@Dumbarton Oaks

Collection MS.BZ.019 - Paul Atkins Underwood Research Papers, ca. 1936-1950

Identity area

Reference code



Paul Atkins Underwood Research Papers, ca. 1936-1950


  • ca. 1936-1950 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6 boxes of documents
1 folder of oversize drawings
2 boxes of microfilms and negatives

Context area

Name of creator

Underwood, Paul A. (1902-1968)

Biographical history

American archaeologist and art historian. A Byzantinist and Dumbarton Oaks Scholar, he began his career at Princeton. He undertook a study of the decoration sources of the Church of the Holy Apostles with Albert Friend in 1945. After Thomas Whittemore's death in 1950, Underwood became the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute. He completed Whittemore's Hagia Sophia work and then supervised the excavation work at Kariye Djami. In 1960, he became a full professor at Dumbarton Oaks. Six years later, Underwood published his Istanbul research in the three-volume "The Kariye Djami." He died shortly after editing the fourth volume.

Name of creator

Friend, Albert Mathias (1894-1956)

Biographical history

Albert M. Friend, Jr., attended Princeton University, and later became a professor at his alma mater. He also served in the First World War. At Dumbarton Oaks, he was appointed Senior Scholar in Residence (also known as the Henri Focillon Scholar) and was in charge of the research program ("Fontes" and "Archives of Byzantine Art," also known as "Archives" or "Research Archives") starting in the academic year of 1944-1945. In the same academic year, he initiated a project that would reconstruct or visualize the lost church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople; he was joined by Paul Underwood and Glanville Downey.

Friend died in New Jersey in 1956.

Archival history

This collection was likely transferred from Paul Underwood’s office to the Dumbarton Oaks Archives in the late 1960s or after his death in 1968.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

On May 25, 1999, the Underwood files were moved to the Byzantine Photograph and Fieldwork Archives (BPFA), now known as the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA). After the transfer, former ICFA staff may have included the collection in the Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks fieldwork archives since Paul Underwood served as the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute from 1950 to 1961. Overall, because there is no documentation, it is difficult to determine the collection’s acquisition history.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of 6 boxes of records that contain: lecture and research notes; note cards; drafts for outlines and essays; bibliographies and lists of objects; and photographs of Byzantine art and architectural drawings. These items were primarily created by Paul Underwood between 1936 and 1950 and by Albert Mathias Friend, Jr. between 1945 and the mid-1950s.

The collection includes Underwood’s research papers as a graduate student in the Department of Art and Archeology at Princeton University and as a Junior Fellow and Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology in the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. The materials illustrate Underwood’s research process for the two major research projects he conducted before becoming the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute in 1950: “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels,” an article published in the Dumbarton Oaks Papers (hereafter, “The Fountain of Life”), and the reconstruction of the Church of the Holy Apostles. The collection also includes Albert Mathias Friend, Jr.’s research notes related to the Church of the Holy Apostles project and the original reconstruction drawings produced by Underwood, as well as photographs and negatives of the drawings.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

This collection is divided into 5 series and the contents are roughly arranged in chronological order, based on the creators’ biographical information, and by subject of research. A sixth series constitutes an Addendum, containing research materials accumulated by ICFA staff.

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

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

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

At Dumbarton Oaks:

At other institutions:

Publication note

Underwood, Paul A. "Notes on Bernini's Towers for St. Peter's in Rome," Art Bulletin 21, 3 (September 1939): 283-287.

Underwood, Paul A. “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.

Underwood, Paul A. “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.

Underwood, Paul A. “The Fountain of Life in Manuscripts of the Gospels.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 5 (1950): 41-138.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

This record was created by ICFA Archivist Rona Razon on November 29, 2012 and completed by Dirk Bos (ICFA Intern, Summer 2013) in July 2013.


  • English



  • 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.

Archivist's note

Finding aid, collection arrangement, and processing were completed by Rona Razon, Archivist, in September 2011. The finding aid was edited by Shalimar White, Manager of ICFA, and Günder Varinlioglu, former ICFA Byzantine Assistant Curator, between September 2011 and October 2012.
This collection was identified within the archive of The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s – 2000s by Laurian Douthett, former Archivist Assistant, in the Summer of 2011. ICFA staff determined that Underwood’s research on the “Fountain of Life” and the Church of the Holy Apostles did not relate to any of the fieldwork projects that were conducted by the Byzantine Institute or Dumbarton Oaks. Since its relation to the Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks fieldwork archive was doubtful, ICFA staff believed that Underwood’s research papers should be a separate collection in order to fully highlight his various research projects as a graduate student at Princeton University and as a Junior Fellow and an Assistant Professor at Dumbarton Oaks, before he became the Field Director of the Byzantine Institute in 1950.

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Rights note(s)

Preferred Citation: Paul Atkins Underwood Research Papers, ca. 1936-1950, MS.BZ.019, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C.



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Rights note(s)

However, photographs are for research purposes only.



Copyright status

Under copyright

Copyright status date

Copyright jurisdiction

Copyright note

Accession area