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Happy Anniversary

Posted On October 24, 2014 | 15:14 pm | by jamesc | Permalink
James N. Carder (November 2014)


Inaugural Reception Invitation, November 1, 1940. Dumbarton Oaks Archives.

On November 1st, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection marked its 74th anniversary. On that same date in 1940, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss hosted a black-tie reception in the newly-finished pavilions for the Byzantine library and collection. Dignitaries, museum directors, Harvard’s president, and friends from both Washington and across the country were in attendance. The reception celebrated the transfer of Dumbarton Oaks from the Blisses to Harvard University as well as the inception of a research study program in Byzantine art and culture. The following day the Washington Post reported:

One of the most distinguished gatherings in Washington this season had a preview of an unusual library and art collection last night given by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss in their Georgetown home. The occasion was the inauguration of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, housed in two recently completed buildings adjoining the Bliss residence. Scores of notables from out of town and a sizable section of social and official Washington were on hand to enjoy the event.

On the following two days, Dumbarton Oaks hosted in the Music Room inaugural lectures by Henri Focillon, Michael Rostovtzeff, Charles Rufus Morey, and Wilhelm Koehler, and these lectures were then published as the first volume of the Dumbarton Oaks Papers.

Next year, Dumbarton Oaks will celebrate its 75th anniversary. In preparation for this milestone observance, the Dumbarton Oaks Archives would welcome any written reminiscences, images, or artifacts that anyone associated with Dumbarton Oaks throughout its history would care to share. And beginning in September next year, with the arrival of the 2015–2016 Fellows and scholars, look on the website for weekly postings on the people, activities, and accomplishments significant to Dumbarton Oaks during its seventy-five year history.

For more on the Dumbarton Oaks inauguration, see From the Archives, November 2015.

Invitation to Inaugural Lectures, November 2-3, 1940 (Dumbarton Oaks Archives)
Invitation to Inaugural Lectures, November 2-3, 1940 (Dumbarton Oaks Archives)

Interior Page Left
Inaugural Invitation, Interior Page Left

Interior Page Right
Inaugural Invitation, Interior Page Right