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Library and Special Collections

  • Research Library at Night

  • Rare Book Reading Room, Exterior

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library exists to advance scholarship in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through the comprehensive collection of materials in multiple media, published and unpublished; description and arrangement of those materials and presence of informed staff to ensure efficient access; exhibition of collections; and preservation of knowledge in these disciplines whether in print or digital formats for use by future generations.

The general collection comprises three formerly independent collections, which together form one of the most important and comprehensive library collections for our three areas of study. The Rare Book Collection comprises more than ten thousand rare and unique materials such as volumes, prints, drawings, photographs, musical scores, and blueprints. The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) is the repository for Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape archival collections, which include administrative records, fieldwork papers, photographic prints, negatives, slides, oversize drawings, and moving images.

Library and special collections resources are available to fellows; we also welcome applications from outside scholars and advanced graduate students who need access to the library for their scholarly research. See Access and Guidelines for detailed information on hours, applying for access, and reading room rules.

Search the general and rare book collections using HOLLIS, the Harvard libraries’ online catalog.

Search the materials in ICFA using AtoM@DO, an online database of archival holdings.

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