Alexander A. Vasiliev in Mexico
James N. Carder (July 2012)
Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev (Александр Александрович Васильев) (1867–1953) is often considered the foremost authority on Byzantine history and culture of the mid-twentieth century. His History of the Byzantine Empire (2 volumes, 1928) remains one of the few comprehensive accounts of the entirety of Byzantine history. Vasiliev was a Senior Scholar at Dumbarton Oaks between 1944 and 1948 and thereafter, until his death, a Scholar Emeritus. In 1946, he made a trip to Mexico where this photograph was taken, which he reproduced as a postcard (image above). The card is inscribed on the back: “Prof. A. Vasiliev with a donkey at Tasco, Mexico. Yard of the Hotel Rancho Telva. July 10, 1946.” The Dumbarton Oaks Archives holds the Alexander A. Vasiliev Papers with an on-line finding aid. The publication of this finding aid has brought this important collection to the attention of several scholars, including Ionut Alexandru Tudorie, who prepared a biography of Vasiliev, "Alexander Alexandrovich Vasiliev (1867-1953): The Patriarch of the Byzantine Studies," that was published in Byzantinoslavica 70, no. 1-2 (2012), 283–323. The postcard and a second postcard of Vasiliev in Mexico (image below) are retained in the Alexander A. Vasiliev Papers in the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.