@Dumbarton Oaks

File 195 - Correspondence between John Thacher, Paul Underwood, and Rudolf Naumann

Identity area

Reference code

DcWaDIC MS.BZ.004-01-01-04-195


Correspondence between John Thacher, Paul Underwood, and Rudolf Naumann


  • March 1958 - March 1967 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 folder

Context area

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

Underwood, Paul A. (Paul Atkins) (February 22,1902-September 22,1968)

Biographical history

Paul Underwood was born on February 22, 1902, in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and died on September 22, 1968, in Knoxville, TN. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture with high honors from Princeton University in 1925. From 1929-1931, he practiced architecture in New York, but had to postpone his career in the field due to the Great Depression. During this time, Underwood traveled to Greece, where he stayed for approximately three years, and became interested in classical and medieval monuments. In 1935, Underwood pursued a graduate degree in the Department of Art and Archaeology at his alma mater and graduated in or before 1938. Afterwards, he took a teaching position at Cornell University, where he taught courses in the history of art. After completing his first publications in 1939-1940, Underwood successfully applied for a fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks.

As a junior fellow from 1943 to 1946, Underwood studied the Lateran Baptistery, the relationship of early Christian baptisteries to the tholoi, and the iconography of the “Fountain of Life,” as depicted in early Gospel manuscripts. This research resulted in an article, “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels,” which was published in Dumbarton Oaks Papers (vol. 5, 1950). In February 11, 1946, the Trustees for Harvard University “voted to appoint Paul Atkins Underwood as Instructor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at [Dumbarton Oaks for one year],” but they immediately promoted him to Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology in the same year until 1951. He was subsequently appointed Associate Professor of Byzantine Architecture and Archaeology in 1951-1955 (and Field Director of the Byzantine Institute, Inc., starting in 1951) and Professor of Byzantine Architecture and Archaeology in July 1960.

During his junior fellowship, Underwood, an architectural historian, joined Albert M. Friend, an art historian, and Glanville Downey, a philologist, to work on the reconstruction of the lost monument of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. During the 1948 Dumbarton Oaks symposium, “The Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople,” Underwood presented two papers entitled “The Architecture of Justinian’s Church of the Holy Apostles, Parts I and II.”

After 1951, Underwood devoted the majority of his time to the Byzantine Institute, Inc., having been appointed Field Director after the death of Thomas Whittemore, the Institute’s founder and director, in 1950. He held this position until 1964. During the transition period, Underwood continued the restoration and conservation work in Istanbul, and published several reports in Dumbarton Oaks Papers on the Byzantine Institute’s work at Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii. Other endeavors under his directorship included: the uncovering of the 7th century pavement in the Church of the Pantocrator (also known as St. Savior Pantocrator or Molla Zeyrek Camii) that was carried out from 1954 to 1962; the restoration of mosaics in the Fethiye Camii (Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos) from 1949 to 1963; the conservation of a fresco discovered at the church of St. Euphemia in 1958; and the repair work in the Fenari Isa Camii (Lips Monastery) from 1960 to 1964. Also during this period, the Byzantine Institute’s conservators worked on the mosaic of the Transfiguration at the monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai in Egypt in 1959. All of these fieldwork projects led to extensive publications.

Name of creator

Naumann, Rudolf (1910-1996)

Biographical history

"Rudolf Naumann (born July 18, 1910 in Fichtenau in Berlin, died 24 May 1996 Ludwigsburg) was a German architectural historian. He studied architecture at the Technical University Berlin. Here he became a pupil of Daniel Krencker and 1935 received his doctorate with a thesis on the construction history of the Roman source district of Nîmes. From 1935 to 1937 he received a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute and was subsequently to 1945 Senior Research Fellow at the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute.

In 1948 he completed his habilitation with a thesis on the Roman Agora of Smyrna and its buildings at the Technical University of Hanover, where he was first a lecturer in 1949 and professor of architectural history in 1953....As the 2nd director of the Rome Department of the German Archaeological Institute 1954-1960, Naumann researched city settlements in southern Italy. From 1961 to 1975, Naumann was Director of the Istanbul Department of the DAI. He taught next at Istanbul University." (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Naumann)

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Relates to the planning of a trial work in Cyprus; the future of the Byzantine Institute's work in Istanbul; and an endeavour to photograph the frescoes of St. Nicholas of Myra by Cyril Mango and Ernest Hawkins

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail




Rights area

Related right

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





Start date

End date

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.



Related right

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





Start date

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.



Copyright status

Under copyright

Copyright status date

Copyright jurisdiction

Copyright note

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Physical storage

  • Box: MS.BZ.004, Subgroup 01, Box 013