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Access Policy and Contact

The Dumbarton Oaks Archives collections are available to all researchers; a Dumbarton Oaks affiliation is not required. The archives generally is open on business days, excluding holidays, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. However, an appointment is necessary to use the archives, and this should be arranged at least five business days in advance of a visit by contacting When requesting an appointment, please indicate which archival collections are to be consulted.

The archives is located in the Main House at Dumbarton Oaks. The entrance is at 1703 32nd Street NW. Upon arrival, ask the security guard to contact the archives staff.

Rules for the Use of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives Collections

The Dumbarton Oaks Archives grants access to its collections subject to the institution’s policies and donor restrictions. The following rules apply to the use of all archives collections.


All researchers must complete a registration form and present photo identification.

Reading room use

  • Upon arrival, coats, briefcases, backpacks, computer cases, and other belongings must be left in the coatroom lockers located at the entrance foyer.
  • Researchers, unless they are Dumbarton Oaks staff or fellows, must be escorted between the entrance foyer and the archives.
  • Only note-taking materials (notepaper, pencils, laptop, digital camera, and iPhone) may be taken to the archives.
  • Only pencils may be used. (Pencils are available in the Archives). Pens, highlighters, and post-it notes are not allowed.
  • Food and drink, including gum, candy, and water, are prohibited from the achives.
  • No material can be retrieved for reading room use after 3:30 p.m.
  • Only a limited amount of material may be used at one time.

Handling Collections

  • All collections must be handled with care; researchers who mishandle material may be denied access to collections.
  • Items contained in folders or boxes should be consulted sequentially. Items within a folder or box or folders within a box should not be rearranged.
  • Notebooks, notepaper, and/or computers should not be placed on top of any collection materials.
  • Gloves must be worn when handling photographs. (Gloves are available in the archives.)

Copy Requests

Requests may be made for the photocopying, scanning, and/or recording of collection materials, and these requests are subject to approval. Some material cannot be photocopied or scanned due to its physical condition or other restrictions.

Publication and Distribution

Access to and use of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives collections does not convey permission to publish or distribute this material in any format. Requests for publication or distribution permission should be made in writing to and should include the following:

  • copies of the material to be published or distributed (with quotes or excerpts highlighted, if appropriate) and/or copies of images;
  • complete citations for the material to be published or distributed, including the name of the collection, title of the item, date of the item, folder title, and box number (if applicable);
  • title of the publication in which the material will appear or the purpose for its distribution;
  • name of the publisher (if applicable); and
  • anticipated date of publication (if applicable).

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