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COLLECTION Identifier: PH.BZ.010

Nicholas V. Artamonoff photographs of Istanbul and Turkey, 1935-1945

Scope and Contents

The collection includes 544 photographs taken in Istanbul and five archaeological sites in Western Turkey (Ephesus, Hierapolis, Laodicea on the Lycus, Pergamum, Priene) from 1935 to 1945. The collection also includes an extensive Addendum consisting of materials relating to biographical research conducted by Günder Varinlioğlu, former ICFA Byzantine Assistant Curator, and Alyssa DesRochers, former ICFA intern, in 2011-2012.


  • 1935-1945


Conditions Governing Access

All photographs have been digitized and may be consulted through HOLLIS Images (search "Artamonoff") or through the online exhibition on the collection. An appointment is required to consult the collection. Please submit appointment requests here:

For research queries, contact the staff of Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (

Conditions Governing Use

Duplication of materials in the collection may be governed by copyright and other restrictions.


4 linear feet (3 boxes of photographs, black and white 8 x 10 prints and contact prints; 4 boxes of negatives; 2 boxes of slides; and addendum - 1 box of research materials)

Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Victor Artamonoff was a Russian amateur photographer and engineer. He was born in 1908 in Athens, Greece, the son of Victor Alekseïevitch Artamonoff, a Russian Major General. Artamonoff lived in Greece, Serbia, Russia, and England before enrolling at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey at the age of 14. He lived in Istanbul from 1922 until the late 1940s, serving as an engineer at his alma mater after graduating with a degree in electrical engineering in 1930. In 1949, Artamonoff emigrated to the United States with his wife, Nathalie. The couple moved to Washington, D.C. in 1959 and Artamonoff began working as an engineer for the Public Housing Administration, later renamed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Upon his retirement, the Artamonoffs moved to La Jolla, California, where Artamonoff passed away on October 10, 1989.


The photographs and negatives are organized by accession number and negative number, respectively.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Negatives are housed in ICFA's cold storage for preservation purposes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired by Dumbarton Oaks from Artamonoff on July 11, 1962, through the support of Robert Van Nice.

Existence and Location of Copies

- Digital copies of all negatives in the collection are available through the online exhibition, "Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection" -

- Copies of Artamonoff's photographs may be found in the ICFA's Byzantine Black and White Photograph Collection under the Architecture series

Related Materials

The Smithsonian Institution's Freer and Sackler Archives holds 477 Artamonoff photographs of Istanbul and other cities in Turkey (Bursa, Izmir, Selçuk, and Yalova), as part of the Myron Bement Smith collection.

At Dumbarton Oaks, the Robert L. Van Nice Records and Fieldwork Papers, ca. 1936-1989, MS.BZ.012, includes 124 photographs in contact sheets, as well as some glass lantern slides which are believed to have been taken by Artamonoff. The contact sheets document some of the same locations as Artamonoff photographs, were taken during the same years that he was active in Istanbul, and display an artistic perspective that is similar to that of Artamonoff.

Additional photographs and records may be found in the following repositories:

- German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut), Istanbul, Turkey - Robert College Archives, Robert College, Istanbul, Turkey - Robert College Records, 1858-1986, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York, NY - The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, MO


Published in:

Alyssa DesRochers and Günder Varinlioğlu.">“Through the Lens: Nicholas V. Artamonoff and his 25 Years at Robert College,” Robert College Quarterly 41 (2011): 42-43.

Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives Staff. Blog posts related to Nicholas Artamonoff. ICFA: A blog from the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., 2011-. (

Matthew McClellan, "Snapshots of the past: Amateur photographer documented fading Byzantine ruins," Harvard Gazette (January 17, 2012). (

Günder Varinlioğlu, ed.">Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930-1947. (Istanbul: Koç University Press, 2013). Exhibition of the same name held June 26-November 10, 2013 at Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Istanbul, Turkey, Günder Varinlioğlu, curator. (

Processing Information

In 1980 all of the original nitrate negatives were copied to safety film negatives by the Byzantine Photograph Collection for preservation, and subsequently housed in cold storage. The negatives were digitized in 2010 by ICFA interns Sharon Ke, Sara Wendell, Erica Abbey, and Luiza deCamargo. The collection was extensively researched by Günder Varinlioğlu, Byzantine Assistant Curator of ICFA, and Alyssa DesRochers, ICFA intern in 2011-2012 in preparation for an online exhibition featuring Artamonoff's work.

Nicholas V. Artamonoff photographs of Istanbul and Turkey, 1935-1945: Finding Aid
Shalimar White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Dumbarton Oaks Repository

Dumbarton Oaks holds archival collections in its Rare Book Collection, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, and the Dumbarton Oaks Archives. The collections include: the papers of noteworthy scholars in the three fields that Dumbarton Oaks supports (Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape); image collections depicting objects or sites of topical interest to scholars in the three fields; Beatrix Farrand’s personal archive of letters and original drawings that document the development of the Dumbarton Oaks Garden; and institutional records and architectural plans and drawings documenting the history of Dumbarton Oaks. For more information about hours and to make an appointment to consult any of the collections listed here, please fill out the request form:

1703 32nd Street, NW
Washington DC 20007 USA