Author Archives: jgwilson2013

The Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

Maybe it was because it was dusk that I found myself feeling lost, even though I wasn’t lost at all. Gray powdery light silvered, softly, everything it touched, not to pacify it, but as if, with gentle correction, to rout matter altogether—trees, shrubs, and closing flowers, like so many eyelids nestled in sleep’s calyx, the stonework in […]

Come on In: The Dumbarton Oaks Symposium

If the scholars here at Dumbarton Oaks are the lifeblood of the institute as we know it—the necessities, the aerators of resources, the vital signs—then the symposia are the institute’s great lungs, chambers of commerce between the internal and external, between one scholar and her peers, between Dumbarton Oaks itself and a broader community: the […]

Ms. Joan Southcote-Aston

Were you to read through all of the transcribed interviews in the Dumbarton Oaks Oral History Project, there is one person in particular who could not fail to fascinate you, yet who is maybe, at last, too ephemeral to apprehend. D.O. Senior Fellow Herbert Kessler thinks that this woman—who underwent what can only be described […]

Fletcher’s Castoria and Dumbarton Oaks: An Historical Excavation

Recently, at the Georgetown Flea Market, the father-in-law of Director Jan Ziolkowski purchased a new artifact of relevance for the Dumbarton Oaks Archives, one allied neither to the Byzantine, nor the garden and landscape, nor the pre-Columbian components of the institution. In fact, at first glance, the artifact seems outrageously distant from the Dumbarton Oaks Research […]

Don’t Feed the Wildlife: Dumbarton Oaks and its Neighbors

Though Dumbarton Oaks may feel “otherworldly”, as Margaret Dawson, an associate of Mildred Bliss, has it—what with its self-sufficiently immured Arcadian vistas and charmingly, necessarily arcane scholarly foci—no research institute is a world unto itself; even D.O. is part of the main, in rich and vibrant commerce with its environs and neighbors. As Georgetowners congregate […]