The Collector's Microbe: Mildred and Roberts Woods Bliss and the Dumbarton Oaks Collections
"Within a year, the antiquaire of the Voulevard Raspail, Joseph Brummer, showed me an Olmec jadeite figure. That day the collector’s microbe took root in—it must be confessed—very fertile soil. Thus in 1912, were sown the seeds of an incurable malady!"
--Robert Woods Bliss, 1957
The Dumbarton Oaks Museum owes its existence to the pioneering collecting activities of its donors, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. The record of their collecting tells a story of transformation from a sophisticated passion for beautiful things to the prescient establishment of specialized research collections. The Collector's Microbe gives voice to the Blisses’ collecting passion in their own words and through the chronological display of their acquisitions.