- ca. 1936-1950s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1 folder of oversize drawings
2 boxes of microfilms and negatives
Name of creator
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
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
On May 25, 1999, the Underwood files were moved to the Byzantine Photograph and Fieldwork Archives, now known as the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA). After the transfer in 1999, former ICFA staff may have included these materials in the collection called The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s, since Underwood served as Field Director of the Byzantine Institute from 1950 to 1961. Overall, because there is no documentation, it is difficult to determine the collection’s full acquisition history.
On January 5, 2015, ICFA Manager Shalimar White accepted the donations from Sarah Underwood (daughter of Paul and Irène Underwood). Donated materials include: four (4) manila envelopes of correspondence from personal papers of Paul and Irène Underwood, 1946-1986.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This collection is divided into five (5) series, and contents are roughly arranged in chronological order. First, it highlights Paul Underwood’s early research interests as a graduate student at Princeton University in the mid-1930s and as a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in the early 1940s. Second, it documents the collaborative project between Underwood, Albert M. Friend, Jr., and Glanville Downey on the reconstruction or as they termed it “restoration” of the church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, initiated at Dumbarton Oaks in the mid-1940s. Collection materials include lecture and research notes, translations, note cards, drafts for outlines and essays, bibliographies, lists of objects, architectural drawings, as well as photographic prints and negatives of the reconstruction drawings and manuscript illuminations.
The collection focuses on Underwood’s early research interests in 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 entitled “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels” (hereafter, “The Fountain of Life”), published in Dumbarton Oaks Papers. The second component of the collection documents the cooperative project on the reconstruction of the lost church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, a project that was initiated by Friend in 1945 and actively carried out between 1946 and 1954 with Underwood and Downey. This ambitious project led to the 1948 symposium in Dumbarton Oaks entitled “Symposium on the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.”
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
Harvard OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System): http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:DOAK.LIB:dca00010
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
At Dumbarton Oaks:
- Albert M. Friend, Jr. Correspondence. Dumbarton Oaks Archives. http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives.
- The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s, MS.BZ.004. Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.
- “Constantinople: Church of the Holy Apostles and Church of St. Euphemia,” Dumbarton Oaks Research Archive, ca. 1940s, MS.BZ.018. Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. http://atom.doaks.org/atom/index.php/dumbarton-oaks-research-archive.
- Irène J. Underwood, Oral History Interview Transcript. Dumbarton Oaks Archives http://www.doaks.org/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/oral-history-project/irene-j-underwood.
At other institutions:
- Albert Mathias Friend Papers. Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library, Princeton, N.J. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0924.
- Bliss, Robert Woods, Papers of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, HUGFP 76.xx. Harvard University Archives. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua26003.
- “Downey, Glanville; 1933-1954,” Box 4, Department of Art and Archaeology Records, AC140. Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/AC140/c0097.
- “Downey, Glanville -HS- 1936-40, 1956-57,” Box 32, Records of the Office of the Director: Member Files. Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center. Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. https://library.ias.edu/finding-aids/domembers.
- “Downy, Glanville -HS- 1956-57,” Box 33, Records of the Office of the Director: Member Files. Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center. Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. https://library.ias.edu/finding-aids/domembers.
- “Downey, Glanville,” John Alden Mason Papers, 1904-1967, Mss.B.M384. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA. http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.M384-ead.xml.
- “Downey, Glanville,” Henry Allen Moe Papers, 1920-1975, Mss.B.M722. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA. http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.M722-ead.xml.
- Erwin Panofsky papers, 1904-1990 (bulk dates 1920-1968). Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/erwin-panofsky-papers-8926/more.
- Father John Personal Papers. Saint Sophia Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
- Graduate Alumni Records, 1839-2012. Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library, Princeton, N.J. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/getEad?id=ark:/88435/sf268514t.
- Office of the Registrar Records, 1803-2009. Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library, Princeton, N.J. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/getEad?id=ark:/88435/2n49t1694.
- Princeton University Press Records; 1905-2014 (mostly 1940s-1990s), C0728. Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0728.
- “Prof. Albert Friend to WL, 1946 April 25,” Box 24, Folder 11, Walter Lowrie Papers, 1870-2008 (mostly 1893-1959), C0286. , Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0286/c05499.
- Sachs, Paul J., Papers, 1903-2005, HC 3. Harvard Art Museum Archives. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUAM:art00010.
- Underwood, Paul. "Notes on Bernini's Towers for St. Peter's in Rome." Art Bulletin 21, 3 (September 1939): 283-287.
- _____. “Drawings of Saint Peter's on a Pilgrim's Staff in the Museo Sacro.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 3, 1-2 (October 1939-January 1940): 147-153.
- _____. “Some Principles of Measure in the Architecture of the Period of Justinian.” Cahiers archéologiques: Fin de l’Antiquité et Moyen Âge 3 (1948): 64-74.
- _____. “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 5 (1950): 41-138.
Subject access points
- Research notes
- Photographic print
- Manuscript illumination
- Early Christian
- Virgin Mary
- Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople
- Nea Ekklesia in Constantinople
- Baptismal font
- Gospel book
- Primary source
- Christ Pantokrator
Place access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
- Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Report. 1945-1946.
- Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. “Albert Mathias Friend, Jr. (1894-1956),” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 12 (1958): ii, 1-2.
- Kitzinger, Ernst. “Paul Atkins Underwood (1902–1968).” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 23 (1969): 1-6.
- Sorensen, Lee. “Friend, Albert M[athias], Jr.” Dictionary of Art Historians. http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/frienda.htm.
- Sorensen, Lee. “Underwood, Paul A[tkins].” Dictionary of Art Historians. http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/underwoodp.htm.
- Weitzmann, Kurt. Sailing with Byzantium from Europe to America: The Memoirs of an Art Historian. München: Editio Maris, 1994.
This collection was identified within The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s-2000s, by Laurian Douthett, former ICFA Archivist Assistant, in the summer of 2011. ICFA staff determined that Underwood’s research on the “Fountain of Life” and the reconstruction project on the Holy Apostles in Constantinople did not relate to any of the fieldwork projects that were executed by the Byzantine Institute and/or Dumbarton Oaks. Hence, ICFA staff created a separate collection for the material.
Research, assessment, arrangement, and finding aid were completed by ICFA Archivist Rona Razon in September 2011. The finding aid was edited by former ICFA Byzantine Assistant Curator Günder Varinlioğlu in September 2011 and by ICFA Manager Shalimar White in October 2012. The finding aid was reviewed and updated again in April 2015 by Razon and ICFA Byzantine Research Associate Fani Gargova, in conjunction with the 2015 Byzantine Studies Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, The Holy Apostles (symposium dates: April 24-26, 2015; Symposiarchs: Margaret Mullett and Robert Ousterhout, http://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/scholarly-activities/the-holy-apostles), and online exhibit entitled The Holy Apostles: Visualizing a Lost Monument (exhibition curated by Beatrice Daskas and Fani Gargova, April 23-July 20, 2015, with accompanying online exhibit, www.doaks.org/holy-apostles).
Photographs are for research purposes only.
Preferred Citation: Paul Underwood Research Papers and Project Materials on the Reconstruction of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, ca. 1936-1950s, MS.BZ.019, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.