@Dumbarton Oaks

Collection PH.GL.002 - Dumbarton Oaks Gardens: Winter and Summer Scenes, ca. 1920s-1940s

Identity area

Reference code



Dumbarton Oaks Gardens: Winter and Summer Scenes, ca. 1920s-1940s


  • ca. 1920s-1940s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Three (3) 16mm film reels

Context area

Name of creator

Dumbarton Oaks (1940-Present)

Administrative history

Robert and Mildred Bliss retired to their Georgetown home, Dumbarton Oaks, in 1933. They began adding to their already extensive collection of artwork and reference books, anticipating the creation of a research institute. In 1940, the Blisses gave their property to Harvard University, creating Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

"Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is an institute in Washington, DC, administered by the Trustees for Harvard University. It supports research and learning internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships and internships, meetings, and exhibitions. Located in residential Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks welcomes researchers at all career stages who come to study its books, objects, images, and documents. It opens its doors to the public to visit its historic Gardens, designed by Beatrix Farrand; its Museum, with world-class collections of art; and its Music Room, for lectures and concerts. The institute disseminates knowledge through its own publications (such as Dumbarton Oaks Papers and symposium volumes) as well as through the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (published by Harvard University Press). Dumbarton Oaks also makes accessible ever more of its resources freely online." -http://www.doaks.org/about

Among its many other activities, in January of 1963, Dumbarton Oaks and the trustees of Harvard University assumed all fieldwork activities formerly initiated by the Byzantine Institute. The Dumbarton Oaks fieldwork committee directed and sponsored new fieldwork projects in Turkey (Church of St. Polyeuktos), Cyprus (Church of the Panagia Amasgou at Monagri), Syria (Dibsi Faraj), and present-day Macedonia (Bargala).

Name of creator

Amateur Cinema League (1926-)

Administrative history

A non-commercial association that was founded in New York City on July 28, 1926. It was an association that promoted home motion pictures and helped amateur filmmakers.

Archival history

In 2001, ICFA staff assessed and inspected ICFA's entire moving image collection at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Human Studies Film Archives. During inspection, ICFA staff determined that most of the films had started to suffer from vinegar syndrome, a common type of deterioration with acetate (or safety) films. The Dumbarton Oaks Gardens film, along with the other 16mm films from the Byzantine Institute, were sent to Colorlab in Rockville, MD to be digitized and re-formatted for preservation in October 2011. The reformatting project was completed in March 2012.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Based on the film edge codes, clothing, and garden scenes, sections of the film can be dated to the mid-1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The combined footage illustrates Dumbarton Oaks when it was still a private residence, as well as when it became an institute of Harvard University in 1940. The film contains garden views, winter scenes, and summer scenes at the pool, as well as glimpses of Mildred Barnes Bliss and her friends at the Orangery and Robert Woods Bliss in the gardens.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Film reels are stored in ICFA's cold storage for preservation purposes. Researchers may access the digitized version of the film online (see below).

Conditions governing reproduction

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

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

The film has been digitized and is available on the Dumbarton Oaks website (http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/icfa/special-projects/moving-image-collection/dumbarton-oaks-gardens) and through Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/65327049).

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Publication note

Published in:

James Carder, Gail Griffin, and Rona Razon. "Dumbarton Oaks Gardens film," DO/Conversations Blog, July 19, 2012.

Rona Razon, "Dumbarton Oaks Gardens Film," ICFA: A Blog from the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., July 26, 2012.

Robin Veder, "The Chrysanthemum is Ready for Her Close-Up," ICFA: A Blog from the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., September 3, 2013.

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Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)



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Rights note(s)

Preferred Citation: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens: Winter and Summer Scenes, ca. 1920s-1940s, PH.GL.002, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.



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Copyright status

Under copyright

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Copyright note

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