Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: BER-40

A. Henry Detweiler photograph collection


Slides, negatives, photographic prints, and notes documenting architecture in central and northern Italy, as well as Henry Detweiller's research in architectural history.


  • Creation: 1950 - 1970


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.


6 boxes : 619 slides, 11 photo albums, 308 photographic prints, and a few negatives.

The collection comprises photographic materials and notes related to Henry Detweiler’s study of Italian architecture in the 1950s and 1960s. The bulk of the collection includes photographic materials depicting medieval and Renaissance buildings in various cities in central and northern Italy, with a special focus on Lombardy. Detweiler himself took these photos. Among them, there are 308 photographic prints taken in 1953-54 in Tuscany and Umbria (most of them mounted on cards), 619 color and black-and-white slides, and 11 photograph albums (dated 1961-63). In addition, there are xerox copies of Detweiler’s notes on Romanesque buildings in North Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Alsace, and Germany, where he traveled between 1961 and 1963. The notes are organized in chronological order and include information about his trips, the photos he took, and his thoughts about the monuments he visited.

Biographical / Historical

Albert Henry Detweiler was an American historian of architecture born in Pekarsie, Pa. on October 4, 1906 and attended high school in Bethlehem. In 1930, he received his Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and worked at Tell Billa and Tepe Gawra in Iraq, before joining in 1932 the Tell Beit Mirsim excavations in Palestine conducted under William F. Albright. He spent several other excavation seasons working as an archaeological architect in important sites in the Middle East, such as Gerasa (1932-34), Dura-Europos (1935-37), and Seleucia (1936). In 1939, he married the classical archaeologist Catherine S. Bunnell, whom he had met a few years earlier in the Agora excavations in Athens. After two years at Yale University, he became assistant professor at Cornell University (1939), where he was later promoted to full professor (1948) and associate dean (1956). He served as director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (1953-1954) and as president of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1955-1966). From this position, he joined George M. A. Hanfmann, in organizing the Cornell-Harvard Archaeological Exploration of Sardis in Turkey (1958-1970). Among his research interests were early Christian and Byzantine architecture as well as 17th century architecture in England. During the 1950s and 1960s, he visited Italy several times as he became very interested in northern Italian architecture. He died at the age of 63 on January 30th, 1970.


The collection is organized in two series by staff of the Biblioteca Berenson: 1. photographic materials, 2. notes on Italian architecture. Materials in series 1 are organized in subseries by medium: photo albums, slides, photographic prints, and negatives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The A. Henry Detweiler photograph collection was donated to the Berenson library by Catharine S. Detweiler in two accessions: June 1977 (slides and photographic prints), and June 1978 (photo albums and notes).

Separated Materials

Other papers of A. Henry Detweiler are held by the Cornell University Library, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Archives, and the American Academy in Rome.

Processed by

Spyros Koulouris

A. Henry Detweiler photograph collection, 1950-1970: A Finding Aid
Biblioteca Berenson
December 3, 2020
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies Repository

Via di Vincigliata 26
Florence 50135 Italy
+39 055 603 251
+39 055 603 383 (Fax)