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Institutional Archives

The mission of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives is to inventory, conserve, store, and make accessible the institute’s past, current, and future records and artifacts. This program was initiated by Archivist James N. Carder in 1999.

The Dumbarton Oaks Archives consists primarily of (1) architectural plans and drawings of Dumbarton Oaks buildings (ca. 1920 to the present), (2) historical papers (ca. 1920–present), (3) administrative documents (ca. 1940–present), (4) documents pertaining to the institute’s fellows and scholars (ca. 1940–present), (5) images of people, events, buildings, interiors, and gardens at Dumbarton Oaks (ca. 1940–present), and materials relating to Dumbarton Oaks' founders, Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss. Other historic documents pertaining to the Blisses are at the Harvard University Archives, as detailed in Papers of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, ca. 1860–1969, HUGFP 76.xx.

The Dumbarton Oaks Archives also sponsors an Oral History Project, begun in 2008, and conducts and publishes interviews with people significant to the mission and history of Dumbarton Oaks. In addition, the Archives has published the Bliss–Tyler Correspondence Project, an annotated transcription of the correspondence (1902–1952) between Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss and their close friend and art advisor, Royall Tyler, and his wife, Elisina. A new Archives initiative is the Ephemera Collection Project. This project involves the collecting, cataloging, and publishing of ephemeral objects related to the three research interests at Dumbarton Oaks: Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. The Archives also sponsors the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project, an examination of collectors, philanthropists, and cultural institutions in the Washington, D.C., area.

Explore the Collections View Historical Records