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Institutional History

John F. Haldon

Oral History Interview with John F. Haldon, undertaken via Zoom by Nikos D. Kontogiannis and Viviana Lu on July 18, 2023. At Dumbarton Oaks, John Haldon was a Summer Fellow (1980), Visiting Scholar (2008-2009), and a Senior Fellow (2007-2013).

A Century in the Gardens

GLS Director Thaïsa Way reflects on our multifaceted centennial celebrations of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

The Friends of Music

Established in 1946 as the Friends of Music, the concert program presents some of the most celebrated and promising musicians to Georgetown in the splendor of the Blisses’ former estate.

Music at Dumbarton Oaks: The Performers

Many famous or soon-to-be famous musicians performed at Dumbarton Oaks over the years, and several have reminisced fondly about their concertizing there, in both the residential and institutional periods.

Stravinsky, Copland, Tower, and Shaw

The Blisses ensured that music was given proper space in their homes, a commitment that was enhanced through their sponsorship of musicians and the commissioning of new works. Dumbarton Oaks continues this commitment through a concert series and commissioning new works from early-career musicians.

The Musical Art Quartet and the Bliss Stradivarius Viola

Mildred Barnes Bliss was an enthusiastic patron of the Musical Art Quartet. She supported the string quartet from soon after its inception in 1926 until it disbanded in 1944. The quartet performed in the Music Room each year between 1941 and 1944, and it was largely due to the success of these performances that Dumbarton Oaks decided to inaugurate a Friends of Music concert series in 1946.

Bliss-Tyler Correspondence

A searchable database of nearly one thousand letters and telegrams exchanged between Mildred and Robert Bliss and Royall and Elisina Tyler between 1902 and 1953, this resource also includes contextual annotation.

Valerie Stains

Oral History Interview with Valerie Stains, undertaken by James W. Curtin and Joshua Wilson in the Dumbarton Oaks Study on July 9, 2013. At Dumbarton Oaks, Valerie Stains is the Artistic Director of the Friends of Music and Dumbarton Oaks Music Advisor and Coordinator (since 1989).

Ercüment Atabay

Oral History Interview with Ercüment Atabay, undertaken by Günder Varinlioğlu on May 19, 2011, at Mr. Atabay’s apartment in Istanbul. Mr. Atabay was associated with people and projects in Istanbul that were sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks. The interview was conducted in Turkish, transcribed, and translated into English. English conventions are used in the translation. For example, the English honorifics “Mr.” and “Mrs.” that accompany the Turkish names are an approximation of the Turkish honorifics “Hanım” and “Bey.”

Irène J. Underwood

Oral History Interview with Irène J. Underwood (1913–2011), undertaken by Anna Bonnell-Freidin and Clem Wood, with Joe Mills as audio technician, on July 23, 2008, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Mrs. Underwood was married to Paul Atkins Underwood (1902–1968). At Dumbarton Oaks, Paul Underwood was a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies (1943–1946), a resident Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology (1946–1951), Associate Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology (1951–1960), and Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology (1960–1968). Paul Underwood was the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute (1951–1961). Mrs. Underwood died in 2011.

From the Archives

“Underworld Courier”: The Dumbarton Oaks Newsletter from the Pre-Digital Era