@Dumbarton Oaks

Collection PH.BZ.007 - Arthur Kingsley Porter Photographs of Architecture and Manuscripts, 1980s

Identity area

Reference code



Arthur Kingsley Porter Photographs of Architecture and Manuscripts, 1980s


  • 1980s (Accumulation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7 boxes of photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Porter, Arthur Kingsley (1883-1933)

Biographical history

American architectural historian and medievalist. Porter initially studied law and architecture before completing his studies in art history at Yale University in 1917. In 1920, he joined the faculty in the Fine Arts Department at Harvard University. In 1923, Porter took a leave to teach at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. That same year, he published Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads (Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1923), a 10-volume work that included 9 portfolio volumes of photographs taken by Porter on his extensive travels through Europe. Now housed in the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University, Porter's photograph collection includes approximately 11,000 images of medieval architecture and sculpture taken by Porter and his wife, Lucy. Porter returned to Harvard in 1925 and was appointed William Dorr Boardman chair of art history.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The selected photographs were printed from original nitrate negatives owned by the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University in the 1980s. The nitrate negatives were subsequently destroyed.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Selections from Porter's photograph collection at Harvard that Porter took and compiled in the early 20th century. These duplicate photographs depict Byzantine and Medieval architecture, wall paintings, and sculpture from Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey, as well as manuscripts and other objects from Italy and Greece.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

These photographs are arranged by country, city, site, or monument.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

This collection is unprocessed. For more information or for access to the collection, please consult ICFA staff.

Conditions governing reproduction

Photographs are for research and study purposes only. Permission to publish must be requested from the Photographic Resources Librarian at the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University (Joanne Bloom Toplyn, toplyn@fas.harvard.edu, 617-495-4656).

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A draft inventory is available: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/icfa/kingsleyporter-inventory.pdf. Also, photocopies of the original catalog records from Harvard University are available for consultation in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Photographs, copy negatives (reformatted from the original nitrate negatives), and original glass negatives may be found at the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University: Arthur Kingsley Porter photograph collection, 1910-ca. 1930 (http://id.lib.harvard.edu/aleph/000601589/catalog) and Arthur Kingsley Porter study and teaching collection, ca. 1880-ca. 1930 (http://id.lib.harvard.edu/aleph/011584366/catalog).

Existence and location of copies

Arthur Kingsley Porter study photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture, 1900s. 91.P.4. Special Collections, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa91p4.

Related units of description

Papers of Arthur Kingsley Porter, 1863-1957. HUG 1706.1xx. Harvard University Archives, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/aleph/000604356/catalog.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Name access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

This record was created by Shalimar White on January 27, 2014.




Rights area

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Rights note(s)

Preferred Citation: Arthur Kingsley Porter Photographs of Architecture and Manuscripts, 1980s, PH.BZ.007, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.



Related right





Start date

End date

Rights note(s)

Photographs are for research and study purposes only. Permission to publish must be obtained from the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University.



Copyright status

Under copyright

Copyright status date

Copyright jurisdiction

Copyright note

Accession area