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Sessions, Barbara F., 1899-1980

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1899 - 1980

Biography

Barbara Foster Sessions was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, on June 22, 1899, and died there on July 4, 1980. She went to Smith College, where she majored in English and minored in history. She was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1919 and graduated summa cum laude in 1920. It was also at Smith that she met the composer Roger Sessions (1896–1985), who began teaching there in 1918; they were married in 1920.

In 1925, she studied art history at the Sorbonne, and intermittently between 1925 and 1928, she and her husband lived in the Villino Corbignano on Bernard Berenson’s Florentine estate, Villa I Tatti, where she assisted Berenson as librarian and in doing research. The Sessions separated in 1933 and divorced in 1936, the year Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss hired Barbara Sessions as librarian at Dumbarton Oaks, in preparation for opening the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Barbara Sessions remained at Dumbarton Oaks until 1946.

Found in 17 Collections and/or Records:

Barbara Sessions, 1938-1943

Sub-Group — Box: H, Folder: 2Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001
Scope and Contents:

Correspondence including letters and telegrams to, from, or about Barbara Sessions, librarian at Dumbarton Oaks and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Letter from Barbara Sessions, 2 Brookside Avenue, Claremont, N.H. to Robert Woods Bliss, June 25, 1943 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 8Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:Sessions 1943.06.25
Scope and Contents: Typescript copy of a letter written in longhand sent from Barbara Sessions, Dumbarton Oaks Librarian, to Robert Woods Bliss responding to his letter about her health and return to Dumbarton Oaks for the fall term. She says it touches her that he and the other members of the Board [Administrative Committee] have been thinking of her. She feels that rate of progress of recovery from her illness does not securely promise a return to full usefulness when the new term begins. She believes she can...

Letter from Beatrix Farrand, 1650 Orlando Road, San Marino, California to Paul J. Sachs, Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 21, 1940 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 5Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:BF 1940.12.21
Scope and Contents: Typescript letter with handwritten signature from Beatrix Farrand to Paul Sachs discusses Beatrix Farrand's continued involvement in Dumbarton Oaks Gardens after the transfer of Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University. Beatrix specifically mentions the [Dumbarton Oaks] Administrative Committee formed by Harvard for Dumbarton Oaks and is seemingly pleased with its composition to encompass all of Dumbarton Oaks' activities. Beatrix is interested in meeting with John Thacher when she travels...

Letter from Beatrix Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Maine to John S. Thacher, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., June 17, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 47Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:BF 1941.06.17
Scope and Contents: Typescript letter with handwritten signature from Beatrix Farrand to John Thacher suggests signs of "private garden" rather than "no admittance" be used for areas of the Dumbarton Oaks that the public is prohibted to go. She asks if there is any news on the health of Barbara Session and discusses her compensation from Dumbarton Oaks. She reports a letter from Lawrence Morris arrived, and asks if there is any further developments for Robert and Mildred Bliss. She is writing the Blisses about...

Letter from Beatrix Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Maine to John S. Thacher, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., June 23, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 49Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:BF 1941.06.23
Scope and Contents: Typescript letter with handwritten signature from Beatrix Farrand to John Thacher clarifies Beatrix Farrand's salary and how she is to be paid. Beatrix Farrand also discusses other budget matters, such as maintenance costs for the gardens that should be accounted for in the budget and making the garden grounds available for school field trips to maintain Dumbarton Oaks' tax exemption for educational purposes. She asks for Alberta Carpenter to send her the expenses for heat, repairs, and...

Letter from Beatrix Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Maine to John S. Thacher, Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 28, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 56Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:BF 1941.06.28B
Scope and Contents: Typescript letter with handwritten signature from Beatrix Farrand to John Thacher requesting his review and comments on an attached report on the Dumbarton Oaks grounds policy. In the report, Beatrix Farrand provides her insight as to how Harvard University could adapt the Dumbarton Oaks gardens over time to better fit the institution's educational purposes. The report suggests the creation of a plant record book for Dumbarton Oaks [Beatrix Farrand's Plant Book for Dumbarton Oaks] to provide...

Letter from Henri Marceau, Pennsylvannia Museum of Art, Fairmount, Philadelphia to Barbara Sessions, Dumbarton Oaks, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., April 13, 1938 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 4Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:Marceau 1938.04.13
Scope and Contents:

Typescript letter from Henri Marceau on Pennsylvania Museum of Art letterhead thanking Barbara Sessions, librarian at Dumbarton Oaks for Mildred Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss. He acknowledges the receipt of material that has been seen and stamped by the French consulate in Philadelphia. He mentions it [the material] was sent special delivery to catch the Europa [possibly a transatlantic ship]. He hopes the photographs and description will be of service to M.[Monsieur] Mallet.

Letter from John S. Thacher to Beatrix Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Maine, June 19, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 48Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:JT 1941.06.19
Scope and Contents: Copy of typescript letter from John Thacher to Beatrix Farrand responds to her letters of June 12 (D:BF 1941.06.12) and June 17 (D:BF 1941.06.17) regarding various garden-related matters, such as Dumbarton Oaks' expense report, signage in the garden as the current ones are horrible, Beatrix Farrand's salary, Barbara Sessions recovering in Rockville, and John Thacher's travel plans to Cambridge and the Fogg Museum, Camden, and Bar Harbor. He reports having dinner on the train with Lawrence...

Letter from John S. Thacher to Beatrix Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Maine, June 25, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 53Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:JT 1941.06.25
Scope and Contents: Copy of typescript letter from John Thacher to Beatrix Farrand responds to her two letters of June 23 (D:BF 1941.06.23 and D:BF 1941.06.23B) regarding Beatrix Farrand's financial arrangements which are entirely clear in his mind. John Thacher also answers her earlier questions regarding the budget, his address while he's away, the use of the gardens for schoolchildren to be on hold until September, and work being done by John W. Davis, architect in the library at Dumbarton Oaks. Includes...

Letter from Mildred Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. to Mrs. Max Farrand, Reef Point, Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert, Maine, July 27-29, 1938 Digital

File — Box: B: 2, Folder: 35Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, B:MB 1938.07.27
Scope and Contents: Typescript letter dated July 27, 1938 and July 29, 1938 with handwritten signature from Mildred Bliss to Beatrix Farrand (Trix) tells her it is distressing news to hear about the illness and surgery of Robert Millikan. Mildred comments on Farrand's letter of July 12 and 14, 1938 on Helen Reid and prices for Nerines, and she lists questions and comments on Casa Dorinda. Mildred Bliss addresses Dumbarton Oaks building new wing and the landscape, seeking out consultation about trees from Van...

Letter from Robert Woods Bliss, 2750 Que Street N.W., Washington, D.C. to Barbara Sessions, Claremont, N.H., June 14, 1943 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 7Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:RB 1943.06.14
Scope and Contents: Copy of typescript letter from Robert Woods Bliss to Barbara Sessions, Librarian at Dumbarton Oaks, sharing his and Mildred Bliss' distress that Barbara needed to go to the hospital after arriving in Claremont, New Hampshire. He expresses their concern was lessened after hearing she had been out and about. They hope to receive glowing accounts of her "diggings" and to learn that the change of scene and air was beneficial. He mentions that during a recent meeting of the Administrative...

Letters from Robert Woods Bliss to various recipients about Barbara Session's travel for book acquisitions, July 15-18, 1938 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 5Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:various 1938.07.15-18
Scope and Contents: Copies of nine typescript letters, five in English and four in French to various recipients informing them that Barbara Sessions, Dumbarton Oaks Librarian, would be traveling to area to acquire books and publications for holes in the Dumbarton Oaks collection and asks for the recipient to meet with her and offer advice or offer help to her if needed. Letters sent to Professor Wolfgang Friedrich "Fritz" Volbach, Vatican Library, Rome; His Excellency, The Honorable Wm [William] C. Bullett,...

Radiogram from Barbara Sessions to Mildred Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss, Washington, D.C., September 4, 1938 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 6Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:Sessions 1938.09.04
Scope and Contents: Typescript RCA Radiogram from Barbara Sessions, Dumbarton Oaks Librarian, to Mildred Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss informing them that the Italian Decree [anti-Jewish laws] is effective October 16 and deprives [Teodoro "Doro"] Levi of professorship [Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cagliari]. The situation is desperate since the stipend is their only income. She asks if [Levi's] services as a filed [e.g. field] archeologist [e.g. archaeologist] could possibly be...

Telegram from Beatrix Farrand, Santa Barbara, California to John S. Thacher, Dumbarton Oaks, 3101 R Street, Washington, D.C., December 5, 1941 Digital

File — Box: D: 1, Folder: 80Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, D:BF 1941.12.05
Scope and Contents:

Western Union telegram from Beatrix Farrand to John Thacher informs him and the rest of the Dumbarton Oaks staff of Robert and Mildred Bliss' well-being. She asks for him to relay news about Ellis Russell, James Bryce, Anne Sweeney, and Barbara Sessions. "Mr. Russell" penciled at top.

Telegram from unknown correspondent to Barbara Sessions, Mildred Bliss, and Robert Woods Bliss, Paris, September 10, 1938 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 1Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:1938.09.10
Scope and Contents:

Typescript Postal Telegraph night cable letter from unknown correspondent to Barbara Sessions, Mildred Bliss, and Robert Woods Bliss while in Paris. The correspondent acknowledges the success reported in their letters and suggests sailing as soon after September thirtieth as possible. Mentions also seeing Mrs. Elisina Tyler and that Census letter mailed October third. Offers greetings to them and Mademoiselle Malye, the Blisses secretary in Paris, France.

Telegram from unknown correspondent to Barbara Sessions, Mildred Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss, Paris, September 30, 1938 Digital

File — Box: H, Folder: 2, item: 2Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, H2:1938.09.30
Scope and Contents:

Typescript Postal Telegraph cable from unknown correspondent to Barbara Sessions, Mildred Bliss, and Robert Woods Bliss informing them to accept owner's proposal and offers "Bon Voyage" indicating the correspondent was to sail soon.

Telephone message from Miss Crawford, Washington Star inquiring about a column on Dumbarton Oaks library and bindery and response from Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss's private secretary, between 1936-1946 Digital

File — Box: E, Folder: 9, item: 3Identifier: DDO-RB-GAR-001, E9:Crawford 1939.xx.xx
Scope and Contents: Typescript note of a telephone message between Miss Crawford of the Washington Star newspaper and Barbara Sessions asking if she could write a column about the Dumbarton Oaks library and bindery. In conversation with Barbara Sessions, Crawford was told to contact Mildred Bliss's private secretary who handled press relations. The private secretary told Miss Crawford that it was not logical to write about the program as it isn't sufficiently advanced and Dumbarton Oaks won't be open to the...