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COLLECTION Identifier: MS.BZ.007

Josephine M. Harris research papers and photographs

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Josephine M. Harris’ documentation of Coptic architectural sculpture from the site of Oxyrhynchos, Egypt (3rd-6th century CE). It includes research notes, drafts, and correspondence, but the majority of the collection consists of photographs and negatives of Coptic sculpture in Egypt, especially sculptural fragments from the site of Oxyrhynchos. These fragments were excavated by Evaristo Breccia in 1927-1931 and became part of the collection of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. The archive provides photographic documentation for approximately 500 sculptural fragments from Oxyrhynchos. There is an unpublished manuscript by Harris, “Coptic Architectural Sculpture from Oxyrhynchos,” which includes a catalog of sculpture, footnotes, and several appendices. ICFA staff have added two addenda, consisting of copy negatives and photographs related to Harris found in ICFA's backlog and donor files (see files 44 and 45).


  • circa 1950s-1970s

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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

Photographs are for research and study purposes only.


6 boxes

Biographical Note

Harris earned a Ph.D. in Latin and Greek at Washington University, St. Louis in 1936. In 1937-1938, she became a fellow in Archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. The following year, as a special fellow at the excavations in ancient Corinth, she published coin finds. Harris was a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Research Library and Collection from 1942-1945. Under the direction of Wilhelm R. W. Koehler, Senior Fellow in charge of Research, Harris began to catalog the architectural sculpture from Oxyrhynchos, Egypt on the basis of published photographs for the Research Archive. In 1953-1954, Harris received a Faculty Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the Margaret M. Justin Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. For that year, she was granted sabbatical leave from her position as Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA in order to study Coptic sculpture in Egypt. Harris photographed and studied the Oxyrhynchos fragments from Evaristo Breccia’s 1927-1931 excavations in the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1959, Harris received additional grant funding from the American Philosophical Society to continue the project. On subsequent trips to Egypt in 1963 and the 1970s, she continued to photograph fragments from Oxyrhynchos that had not previously been published [Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1925-1931 (Bergamo, 1932); Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1931-1932 (Bergamo, 1933)].


This collection consists of two (2) series: Correspondence and Slides and Photographs and Negatives.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Slides and negatives have been removed from the document files and moved to ICFA Cold Storage for preservation purposes.

Archival history

The archive came to Dumbarton Oaks in 1966 and 1993.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives first received materials in this collection in 1995. Additional materials related to Harris were found in ICFA's backlog and donor files and added to the collection in December 2012.

Processing Information

This collection was incompletely processed by former ICFA staff members. Inventory/finding aid was revised by Rona Razon, Archives Specialist, in October 2010 and December 2012, and by Alison T. Miner, Metadata Intern, in September 2012.

Harris, Josephine M. Josephine M. Harris research papers and photographs, circa 1950s-1970s: Finding Aid
Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives
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:

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