@Dumbarton Oaks

File 017 - Correspondence between Campbell Bonner, Edward Forbes, and the Byzantine Institute (e.g., John Thacher, Seth Gano, and Thomas Whittemore)

Identity area

Reference code

DcWaDIC MS.BZ.004-01-01-02-017

Title

Correspondence between Campbell Bonner, Edward Forbes, and the Byzantine Institute (e.g., John Thacher, Seth Gano, and Thomas Whittemore)

Date(s)

  • April 1942 - March 1947 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

1 folder

Context area

Name of creator

Bonner, Campbell (1876-1954)

Biographical history

"Campbell Bonner was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 30, 1876. He received his bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in 1896, and his A.M. (1898) and Ph.D. (1900) from Harvard. In 1900, he went to the University of Berlin, spent some time in Greece and Italy, and returned to the U.S. in 1901 to become professor of Greek at Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. Bonner came to the University of Michigan in 1907 as junior professor of Greek. He became full professor in 1912 and in 1932, he was selected chairman of the Greek department. Bonner was the author of "A Papyrus Codix of the Shepherd of Hermas," "The Last Chapters of Enoch in Greek," and "Homily on the Passion by Melito, Bishop of Sardis." He was also a frequent contributor on classical philology, papyrology and history of religions." -http://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhlead/umich-bhl-85474?byte=141326247;focusrgn=bioghist;subview=standard;view=reslist

Name of creator

Forbes, Edward W. (Edward Waldo) (1873–1969)

Biographical history

Edward Waldo Forbes was born in 1873 on Naushon Island, an island in Massachusetts owned by his family. He attended Harvard and was made the director of the Fogg Art Museum 1909, retiring in 1944. He served on the board of trustees for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for sixty years, and was a contributor to the Byzantine Institute fund. He was married to Margaret Laighton.

Name of creator

Thacher, John (1904-1982)

Biographical history

John Thacher was the first director of Dumbarton Oaks, from 1940 until 1969. He attended Yale University in 1927, and graduate work at Harvard and the Courtauld Institute in London. He was the Assistant to the Directors of the Fogg Art Museum prior to coming to Dumbarton Oaks, where he served as Executive Officer from 1940 to 1945, Acting Director from 1945-1946 and Director from 1946-1969.

Name of creator

Gano, Seth Thomas (1879–1955)

Biographical history

Seth Gano was the secretary of the Byzantine Institute. He also served as the treasurer of Committee for the Education of Russian Youth in Exile. He was born in Milford, New York, and married Adelaide Eva Beunke in 1907, the same year he graduated from Harvard. He lived in Belmont, Massachusetts and was a member of the Unitarian Service Committee.

Name of creator

Whittemore, Thomas (1871-1950)

Biographical history

Thomas Whittemore was born in Cambridgeport, MA on January 2, 1871. He received his Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Tufts College in 1894 and was appointed Instructor of English at his alma mater immediately afterwards. While at Tufts College, Whittemore taught English Composition and directed several plays, such as the masque Comus and The Pleasant Comedy of Old Fortunatus. His teaching career continued intermittently until early 1930. In 1908, Whittemore taught a course on Ancient Art at Columbia University and starting in 1927, he taught classes on the fine arts and the history of Greek, Egyptian, and Byzantine art at New York University.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Whittemore became involved in expeditions and excavation projects in Egypt and Bulgaria. In January 1911, Whittemore joined a British archaeological expedition in Egypt under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society [or Egypt Exploration Fund]. Based on the letters between Whittemore and Isabella Stewart Gardner, Whittemore was in Egypt in the 1910s, where he helped other archaeologists discover pre-dynastic treasures such as, kilns and “the long sought IV-V dynasty cemetery at Abydos.” In between excavation seasons, Whittemore devoted his time to humanitarian work in Bulgaria, Russia, and Paris, particularly during and after the Russian Revolution in 1917. He was an active member of the Committee for the Relief of War Refugees in Russia and the Society for Relief Work among the Orphan Children of Russia. “The goal of the organization[s were] to educate the most promising young Russians in the arts and sciences such that they could help rebuild their country.” Whittemore also travelled to Mount Athos, Greece, in 1923 with George D. Pratt, where he and Pratt delivered food and supplies to the Russian and Bulgarian monks that became impoverished after the Russian Revolution.

In the 1930s, Whittemore changed his direction and focused on the conservation and restoration of Byzantine monuments, art, and architecture in Turkey and other areas of the former Byzantine Empire. In 1930, he founded the Byzantine Institute, a non-profit organization, with the full support of several committee members, such as John Nicholas Brown, Charles R. Crane, Charles R. Morey, Matthew Prichard, George D. Pratt, John Shapley, and others. In 1931, Whittemore and the Byzantine Institute were given permission to conserve and restore the original mosaics of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, ?smet ?nönü, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Economy. As the Director of the Byzantine Institute, Whittemore carried out the negotiations with government officials in Turkey, obtained work permits, recruited skilled fieldworkers, organized fundraising events, managed the Byzantine Institute staff, and delivered fieldwork supplies from/to the various sites.

On June 8, 1950, Whittemore suffered a heart attack while on his way to a meeting in the office of John Foster Dulles, then special advisor to the Secretary of State, in Washington, D.C. He died at the age of 79 and is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Relates to the discovery and purchase of 6th century papyri in Cairo, Egypt

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Note

Box 2 contains letters regarding the restoration and conservation of Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii. They document: research activities, artifact purchases, film and photographic documentation, scaffolding plans, administrative and personnel matters following Whittemore’s death, grant and permit proposals, and official permits.

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Rights area

Related right

The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s

Act

Research

Restriction

Allow

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Rights holder

Rights note(s)

Preferred citation: The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s, MS.BZ.004, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.

Basis

Policy

Related right

The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s

Act

Publish

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Allow

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End date

Rights holder

Rights note(s)

Copyright for Byzantine Institute materials belong to Dumbarton Oaks. However, permission to publish materials created by other correspondents must be obtained from the copyright holder.

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Under copyright

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Physical storage

  • Box: MS.BZ.004, Subgroup 01, Box 002