I also helped with the publications program with reviewing manuscripts JNSL What was your title AMT I was called Associate for Academic Affairs and then in later years I only did it for two years because I had to commute and with my small children that turned out to be very difficult In later years at one point there was a troika of very junior professors here including Henry Maguire I think and John Duffy and Irina Andreescu And they divided up the duties of the Director of Studies among the three of them but none of them held that title They also hired a man called Peter Topping who was here for maybe ten years and he was responsible completely responsible for publications and also was very involved in advising the library on acquisitions So there were a number of these what I would consider makeshift efforts to carry out the responsibilities of the position but there was no single person who was really responsible and I think that was very unfortunate But I did myself have two wonderful years back here and they were absolutely key in enabling me to continue in the field because at that point as you can see I was teaching as an adjunct I was teaching Middle Eastern history I had had no library and it was very difficult for me to continue as a Byzantinist and being here in Washington on a regular basis meant that I could return to serious research I began to work very seriously on my second book which was on the posthumous miracles of the patriarch Athanasios and what I did was I would work during the day on the Byzantine studies job and then at night I would work on my book and I was able to publish that in the early 80s So that was extremely important and it also meant that I began to get back into the field and to be able to network again and sort of catch up with what was going on But having access to the library was just extraordinarily important JNSL Who were some other Byzantinists who were there at that time AMT Well the most important figure was definitely Alexander Kazhdan who arrived in February of 1979 So that was the first year that I was in that position and I because of my position Giles essentially asked me to help him with his shall we say his acclimation and adjustment which was a very difficult one to Dumbarton Oaks His English was very poor he had no familiarity with the American academic system And he did need a lot of support I think in those early days but for me it was an extraordinary privilege to get to know him And it was the beginning of a very long and fruitful both friendship and collaboration I in that early period my main collaboration with him was that we did teach a course together He was very anxious to start teaching even though his English was really not adequate to the task and this was very unusual since Dumbarton Oaks is not a teaching institution and it s not accredited but we did work out an arrangement with local universities that they would send their students to Dumbarton Oaks and the universities would give the credit But what happened was that Kazhdan organized this course and then he informed me that he couldn t be there for the first four weeks because he was going to be in Europe So he asked me if I could teach the first four weeks of it which I think was a good thing because I being more familiar with the needs of American undergraduates was able to give a rather general introduction before he came and began giving much more sort of detailed presentations Then he had some serious health problems at the end of the semester and very serious health problems and I had in fact to read all the students papers and do the grading which I also think was a good idea because I think he actually wouldn t have had any idea what the normal standards of American undergraduates are and it would have been difficult for him And then the third thing I did was I took notes as he lectured and afterward we would go over all the mistakes he d made in English and I tried to help him improve his English So I learned a lot from his lectures and that was the genesis of the book he wrote with Giles Constable on again I m going blank on the Homo Byzantinus and I was fairly involved in editing the early drafts of that book So that was the beginning of our association We obviously we were very complementary figures to each other and could help each other in various ways And so that I think led him to call upon me when he began to work on the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium JNSL And before you began that project you began your work on the typikon Is that right that was first AMT Yes I actually did all that work in Cleveland Since it was a translation project I was able to do it completely at home which was wonderful because all I needed was essentially the photocopies of the text and a dictionary And then Angela Hero who served as the editor was in New York and I would just mail my text to her and she would correct them We did have I believe two meetings of all the translators in Washington where we all at the early stages where we got together and discussed guidelines for the project And those were wonderful wonderful meetings too to launch the project but after that we all worked very much in isolation essentially but in close contact with the two editors John Thomas and Angela Hero JNSL And then am I correct you started work on as the director of the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium in 1984 is that right AMT Correct yes What happened was that I went back to Cleveland essentially full time for four years and went back to the adjunct teaching and worked on the typikon project and also finishing this book on the miracles of Athanasios And I was increasingly unhappy with the adjunct teaching being underpaid and not being able to teach anything in Byzantine studies And so when Kazhdan approached me in the fall of 1983 what had happened was he had always for a long time had a dream of doing what he called a dictionary of Byzantine studies even in the Soviet Union And when he came to Dumbarton Oaks he hoped that he could realize this dream He had he was not a very practical man and he had very little concept of the amount of money it would take to do it or the amount of organization it would take And he also didn t understand the ways in which funding agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities operate And he assumed that all that needed to happen was for Giles Constable to phone the head of NEH and Dumbarton Oaks would be given the money And so before I got involved Kazhdan had actually submitted an application to NEH which was rejected because it was inadequate and I think that was sort of the wake up call for him He realized that he just didn t have sufficient familiarity with the American system of doing things and getting funding for projects And so he invited me to work with him and I had almost no experience myself except that the typikon translation project had received NEH funding I hadn t been involved in that application but I knew how it had happened but I was very tempted because of my dissatisfaction with my teaching arrangements in Cleveland But I did insist that I couldn t commute on a weekly basis and so we worked out an arrangement whereby I was hired on a half time basis and I came one week a month to Dumbarton Oaks funded by NEH when we got the grant and then I in theory worked one week a month at home on editing and doing my own research and writing Of course it turned out to be much more than that but at least it meant that I was only away from home one week a month and that proved to be a very manageable schedule which I continued for seven years And so we formed an editorial board of five and with Kazhdan as editor in chief and I was the executive editor and then Tony Cutler was the chief editor for art and Tim Gregory for archaeology and originally Gary Vikan was sort of the assistant art editor But at that year in 1984 he was hired away from Dumbarton Oaks by the Walters and they would not give him leave to work on the Dictionary so he had to resign And at that point we decided to replace him with Nancy Ševčenko who was my former elementary and high school classmate and life long friend And so that proved to be a very good choice She like me was working a lot sort of as an independent scholar so she welcomed the opportunity to become involved in this project and did a superb job JNSL You were aware when that began or how long did it take for you to realize what would be required to complete a project like that I just think it must have seemed like a tremendous undertaking AMT It did We actually did manage to complete it within the projected time which I guess in hindsight is pretty extraordinary I think we had projected seven years and we actually submitted the manuscript after five years and it took two years to go through the press but it was a tremendous job of coordination because of the very large number of contributors I think it was one hundred seventeen contributors and it would have been so much easier to do it today with email But in those days we did everything by snail mail and we had several contributors in Australia and it took three weeks for the mail in each direction So I just I often fantasize about what it would have been like to do that same project now I bet we could have done it in maybe three or four years certainly much much less time JNSL And at that time then was Angeliki Laiou or was Thomson AMT There were actually three directors at D O during the course of preparation of the ODB Giles Constable was there at the beginning and was very very helpful in getting helping to arrange for the publication with Oxford University Press He was very involved in those negotiations and actually signed the contract He also did help a bit with the original planning process and initial contact with NEH although he didn t have anything to do with the actual application Then in the middle years Robert Thomson was there from so let s see Constable left just as it started but was very involved in getting it launched then Thomson was there for the heart of the project 84 89 and he was a key author himself he wrote all the entries on Georgia and Armenia and was a model contributor It was my great privilege to work very closely with him on editing his entries and it was so easy to work with him because he everything was in such good shape the first time around And he was very conscientious about meeting deadlines and very reasonable about doing revisions and it was just a great pleasure to work with him And then Angeliki Laiou by the time she came it was really at the very end when we were sending it to press and reading the proofs So she she herself was on the advisory board and did contribute some entries but by the time she became Director it was winding down essentially so she was not so involved with it JNSL I d like to ask you a question about the beginnings of your Greek reading group with the Fellows Did that start under Kazhdan or were you the beginner of that AMT I would say that it did begin under Kazhdan although it was called a seminar then He called it his weekly seminar and he since he was a full time researcher he very much enjoyed having ways of interacting with the Fellows on a more sort of formalized basis and very often volunteered to give courses of various sorts or to meet somewhat less formally with the Fellows To tell the truth during the 80s I was so busy working on the Dictionary of Byzantium that I was not able to attend most of these sessions I just felt I had my time was so limited here that I couldn t take the time off to do what would have been a great pleasure for me But it wasn t part of my job so I actually did not attend any of his seminars in the 80s I did attend in the 90s when he presented essentially his history of Byzantine literature as a series of really lectures over the course of a year But in the 80s I just would hear about them from colleagues I know he did for example a Psellos reading course and he would pick texts and they would read with a group but unfortunately I can t tell you very much about it since I didn t personally participate in that JNSL In what year did you become a Senior Fellow AMT I was appointed a Senior Fellow the year I became Associate for Academic Affairs which was perhaps a little bit strange because I was a staff member and I was quite junior but the director Giles Constable was for some reason very anxious that I be on the Board of Senior Fellows and so he did appoint me and I stayed on for five years JNSL And were the duties at that time similar to what they are today I mean in terms of selecting people What were your responsibilities AMT Yes it was primarily the selection of the Fellows and very much advising on academic policy and various types of problems which emerged In those days when Dumbarton Oaks was very involved I m talking now about the late 70s and very early 80s Dumbarton Oaks was still involved to a certain extent in field work It had actually it wasn t as much still actively engaged in field work but with the aftermath of these projects and ways of publishing them or dealing with the materials and there were a lot of problems with various projects Kalenderhane Djami for example there were grave difficulties in its publication dissension and disagreement between the two chief editors and great delays and so the Senior Fellows spent a great deal of time trying to remedy that situation There were also many difficulties with the San Marco project which was more a project to photograph mosaics and publish them That s what I have you know very distinct memories of spending a great deal of time on that kind of issue JNSL And were there many women involved in the field when you first began Or how has that changed through the year You mentioned Angela Hero was also a student of Ševčenko AMT For the M A she was a Meyendorff student she went to Columbia for her M A and to Fordham for her Ph D but I first met her when we were in the same seminar at Columbia with Ševčenko There were almost no senior women in the field when I was a graduate student and in my early years as a post doc researcher Certainly Serarpie Der Nersessian who had been the great exception had retired by the time I came to Dumbarton Oaks so I don t think I ever actually met her She was somewhat of a legend but I never got to know her personally She moved to Paris so she didn t come back to Dumbarton Oaks after she retired At the symposia there were at first no women speakers as is very readily apparent if you look at the photographs of the symposia of the 60s and 70s And I know that we always were very conscious when a single woman would be invited to speak and that was another way in which the 1972 symposium was so earthshaking because when the young people were invited to speak many women were included in that so that was another sort of consciousness raising event Now there were many junior women and we were very supportive of each other and I think most of us have done fairly well in the field but we did not have many role models to follow At Harvard as an undergraduate I only had one female professor in four years and that was in astronomy At Columbia I had no female professors I had one female instructor in Turkish At Dumbarton Oaks there were no female members of the faculty so it was a very very different situation JNSL Did your work in the 70s and 80s did you ever have opportunities to travel to Greece and Turkey through your connections with Dumbarton Oaks AMT No I had absolutely no opportunity to travel except any just personal trips I arranged on my own I in fact didn t go to Greece I think for a period of well there were long gaps in my visits to Greece unfortunately and to Turkey JNSL But Dumbarton Oaks always had a very international AMT I certainly met people from all these countries definitely yes JNSL And let s move on to the beginnings of the Hagiography Database project if you could remember Was that an idea of Kazhdan s originally AMT It was yes Maybe I should backtrack to talk a little bit about my own emerging interest in hagiography because this is a topic which I knew really almost nothing about as a graduate student When I worked on my dissertation I did use two saints lives of the patriarch Athanasios as a major source but I didn t think of them as saints lives really I thought of them more as historical sources and I d never read any other saints lives believe it or not So I was not aware of how they were typical or atypical of the genre or anything like that I had nothing to compare them with and really a sort of a series of coincidences I think led me into the study of hagiography The first and absolutely key event was while I was here at Dumbarton Oaks working on the letters of Athanasios Ševčenko mentioned to me that in the microfilm collection was a manuscript from the Halki Library in Istanbul which included not the letters of Athanasios but it was devoted to the cult of the patriarch Athanasios and he was aware that there was an unpublished text of the posthumous miracles of Athanasios and he suggested that I look at this to help me with the biography of the saint which I would need to write for the dissertation So I did find it and you know read enough to realize that it very important and interesting text But I had little time to do anything with it because I had to focus on the letters for my dissertation But after I finished the dissertation I decided that I really wanted to work on this unpublished manuscript again not that at that point I was particularly interested in saints cults or thinking of it as hagiography but because it was connected with Athanasios and I was really interested in the afterlife of this historical figure whom I d worked on so much But as I worked on the text which included the account of the translation of his relics and thirty nine of his posthumous miracles I became absolutely fascinated by the text itself and this was the beginning of my very strong interest in healing shrines and the development of saints cults But I still I would say was not reading more broadly in hagiography at that point Then when Kazhdan came to Dumbarton Oaks I discovered that he had a very strong interest in hagiography and he had been extremely frustrated in the Soviet Union because this was a verboten topic and he was unable to pursue research on it and he was only able to publish one article on the life of the patriarch Euthymius of Constantinople and he was able to get away with it because that particular text closely resembles a historical chronicle And he called it the Chronicle of Psamathia instead of the Life of the Patriarch Euthymius and titled his article something like Two Tenth Century Chronicles And he got away with it because there was this woman who had to read everything he wrote and give the imprimatur before it could be published But that was the only thing he could do so when he came to the United States he felt this extraordinary sense of liberation that he could now read whatever he wanted and write on whatever he wanted and he set himself a regiment of reading the life of every saint before the tenth century and taking copious notes on these vitae on these little tiny cards about this big And he was primarily interested in the information these texts revealed on realia and every day life although he did read the texts extremely carefully and he noted down all kinds of information And he was interested in the date of composition and he was interested in the authors and he had all kinds of interests But his primary focus was on the information on everyday life and he put together a work which is unpublished but available in the Dumbarton Oaks library which he called a bio bibliography in which he assembled an account an entry for each vita in which he wrote a brief a paragraph on the saint the author of the work the date of composition and then a complete bibliography And it s an extraordinarily piece of work Someone someday should revise it update it and publish it or do it on the website or something because it s still a very valuable piece of research So that s one thing he did but while he was doing this and writing many articles on the lives he read he began to think about ways in which he could make what he called his little cards more widely available to Byzantinists And he himself was not very comfortable with computers He started using a computer as a word processor around maybe 1990 I would say but he used it only as a word processor And so he had to rely completely on others to understand how a relational database could be developed and disseminated JNSL And I have one last followup question Who else was involved in who else worked on that project AMT The two primary staff members were Alexander Alexakis and Lee Sherry Lee worked for it for I believe five years Alexander maybe for three years And then we had three other sort of shorter term employees Stephanos Efthymiadis and Stamatina McGrath and Beate Zielke so there were six altogether who worked on it and the project lasted I believe from 1991 to 1997 JNSL And so that was during Angeliki Laiou s time as Director AMT Yes that s right and also while Henry Maguire was the new Director of Byzantine Studies JNSL When was that position restored AMT In 1991 yes JNSL That must have been an exciting time AMT It was indeed What I am told had happened is that Robert Thomson when he stepped down as Director of Dumbarton Oaks after only one five year term and I am told that he strongly recommended that the position of Director of Byzantine Studies be reinstated but then they hired Angeliki Laiou as the new Director And since she was the most specifically byzantinist director that Dumbarton Oaks ever had I think that perhaps some people thought well maybe it s not necessary since she s the director But she herself came to realize fairly soon that she felt that the position should be reinstated and so she hired she came in 1989 and Henry Maguire started in 1991 and was here for one five year term He was on leave from the University of Illinois and that s all that s the maximum leave he could get JNSL And you became Director of Byzantine Studies in 1997 AMT Correct JNSL Can you maybe speak a little bit about that era AMT Well first of all there was a transitional year that Henry left Dumbarton Oaks in 1996 and for again reasons that I do not understand although it was well known that he would be leaving that year no search was mounted for his replacement And so Angeliki became the de facto Director of Byzantine Studies once again in 96 97 But at that point I was working two thirds time I think for Dumbarton Oaks at that point and she or six tenths time I can t remember something like that and she asked me to take on all the responsibilities for publications and work full time at Dumbarton Oaks and move to Washington and so my husband took early retirement from the Cleveland Museum of Art and we moved here in 1996 and so during that transitional year I did do all of the work that the Director of Byzantine Studies does in terms of publications and Angeliki was involved with the primarily the organization of academic events she retained those duties for herself And then in the spring of that transitional year there was a search and I was hired JNSL Wonderful and it must have been very in a way very relieving for you to finally be here permanently and not having to commuting must have been very tiring AMT Yes over my career I did commute for fourteen years so it was a very very long time But I was very fortunate that Dumbarton Oaks always permitted me to stay here in the Fellows Building and so that meant I didn t have to get a separate apartment And so it was relatively easy to go back and forth and although Ohio for people in Washington Ohio sounds like it s very far away but the plane trip is actually only one hour so it s no further than going to New York and there s no time change So that meant it was doable definitely but yes it was very nice not to have to commute any more and to be here on a full time basis JNSL How were your responsibilities articulated when you took up the position or what were your main responsibilities at that time That s changed through the years AMT Well there was a major change in the organization of Dumbarton Oaks which occurred under Ned Keenan I became Director of Studies in 1997 and Angeliki left one year later and then Ned Keenan was director from 1998 to 2007 At the time that I became Director of Studies in 1997 there were the three programs of studies organized much the same way The Director of Studies had very broad responsibilities and each of us supervised the library collection in our field and we supervised any types of collections in our field So when I began I had the Byzantine librarian reporting to me and she in turn supervised eight staff people and then the Byzantine curator who in turn supervised two staff people and then the curator of the what was called the Byzantine visual resources what s now the Image Collection and Fieldwork Archive and she in turn supervised about three people so I had as did the other directors of studies very broad supervisory responsibilities And we were much more involved with the collections and the library at Dumbarton Oaks and this was the system that had been in place for Byzantine studies since the beginning But Ned Keenan decided that it was silly for example for there to be three separate libraries each having a cataloger and that it would make more sense to integrate the libraries and have a single either cataloger or cataloging staff who would do everything and that acquisitions should be concentrated in one or two individuals and not have such duplication of effort in the three programs He felt there would be efficiency of scale and that it might be handled in a more professional manner so he began with the library and the first thing that happened was that the three libraries were integrated in name In those days all the library all the books were still in the Main House and there was no way of physically integrating them so they remained physically separate But a head librarian was hired and slowly the process began of reorganizing the library staff and so that there was a cataloging department and an acquisitions department and then there were specialist librarians in each field who were responsible for working with the Fellows and visitors and for recommending acquisitions of books And that system was fully instituted by the early 2000s and so that was one major major change Then when Susan Boyd retired in 2004 Ned Keenan made a similar decision to integrate all the museum collections and to have a museum director such a title had never existed before here and to no longer have the Directors of Studies supervising the collections and so in 2004 actually we were searching simultaneously for a new museum director and for a new Byzantine curator and Gudrun Buehl was hired as Byzantine curator and we hired another woman as the museum director but unfortunately she in the end was unable to come and had to withdraw She was living in Germany and there were complications about her pension I believe from the German government and Gudrun Buehl had made such a positive impression that she was rapidly promoted to be museum director and she effectively has been serving as Byzantine curator ever since And so then she took over supervision of for example the Pre Columbian curator and also of the photographer and the head of the docents and the museum shop and so that was another major shift And then the I can t remember the date of this but also sometime in the early 2000s the what used to be called the photo collection and fieldwork archive was transferred to be under the head librarian and so I no longer had responsibility for that So there was a major loss I would say of responsibilities The Director of Studies definitely has a weaker position than in the earlier days On the other hand I do think that most of these decisions were good ones to make that with the increase in the size of staff at Dumbarton Oaks and with the increasing complications of the digital age and all that it has made a great deal of sense to do this this reorganization and that things are going well with the new system and as it turns out I ve still had more than enough to do because of I would say increasing responsibilities in other areas primarily publications and academic organization of academic events But that I d say has been a very major change here in the past twelve years JNSL Which parts of your job as Director did you cherish the most did you enjoy the most AMT Oh JNSL a part from I m sure there were a lot of difficult administrative responsibilities AMT Well I think I probably enjoy interaction with the Fellows the most but that actually is a rather small part of the job I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of the organization of academic events which have been hard work but I think have had good results and it s been a wonderful way of bringing so many tremendous scholars to Dumbarton Oaks and they ve resulted in good publications so I ve enjoyed having a role in that I ve spent most of my time on publications that definitely is the lion s share of the position now I think it may always have been fairly important although in the early days I think fieldwork the supervision of fieldwork was an extremely important component and that stopped completely in the 1970s and also I think when Kitzinger was Director of Studies for example I m sure he was more involved in the museum because of his interest in art but the publications are just a constant constantly demanding because of the need to

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  • Natalia Teteriatnikov (DOA Interview) — Dumbarton Oaks
    at that time and he asked me one thing just to keep all the materials together so I tried as I could but later on when I properly arranged these materials Now I started first to deal with the drawings and before re housing the drawings and storing them because they were stored in very rusty metal cabinets actually map cases There were three map cases two small map cases and one very large one So I went to Harvard because Harvard at that time received three hundred thousand dollar grant to restore and install actually Richardson s drawings and it was publicized in the Harvard newspaper So I went there and learned about the installation of these archives and the materials So it was certainly helpful and here in Washington I went to the National Gallery and to the National Archives and looked at their display and arrangement of all the drawings and sure enough they were in the metal modern map cases archival folders and so on and so forth So I used the materials I bought two map cases Unfortunately we didn t have enough space and archival materials such as folders paper tissue paper and so on and so forth And I started to sort of access them to catalogue them on EmbARK and then in the year 2000 when we began digitization project I digitized all of these drawings That is why right now the current staff could easily put them on the Web Now we there was of course much more to the discussion of the fieldwork archives and hopefully I will talk about it tomorrow but I just want to add that some of the materials other materials came later in several installments When we were about to move to the new library in 2005 the I think the Assistant of the Director brought me some boxes from the archive it was from the Byzantine Institute archive and large number of materials came from James Carder These were in folders some were just loose materials and photographs which I later identified For example I can tell you an interesting example we have now a wonderful exhibition of Diaghilev called Ballets Russes which is in the National Gallery I don t know whether you saw it but I advise you to see it It s a wonderful exhibition And when working on this archive I saw a tiny little I think it s a water color color image a color image of an oriental man and there was a little inscription in Russian called Скороход which is a runner Well I immediately recognized that this image belongs to the theatrical part of the Diaghilev Ballet and it was from probably the costume design And Whittemore who certainly knew everybody in Europe in those days in the 1920s and 30s when Ballets Russes was so popular in Europe and in Paris particularly He certainly knew the artists who did this particular image and probably from I think the ballet of Scheherazade Anyway this is just a little thing which is a memory for me which I hope may be even published which I connected with the exhibition which is right now in the National Gallery and you can see similar images there Anyway so all these materials I organized I didn t have a chance to work on the Van Nice paper materials but I did work on the Byzantine Institute and Thomas Whittemore materials on the conservation of Hagia Sophia and on conservation of Kariye Djami and many other archives I added some of the archives as well and I wrote a very detailed manual of all the archives very detailed descriptions which I think was used as a basis by current staff And I think what I ve heard that it s probably some some changes were made technical changes were made but it was put on the Web because it was basically complete in its content and the description So I certainly learned a lot dealing with this archive and I continue to use this archive in my publication I m really grateful that I had this unique opportunity In the year 2000 we started digitization and that was a very difficult project For this we established standards of the city names country names As you know after the fall of the Berlin Wall countries changed and cities which belonged to one country belonged to another country and our collection reflected all of this So after all this situation with the countries settled I waited for several years then we started All staff worked on that on the city the names of the city We used of course the Library of Congress standards for the geographic names Even our volunteers worked on this project So we had to shift the entire collection photograph collection and slide collection in the photograph collection which changed all the names of the countries shifted all materials which belonged to each city and so on It was incredible project because things should be retyped the names should be retyped and applied to each photograph The same should be done for the slides because in the slides we didn t use full name of the country but we used the abbreviations and the abbreviations also came from the system of abbreviations of the Library of Congress Now during the project on EmbARK I think the entire Dumbarton Oaks was involved I had two choices either to choose the library program for computerization or to choose the EmbARK And my choice was with EmbARK because at least we will be able to have and retrieve materials together with the Byzantine Collection because we had similar objects But I went and I saw Harvard s project and I gave advice at that time to obtain this program but unfortunately at that time the decision was different So we had no other choice Now there was a sort of two programs which were going on simultaneously the EmbARK program and digitization program So we digitized almost all our slides large format color transparencies and the drawings Van Nice drawings and the Byzantine Institute drawings and this was a very difficult project because we dealt with the Image Delivery System company and they constantly redo the images either because they were placed upside down or backwards and so on and it was so difficult that finally in about 2004 the project was discontinued Even some of the incorrect images are still on EmbARK I know that because we were not able to change them because we no longer dealt with the company So the project was stopped because we were supposed to move to a new library Now with the EmbARK project there was also lots of work on the object names on the monument names and I m sure that all department created this list but this list should be constantly updated because if you introduce one monument that means the city and the name of the monument can also be added to the list So EmbARK was really continuous project and everybody dealt with that my staff at that time myself and Katherine Hill Smiljka Soretić Before Katherine Michelle Savant worked on the project as well So it was a big project and not always enjoyable but as a result we did digitize how many probably close to fifty thousand images for a very short time for four years And that means all images had to be processed I checked myself every image many times because you have to check how it was done the color corrections we did constantly and so on and so forth And the color corrections were necessary because many color transparencies lost their color For example Underwood when he photographed Kariye Djami he had small budget I read about it in his archive And he didn t have the money to buy really good new film so he bought often expired film and that s why there was a considerable change of color So we tried very hard to somehow restore the images The images were very important I can tell you know that If you go to Kariye Djami the image of the Virgin in the knave lost the right eye Therefore Underwood s material is very important For example the Archangel Michael image in the Parekklesion I just recently found my own image digital image which I photographed several years ago in Kariye Djami and I noticed that the inscription the monograph of Michael was barely visible but it is very well visible in the Underwood picture published in his two volumes I m sorry three volumes The fourth volume was published later So that is I m just telling you this to show how valuable these archival materials and photographs are Now there was also lots of work on the restoration of the color copies The one which you see here as the centerpiece of the Anastasis is one of the fourteen color reproductions which were made by the Byzantine Institute Some belonged to the images of Hagia Sophia This one and others were reproductions of images from Kariye Djami These reproductions of Kariye Djami were done by Phillip Thompson I discovered that he did it He was a British painter who worked for Underwood Earlier reproductions were done by the Byzantine Institute but I found these some of these reproductions for example of the Anastasis were in rolls and stored in the boiler room For me the task was to restore all of them and to exhibit them but how Dumbarton Oaks didn t have the money The first big exhibition we did in 1998 Dumbarton Oaks gave the money for conservation of three big panels So we did a wonderful exhibition on the restoration of St Sophia mosaics and we were able to exhibit these panels and other materials from the archive and my book on the Fossati restoration and the Byzantine Institute was published by Dumbarton Oaks The second time when we restored them was in 2004 when Holger Klein a professor of Columbia University suggested me to do the exhibition of Kariye Djami and to take some of our materials I actually suggested him to apply for a grant to restore color reproduction There was one trick I knew to apply for grant from the Kress Foundation because it was Kress Foundation who gave money for the restoration of Kariye Djami and publication of Underwood three volumes So all of this was beneficial for our color reproductions When Van Nice passed away in 2004 I organized our first exhibition in the hallway of Dumbarton Oaks to honor his survey architectural survey of Hagia Sophia Van Nice was extraordinary person I was fortunate that I was able to talk to him when I was a Fellow I remember when we were sitting in the Fellows Building at lunchtime one scholar who s name I will not mention was passing by and said Hi Bob Are you still doing Hagia Sophia And Van Nice always had a sense of humor and he said Of course Is there anything else And when I went through his drawings of course I knew him so well near one minaret of Hagia Sophia which was drawn very carefully in small details there was a curse I found a curse which it said In millions of years don t draw this minaret We had ten exhibitions after that and Alice Mary Talbot who was really supportive in making this exhibition she was personally involved and I must say very enthusiastic I m very grateful for her and for her help and support I did mention can I come back a little bit JWC Yeah yeah NT I should mention that after the exhibition was opened in 2004 after our color reproductions were restored we sent them for an exhibition to the Columbia University gallery It was really a great success The exhibition was opened at that time there was a great exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum Faith and Power And then this exhibition traveled to the Krannert Art Gallery at Urbana Champaign in Illinois where I worked with Bob Ousterhout who worked on the installation of this exhibition and that was really fun to work also with Bob at that time I traveled together with Stephen Zwirn from the Byzantine Collection It was even more pleasant to have scholarly interactions and discussions The next trip was to Istanbul to a Koç Museum where another exhibition on Kariye Djami took place in 2007 where the catalogue was also published There were two catalogues One Restoring Byzantium in 2004 and in 2007 a catalogue called Kariye organized by Holger Klein and Bob Ousterhout I wrote an article for both of them on the Byzantine Institute and the restoration of Kariye Djami where I published many photographs some drawings and so on and so forth Also we were able to publish albums which I found just by occasion in our department just before during our first move to the new space We had also moved at the end of the during the early 1990s we got new space which previously was occupied by the library So at that time we were cleaning up all kinds of materials and there were albums which were stored above the supply cabinet which was in a passageway through which everyone in Dumbarton Oaks used to pass through The albums were behind the door The door was always open so you were practically not able to see them So when I opened the door I saw the album When I started to look through I realized that one was a piece called Byzantina but the second one contained photographs of yacht and people And then I slowly start to recognize an image of Thomas Whittemore and then his friend and then I identified this album He s actually it was records of his trip on this yacht to Greece and Turkey So the album was included in this exhibition on Kariye Djami in the Koç Museum So there are many other things perhaps some things you would like to ask me JWC Yeah I know we had heard a few stories about the Kariye Djami Is it true you found that initial set of prints you said in the boiler room you were doing a walk through with Henry Maguire Is that correct He pointed them out Is that a story you could tell NT I was told yes by Henry Maguire that there were it was a while away I don t want to misrepresent what I am saying But I learned probably from Henry but also from the staff of the boiler room that the copies were there My fear was that I open and because it s very dry there I was afraid that it would be a really serious restoration Fortunately the canvas was in a pretty good condition I found when I found the conservator his name is Arthur Page when I went to his studio on 7 th street we discussed the way these panels should be laid out For example if we wanted to exhibit Anastasis in three panels because it is an apse decoration and the surface is curved but the painter of course did a flat surface So we did it on three panels It was my decision because I thought it will really show the authenticity the way artists work I choose the material for the backing of the panels because I thought it would be easier to display them as you can see now A few panels which were not restored are still in the archives and I think they are still on the rolls There was another exhibition in the Prince George Community College organized by Svetlana Popović She also asked me whether we can give our copies for this exhibition and I certainly was happy about it Two of our images were included in the exhibition and in your little booklet I wrote a paper which is unpublished yet but I hope I will be able to publish it on the color reproductions from Dumbarton Oaks and I gave a lecture because she organized a series of lectures and she invited different scholars to talk The subject I spoke on was of color reproductions Dumbarton Oaks copies That was practically beneficial What can I say Those are sort of things which we did there many more are still to come Of course during the years I had great opportunity to deal with people and to have many friends who either lived at Dumbarton Oaks like Alexander Kazhdan and his wife Musja were my close friends I always want to remember them because they were very hospitable to scholars Lots of people have the chance to be in this house Have chance to eat dinner or sometimes breakfast They were always hospitable They had one secret which I wanted to tell you They liked to serve quince jam Kazhdan always admired Dumbarton Oaks the gardens And he walking through the garden he discovered two quince trees He also discovered when the fruits are ripe they fell down and squirrels come and eat them So he knew the time when the fruits were about to fall and he was checking the fruits and tried to get them first before the squirrels come So he bring it to Musja and they make a display before all the friends come and enjoy the scenery and they later on enjoy the jam So this is a Dumbarton Oaks hidden story laughs JWC Everyone has a story either about parties they went to at his house or his hospitality NT Right He also had a very welcoming office in the library where he had little card catalogue with tiny little cards which he brought from Russia

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  • Natalia Teteriatnikov (ICFA Interview) — Dumbarton Oaks
    and I think that was good and he was really he wanted his students to come up with new ideas And that I think was wonderful to me because sometimes you will come to him and tell him what you come up with and he is clearly bored And when you see his face you realize well that you did practically nothing And yes and his reaction to what you are doing with all his students really appreciated and his criticisms too because that was important when you criticize and you see that you have to adjust and you have to find new way of dealing with the monument I passed the two hours exam which was oral exam and the professors would show you any slide on the screen and try to trick you so Tom Mathews showed me Bodrum Camii photographs from the thirties that I couldn t recognize because then this church was restored and you can hardly see that it is the same church So there were things like that but I enjoyed that actually And then he suggested me to write two weeks paper and he gave me several choices and I choose to write on Leo s Bible And so you have to write a chapter of a book during two weeks And that was challenging even to edit this paper was needed that time And he left I don t remember where but he was not in his office and when I went to Freer Art Gallery to see the book which was published on Leo s Bible I realized that it was in black and white And I needed to write on style and I needed color So in color it was not published at that time in color so I went to the administrative office and asked to open Tom Mathews s office because I knew that he had original slides he made himself from the Leo s Bible So people were very generous and supportive of me and they opened the office and gave me the slide So I was able to finish the paper because otherwise I was so nervous how can I write on style without even seeing the Bible and without understanding color So I completed the paper and I think Tom Mathews suggested me to write a dissertation on the subject but I choose not because I thought that I came from Russia and I didn t travel much so I really dream to see the monuments and I choose another subject on to write on the program of the apses of Cappadocian churches So this was of course ambitious project RR Because you wanted to travel NT Yes because I wanted to travel but of course I wanted to do the project as well because it was interesting And you have to see a lot when doing this project So I applied for a grant of course at that time I already got the traveling grant because I was already a citizen I got a fellowship to go to Turkey and then to study So I went to Turkey but I had to get a permit to work in Cappadocia so I went to Istanbul first and I met wonderful people in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul The Director at that time was Nusin Asgari who was who is a very famous scholar She is still there currently retired RR What year is this Late seventies NT It was I came here to Dumbarton Oaks as a fellow 82 83 It was 81 82 And it was wonderful She was extremely helpful She told me many she gave me lots of information on the marbles of Hagia Sophia Her articles on the system of how the marbles were cut and how revetments of Hagia Sophia got this wonderful book matching patterns And I got many friends I met wonderful conservator Revza Ozil who became a friend When I went to Cappadocia and met her there she showed me frescoes of Karanlik Kilise on the scaffolding and I was able to photograph I have excellent photographs from the scaffolding of Karanlik Kilise So later on I will give them to Dumbarton Oaks these photographs because I photograph with a tripod and Rolleiflex The reason I had Rolleiflex because when I was in Istanbul I was photographing with my Minolta automatic camera and in Bodrum Camii I jump and the camera slightly touched the wall or something So that automatic system died the camera I was not able to use the camera So I went to all the shops and everyone told me that it is not possible to fix it but to purchase a camera in Istanbul I first of all I didn t have enough money second it was dangerous thing to do So I went to the German Archaeological Institute and the photographer Dr Schiller also suggested not to buy the camera but he said I will give you my own camera which my wife was using She s not here right now You will bring it back when you finish I purchase the film and I never use this camera so he taught me how to use this camera So I got my best pictures with this camera I even developed I brought with me the chemicals and I developed some film in the bathroom to make sure that things will come out Finally I went to Ankara to get my permit and it was oh not yet In Istanbul Nusin Asgari told me that the General Director of Antiquities of Turkey of all museums he supposed to give me a permit is in Istanbul for a few days And she suggested to make sure that I will get a permit I should see him in Istanbul And I said How Well miraculously telephone number was discovered and he was staying in the palace on Bosporus an extraordinary eighteenth century palace So I call him from my hotel and he was of course surprised I explained him that when I apply for the permit I had my Green Card I didn t have the passport yet but now I have my American passport So I didn t get the permit in the United States and I hope I will get it in Ankara So he wanted to see me and to see the passport so he said Can you come right now to the palace I said Of course yes I took a taxi and I took a huge file folder filled with the files for each church in Cappadocia and the plans and everything which I prepared for my project to show him that I m not just simply a Russian immigrant who wants to go to Cappadocia for whatever reason but I want to study So I came to the palace and I was sort of there was security there obviously and I was invited in a very beautiful room and I was waiting for him and then he came And he looked at my passport and I showed him some folders so he actually realized that I do have an American passport And he was extremely nice and we had tea and he said Okay well tomorrow I will see you in Ankara I said Okay And I immediately let everyone all my friends in Istanbul know that it looks like that I m going to get a permit So I went to the bus station I got the ticket overnight that s how I traveled there And I took all my very heavy suitcase with all these folders And when I was in Ankara I check into hotel and I went to the Ministry of Culture Of course it was a huge line It s impossible to get to see the general director there so I tried to let everybody know so I was told that I have to come back in three days because now there was vacation time and there was some kind of a holiday and all that So I went back to my hotel When I came to the hotel I saw that all my suitcase were opened all the films were opened I mean not the film was open but all the cases were open So they really wanted to check me out which was fine with me because except Cappadocian plans I had no other secret So I waited for three days and finally on the fourth day or fifth day fourth day probably I saw General Director who said Oh don t worry no problem Here you re getting the permit everything is fine if you need my help please let me know He even suggested some places to stay around Göreme So he was very nice in general And then I came to Göreme and it was magic place of course and I stay in the hotel which is little bit far I had to walk three kilometers to the actual museum When I arrived there to my surprise there was Ann Epstein Ann Wharton Epstein there with her photographer and they were photographing the Tokalı Kilise which you have actually which we have in our department I was so happy because I didn t drive and I still don t drive Somehow it s happened So Ann of course had a car and she invited me to travel with her everywhere And that was marvelous and since she of course knew Cappadocia it was good for me to travel with her and I help her to measure the plan of the burial chapel which is under the floor of the Tokalı Kilise which she published in her book And I was able to make my own photographs of the Tokalı Kilise which is not as good as her photographs because her photographs were done by the professional photographer from her university with special equipment special lighting and so forth because inside the church is very dark but still I have some decent photographs which I was able to use RR What was your focus when you photographed the interiors there NT Yes that is important That I learned in Cappadocia because I tried to get as much more coverage as I could of each monument I photographed exterior interior general view I got wide angle first and I brought one wide angle with me and that was very important to get the entire picture So you see the liturgical arrangement of all the churches I saw Of course my project was first just on apses but I needed the interior of churches For example Tokalı Kilise had three apses separated by a templon screen and so on I had good coverage of the church and then I photographed some details Of course my film was limited for my specific project I did not photograph completely everything The time was limited the money and the film RR How long did you do the project How long were you at Cappadocia NT Oh The first year probably three months But Cappadocia is very large hundreds and hundreds of churches thousands Thousands So every year I went to Cappadocia and I spent a long walking basically Occasionally I took taxis and I took people with me and sometimes children as a protection especially against dogs and in some cases not only dogs but it was dangerous I had a few serious cases when I realized it was really dangerous Therefore I preferred to have somebody with me So I did photograph a lot One year I had with me Claudia Vess who worked here with Charlotte Burk and we were good friends and Claudia worked here as a cataloguer So we travelled together and we had wonderful time so she also photographed and so it was really pleasant it was very pleasant to have her Of course it was sometimes difficult for her because I had my project and I had to finish so I had to pressure put some pressure on her to follow me but she was wonderful RR So while you were doing this project in Cappadocia you received a Fellowship a Junior Fellowship in Dumbarton Oaks NT I had a travel grant and I also received the second year a Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks and the next year the Metropolitan Museum I had another year and a half RR When did you defend your dissertation NT I think in 87 because when I was about to finish I got the job immediately at the Princeton Index and I worked there for one year finishing my dissertation working on a new job and learning the job and working on a project for an exhibition Byzantium at Princeton I wrote the entire section on the manuscript collection of Princeton University Library and I worked together with Professor Ćurčić of course who was extremely helpful Archer St Clair who was professor at Rutgers University and Professor Weitzmann s who was extremely nice to me at that time I think nobody wanted to work on this project because it was difficult project and because Weitzmann was an authority on Byzantine manuscripts RR The Index you mean NT No the manuscripts RR The Weitzmann manuscripts NT Yes I got it the project probably I think because of that But Princeton Index job was also demanding job It was a difficult job because Princeton Index as you know had a different and difficult language the way it was the way the data described in the Princeton Index it was very specific and to learn this language it took a while And of course the editor Adelaide Bennett she was extraordinarily wonderful woman absolutely wonderful She helped me a lot and we really got along very well RR What did you do for the Princeton Index NT My job was research associate to work like everybody else to do the description and to enter materials in the Princeton Index So that s how I learned the Princeton Index and I think I m grateful to the staff and especially for Adelaide Bennett because she was brilliant They all were scholars and we had also some days extra days for the research Everyone who did research had some extra days for personal research because everyone supposed to publish Those who didn t publish were not able to continue But after a year I got the telephone call from Charlotte Burk who knew me when I was a Dumbarton Oaks Fellow and she actually suggested that I apply for the job and I applied because I really wanted to be at Dumbarton Oaks and the collection was interesting I already knew the collection because I worked with it when I was a fellow RR And then when did you work with the Weitzmann Illuminated Manuscripts You mentioned that yesterday in the interview that you evaluated the Weitzman archive is that correct NT Yes RR So was that the time when you were the curator here already NT Yes I think that Professor Kessler suggested this project to install the copy of the Weitzmann Archive here in Dumbarton Oaks And it was certainly logical to have it because we had many scholars who consulted the manuscripts and it would be really easy but I also looked carefully at the manuscript collection and I realized it was interesting phenomenally because it reflected the interest of Professor Weitzmann starting from 1940s till it was finished The original archive was at Princeton University in the library in his cage it s called cage and it was sort of there And originally some people whom Weitzmann give permission to use it were able to use it not everybody So Weitzmann also had his own restrictions which is understandable So he had also some negatives for this archive but when we started to do the archive and I asked him for the negatives To make the prints from his negatives it was virtually impossible because he told me that you know over the years he used these negatives of manuscripts for his own publications He gave somebody the negatives to print and things did not come back so not all the negatives were matching their actual photographs So I ve realized it would be very time consuming to sort out what was published what was not and the idea was to re photograph the entire archive and print the photographs here in Washington So I hired the photographer I m sorry I forgot the name I have to look it up or you can look it up in some of the budgets his name is there or in the grant We have actually my grant is there somewhere in the files So he I had to find him an apartment at Princeton and he was extremely nice person and he got along Weitzmann liked him and he was able to re photograph the entire archive RR So the goal was to have copies here at Dumbarton Oaks NT Yes copies here in Dumbarton Oaks that everyone can consult but also we obtained the permission through Angeliki Laiou at that time because when the project was when we began the project Robert Thomson was the Director and he helped me to do the application because it was really serious grant We received ninety four thousand dollars for this project and Robert Thomson and Judy Siggins the Assistant Director helped me a lot So and of course Herb Kessler When the project was finished by that time Angeliki Laiou was the Director and she of course was the negotiating the permit and negotiating the policy regarding the use of the archive and the negatives with Princeton University And the result of course I wrote together the policy for this archive Also I didn t mention yesterday but I wrote many other policies as you know for various archives and everything because that was a necessary thing to do But our scholars got the benefit because we were able to provide photographs from this archive because it was very difficult to get images from Mt and still now to get images from Mt Athos from Mt Sinai from some monasteries in Tur Abdin in Turkey or some monasteries in Syria or Greek Patriarchate in Jerusalem And this archive actually have good coverage of monuments For example we had a scholar who came and she asked me she studied the Princeton Index she studied the subject of leprosy in medieval art Her name is Christine Boeckl I think She visited the Princeton Index very often but I also advised her to look at some Byzantine Job manuscripts which we had in the Weitzmann Archive because it s a kind of old tradition He was covered with sores you know this leprosy So this is old biblical tradition So she can look at this tradition in Byzantine manuscript and I think she did So the archive was extremely useful for various reasons and scholars who worked on manuscript archive like or manuscripts in general like Annemarie Weyl Carr and Nancy Ševčenko and many other people for example the Italian scholar Bernabó he consulted the Weitzmann Archive very often during my time and many other scholars I don t know how it is now Now of course the situation changed and many archives are online or but not all And I think Weitzmann Archive may be still of use And still even handy to go and check if somebody ask you about some manuscript you can just go to Weitzmann Archive and check because it is organized by the cities that s how the manuscripts were organized collection manuscript type and so on and so forth and then by the folio RR So this was the first major project that you did when you got hired as the curator of the archives NT Yes yes RR The Byzantine Fieldwork Archives NT Yes yes RR How long was that project How long did it take NT Well this project was you know it lasted actually two years but you know one year preparation and the writing the grant and finding the photographer Also you have to find get the supplies decided You have to do all planning because all this planning had to be discussed in the grant project So there was a lot of work on this And as you I mentioned yesterday the photographer printed seventeen thousand photographs and all of these were assembled in the notebooks Of course in those days we used non archival notebook like everybody else but that was handy especially in our very small space and the way scholars used it because they used it by themselves It was easier to maintain them Wipe them out and keep them in good condition So that was a project RR So what was the mission of the Byzantine Fieldwork Archives when you got hired as the curator NT Well at the beginning there was no specific mission First I had to be acquainted with archive and it took me really several years to understand what it is all about To familiarize myself and the first thing I just hired the staff and my first assistant who was a brilliant person John Koehler we started the project on the identification of each color transparency and cataloguing of the large format color transparencies of the North Adriatic Collection We had three volumes I hope they are still there three volumes with a description of all color transparencies And then all this information later was put by Katherine Hill on EmbARK But together with John we wrote all identification of the subject where this particular subject is located in Palermo Cappella Palatina in San Marco and so on We did full description just check for these notebooks I hope they are still there They were We did further polishing who was also my assistant later on When John did the project but I just want to say a few words about John because he was a brilliant person John knew computer very well He had his own five computer set up at the time and even at that time he even taught the staff of Dumbarton Oaks how to use computers and he wrote a special program and he practically computerized the entire black and white collection We have a long notebook somewhere you have to look When I left it was there long notebook with a sort of kind of primitive computerized version of the Black and White Collection it was like a pilot project Using his program to computerize our archive From the very beginning that was also my goal He was a perfect person for this Later on when he left and I remember Michelle Savant was my assistant We hire a special program maker who did also sort of a program to computerize our slide collection because we wanted to start I think Michelle put a lot of slides on this program and later on when we got EmbARK the information was transferred from this program into EmbARK RR Do you remember what program From Access Did you use Access NT Probably probably I m sorry At this moment I don t remember Occasionally I don t remember some detail because there are so many things later on that I occasionally may not remember RR Who did you report to Who was your supervisor NT Right first I report to Robert Thomson when I came Then when Angeliki Laiou RR And he was then the director NT He was the director Yes I reported to the director Robert Thomson Then I reported to Angeliki Laiou And she was excellent She was very tough as I received so many emails especially about the completion of the Weitzmann Archive as I mentioned yesterday but she was a person who committed to fiscal year budget and she was very tough on that on the completion of the project and we of course tried to work very hard everyone I think that everybody learned a lot during her terms about administration I remember sorry about that I told you my voice went down because of the humidity when she began her work I think in a week she called me at ten o clock at night and asked me a very simple question I don t even remember Something very simple But she just called me It was very nice just to ask me something about the project or something But then when the director of studies program began I reported to Henry Maguire of course who was a wonderful director of studies He was an art historian and of course he advised on various projects he was very supportive of the collection I also want to stress that Robert Thomson and Angeliki Laiou really supported the collection and they understood its importance And that was very important to me I always felt their support Of course Henry Maguire was obviously supportive of the collection And he and his wife Eunice Maguire were really nice and generous people After Henry Maguire of course Alice Mary Talbot She was not an art historian but I must give her credit and credits for her extraordinary interest in the collection She used the collection herself she always asked me for advice and questions or for example we did the Tunisian project RR The Margaret Alexander NT The Margaret Alexander archive as you know we received and I put all these materials with Margaret correction Marie Spiro together in the boxes But we didn t work on it because there were many other things But there was some requirements from the Tunisian authorities who gave permit to Margaret Alexander to photograph all these Tunisian materials that she had to return the negatives to Tunisia And since we started the digitization project I suggested that we digitize her photographs negatives and we will give digital images and send the discs to the Tunisians That way we will save the Margaret Alexander archive And so I work together with Margaret Alexander correction Marie Spiro who is a wonderful person and a specialist on Tunisian mosaics as you probably know Wonderful and knowledgeable scholar because I knew very little about Tunisian mosaics I mean I never travelled to Tunisia myself and never studied this Of course I have seen the materials and certainly I read about them but I didn t specifically work in depth on monuments and therefore it was much more difficult to do this project very quickly So Margaret correction Marie Spiro was very helpful to me And I of course did the needlework to pick up all the negatives As you know to look through the stripes correction strips on the light table and to pick up all these images matching them to the images in her books to make sure that everything was fine and then to digitize them and Image Delivery of course did the digitalization So at that time I don t remember I think Brooke Schilling either Brooke or Katherine It was Brooke Schilling I just don t remember at this point who also helped with this project and we were able to finish it and send the discs to the Tunisians I think we have copies still So that way the archive is safe and eventually when you decide to catalogue it and put it together in a proper way but what we did we did accession of the negatives And that was a very big job We did it at the end of my term and I felt it was extremely important to accession because as you know things can disappear very easily and things were misplaced especially during the move I don t want even to discuss it But we accession part time assistants of course did the accessioning It was really good Right now we have all accessioned negatives So that would be easier to deal with them We accessioned also the negatives for the Weitzmann Archive correction Van Nice Archive And there were a lot of them because they were sitting in my office but there was always no time and almost at the end before we move we did the final accession of these negatives But there were no time to work I did not work on the Weitzmann Archive correction Van Nice archive although I work on his drawings Yes But not on his papers I would even like to come and look at the papers because no time as you know we did quite a lot Everyone was busy and therefore it was not possible to finish everything RR What other collections did you acquire while you were the curator So we know you were responsible for the acquisition of the Weitzmann Archive and the Margaret Alexander collection What other collections NT Well I acquire all the black and white photographs All I acquire I dealt with the photographers I personally wrote them letters I did all the budgets I did all the planning the planning for all the projects for everybody I did all the black and white collection acquisitions Nobody else did RR Did you have to get the permission from your supervisor either Robert Thomson or NT Right I would usually write a proposal for the whole year and I d give the budget to the supervisor and also to Marlene because Marlene was extremely helpful over the years She was extraordinary as a person generous wonderful and extremely helpful I m sure not only I but everybody benefited from her help Especially at the beginning you have to learn how to do the budget make sure that it is approved and to make sure that it makes sense The money was always limited I discuss and sometimes my supervisor might also reasonably say Why do we need that For example when I came Dumbarton Oaks was different at that time And the focus was on major monuments Minorities were not in favor Which means provincial art was not in favor because scholars focused on major centers Constantinople Rome Thessaloniki and so on and so forth And I knew already by that time how important provinces were travelling Not only Cappadocia because when I went to Cappadocia at the same time I traveled to Israel to compare Cappadocian churches with the churches in Israel and Egypt And I spent months in Egypt in rural areas which is very hard to get And I saw this wonderful fifth and sixth century churches Extraordinary well preserved and I understood their importance And when I was in Russia I traveled a lot in Georgia Crimea How important the Georgian and Armenian churches were where we have fifth and sixth seventh century materials to compare with Byzantium So in my acquisitions year after year you can look we right now have one of the best collections of black and white photographs of Georgian architecture sculpture programs Armenian less but Georgian especially We have also Egyptian materials because I suppose it is the Elizabeth Bolman project of St Anthony Monastery and later on her work on Red Sea I m sorry on White and Red monasteries where I went during my fellowship years and I saw these churches very well So I made acquisition of all of these materials and now Armenian and Georgian collections everybody interested Everyone want to compare But now we have these materials I remember during the last years when I about to leave what is her name Brooks RR Gerri NT No no NT The scholar young scholar who also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts Sarah Brooks She just asked me Do you have any parallels for some subject she was working on in she was working on St Sophia in Trabzon I said Of course There are Armenian churches and you can take a look at this Also I think I left with Gerri I just donated some photographs of some Georgian metalwork Somebody gave it to me personally I just And so then but scholars interested in this because it s new materials which they want to incorporate now in their research and Dumbarton Oaks already have it Because in those days I remember even in the library post Byzantine art was also not in favor And even the accession I remember one book on the fourteenth century art was de accessioned because Dumbarton Oaks s focus was on classical period early period middle Byzantine Late Byzantine art was not at that time at the beginning when I worked in favor but later on it was Because there was an exhibition Byzance après Byzance and a book published books and articles began to be published on post Byzantine art and of course after Faith and Power exhibition which Helen Evans did in the Metropolitan Museum Of course late Byzantine art become so important that there is no even question that people would like to have these materials And the collections are full Byzantine art For example in Greece all museums have huge collections of icons fifteenth sixteenth and even seventeenth century I did accept some materials some icons some frescos from Romania for example which give also very interesting information about the development of Byzantine art So I also encourage you to do that Also I just want to point out about a few other things which we also work on in our collection It is the maintenance of all the archives that were done before me This is for example the Census of American collections and Canada It was when I came it was very difficult to maintain There was a decision And professor Herb Kessler participated in the discussion and we all agreed that we discontinue to update part of the Census which dealt with pre historic material and so on We only updated materials which had to do with early Christian and Byzantine art I did include some of the materials and we updated this Census and included some of the materials So there was also a Census of Ivory Corpus which I think was done during the time of Charlotte Burk and ivory corpus was I think supervised by Gary Vikan and who of course knew the materials very well You ll see fantastic photographs of Anthony Cutler We also updated these materials ordering photographs from various museums You understand what means by ordering materials from various museums It s a needlework So you have to write many letters for each museum Ask for the records ask for the photographs and so on and so forth But the problem was the photographs cost a lot Some museums charged like forty dollars per photograph and for us it was not possible to purchase because we paid I mean later on ten dollars but at the beginning three dollars per photograph So with this money you cannot go so far We I must say did not update the corpus on Textile Corpus which I think is extremely important corpus And I suggest you to update it I really suggest that you work on this project because first the information already fall out We constantly updated the Site Books because many materials from the Site Books just fell down you know in all these notebooks these little labels which were glued they would fall down Same I noticed with the not noticed I knew about it with the Textile Corpus But we had so many projects and there were no hands and no money to work on it So these projects need special budget special person who will update them Especially now I know the Byzantine collection is interested and planning even an exhibition on textile So for you it would be

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