@Dumbarton Oaks

Collection MS.BZ.007 - Josephine M. Harris Research Papers and Photographs, ca. 1950s-1970s

Identity area

Reference code



Josephine M. Harris Research Papers and Photographs, ca. 1950s-1970s


  • ca. 1950s-1970s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6 boxes
Approximately 370 black and white photographic prints
Approximately 200 black and white photographic slides
Approximately 2,000 black and white photographic negatives

Context area

Name of creator

Harris, Josephine M. (1911-1992)

Biographical history

Harris earned a Ph.D. in Latin and Greek at Washington University, St. Louis in 1936. In 1937-1938, she became a fellow in Archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. The following year, as a special fellow at the excavations in ancient Corinth, she published coin finds. Harris was a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Research Library and Collection from 1942-1945. Under the direction of Wilhelm R. W. Koehler, Senior Fellow in charge of Research, Harris began to catalog the architectural sculpture from Oxyrhynchos, Egypt on the basis of published photographs for the Research Archive. In 1953-1954, Harris received a Faculty Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the Margaret M. Justin Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. For that year, she was granted sabbatical leave from her position as Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA in order to study Coptic sculpture in Egypt. Harris photographed and studied the Oxyrhynchos fragments from Evaristo Breccia’s 1927-1931 excavations in the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1959, Harris received additional grant funding from the American Philosophical Society to continue the project. On subsequent trips to Egypt in 1963 and the 1970s, she continued to photograph fragments from Oxyrhynchos that had not previously been published [Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1925-1931 (Bergamo, 1932); Evaristo Breccia, Le Musée Gréco-Romain, 1931-1932 (Bergamo, 1933)].

Archival history

The archive came to Dumbarton Oaks in 1966 and 1993.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives first received materials in this collection in 1995. Additional materials related to Harris were found in ICFA's backlog and donor files and added to the collection in December 2012.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of Josephine M. Harris’ documentation of Coptic architectural sculpture from the site of Oxyrhynchos, Egypt (3rd-6th century CE). It includes research notes, drafts, and correspondence, but the majority of the collection consists of photographs and negatives of Coptic sculpture in Egypt, especially sculptural fragments from the site of Oxyrhynchos. These fragments were excavated by Evaristo Breccia in 1927-1931 and became part of the collection of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. The archive provides photographic documentation for approximately 500 sculptural fragments from Oxyrhynchos. There is an unpublished manuscript by Harris, “Coptic Architectural Sculpture from Oxyrhynchos,” which includes a catalog of sculpture, footnotes, and several appendices. ICFA staff have added two addenda, consisting of copy negatives and photographs related to Harris found in ICFA's backlog and donor files (see files 44 and 45).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

This collection consists of two (2) series: Correspondence and Slides and Photographs and Negatives.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access to the collection is unrestricted. It is available for research purposes. Appointment is required for access because researcher space is limited: http://www.doaks.org/icfa-appointment-request-form. For research queries, contact the staff of Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (icfa@doaks.org).

Conditions governing reproduction

Photographs are for research and study purposes only.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Slides and negatives have been removed from the document files and moved to ICFA Cold Storage for preservation purposes.

Finding aids

PDF version: http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/icfa/harris.pdf
Harvard OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:DOAK.LIB:dca00005

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Name access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

Describing Archives: A Content Standard



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

This record was created by Alison T. Miner on September 26, 2012. This record was edited by Shalimar White on February 4, 2013 and November 8, 2013.


  • English



Archivist's note

This collection was incompletely processed by former ICFA staff members. Inventory/finding aid was revised by Rona Razon, Archives Specialist, in October 2010 and December 2012, and by Alison T. Miner, Metadata Intern, in September 2012.

Rights area

Related right





Start date

End date

Rights holder

Rights note(s)

Photographs are for research purposes only.



Copyright status

Under copyright

Copyright status date

Copyright jurisdiction

Copyright note

Related right





Start date

End date

Rights holder

Rights note(s)

Preferred Citation: Josephine M. Harris Research Papers and Photographs, ca. 1950s-1970s, MS.BZ.007, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.



Accession area