Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MS.BZ.018

Dumbarton Oaks research archive project papers

Scope and Contents

In the academic year of 1941-1942, Dumbarton Oaks initiated two research projects - "Fontes" and "Archives of Byzantine Art" (also known as "Archives" or "Research Archives") - which were initially supervised by Wilhelm Koehler (1941-1943) and followed by other renowned scholars, and carried out by Junior Fellows (see the list below).

The aim was to create an inventory of Early Christian and Byzantine monuments by compiling bibliographic information and photographic reproductions for each site. The goal of the Research Archive was to gather in one place all available documentation from extant publications and make this resource available to all scholars. Koehler, as Senior Fellow in charge of Research, supervised the work of Junior Fellows. Each Junior Fellow was assigned a geographic region and was responsible for surveying and documenting all the monuments within that area. For example, in 1941-1942, the assignments were, as follows: North Africa - Donald F. Brown; Balkans - Ernst Kitzinger; Italy - Herbert Bloch; Anatolia - Mary E. Crane; and Syria and Palestine - Andrew S. Keck.

The resulting collection consists of photographs and prints, along with accompanying notes from the Junior Fellow's individual findings. Geographic coverage includes: Algeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Syria, Transjordan, Tunisia, Turkey, (former) Yugoslavia.

List of participants:

Academic Year 1941-1942:

Research program supervisor: Wilhelm Koehler Junior Fellows for the "Fontes:" Paul Alexander and Milton V. Anastos Junior Fellows for the "Archives:" Franklin M. Biebel (second half of the academic year), Herbert Bloch, Donald F. Brown, Mary E. Crane, Florence E. Day, Andrew S. Keck, and Ernst Kitzinger Academic Year 1942-1943:

Research program supervisor: Wilhelm Koehler "Fontes" supervisor: Robert Blake Junior Fellows for the "Fontes:" Deferred due to the Second World War Junior Fellows for the "Archives:" Continued to contribute toward the war effort Academic Year 1943-1944:

General research program supervisors: Edward Kennard Rand and George La Piana "Archives" supervisor: Wilhelm Koehler Academic Year 1944-1945:

Research program supervisor: Albert M. Friend, Jr. Academic Year 1945-1946:

Research program supervisor: Albert M. Friend, Jr.


  • circa 1940s


Conditions Governing Access

An appointment is required to consult the collection. Please submit appointment requests here:

A detailed inventory is available here:

Conditions Governing Use

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


25 linear feet (60 boxes)


Arranged roughly in alphabetical order by region (Aegean Islands, Anatolia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, North Africa, Palestine, Sicily, Sinai, Transjordan, Yugoslavia), and then geographically by area, city, and site.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The original materials were compiled by Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellows, starting in the academic year of 1941-1942. An additional three (3) boxes relating to North Africa (Algeria and Tunisia) were found within the collection, The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers (MS.BZ.004); the North Africa boxes were removed from the aforementioned collection in February 2011 and added to the present collection.

Processing Information

Initially processed by former ICFA Curator Gerrianne Schaad, former Archives Assistant Laura Bang, and former intern Jackie Meyers, Intern (ca. 2008-2010).

Sources used for background information include: Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report, 1941-1942, p. 2-3, 7. Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report, 1942-1943, p. 1. Dumbarton Oaks Annual Report, 1943-1944, p. 2. Wilhelm R. W. Koehler, "Proposed Programme for Research at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection," Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum 9, no. 4 (March 1941): 81-84. Wilhelm R. W. Koehler, "News Reports: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C.," College Art Journal 1, no. 2 (January 1942): 34-36.
Dumbarton Oaks. Dumbarton Oaks research archive inventory of early Christian and Byzantine monuments, circa 1940s: Finding Aid
Dumbarton Oaks
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Dumbarton Oaks Repository

With more than a million unique and historical items, archival collections in ICFA represent the three areas of study supported by Dumbarton Oaks: Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape. Collections are generally comprised of administrative records, fieldwork papers, photographic prints, negatives, slides, oversize drawings, and moving images. Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9:30am-12pm and 1-4:40pm (excpet Federal Holidays).

1703 32nd Street, NW
Washington DC 20007 USA
(202) 339-6972