Dumbarton Oaks

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See Dumbarton Oaks Park for the national park. See Dumbarton Oaks Conference for the 1944 meeting that laid the groundwork for the United Nations.

Dumbarton Oaks is the conventional name for the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, situated on a historic property located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The institution is administered by the Trustees of Harvard University. Its founders, Robert Woods Bliss (1875-1962) and his wife Mildred Barnes Bliss (1879-1969), gave the property to Harvard in 1940. The research institute that has emerged from this bequest is dedicated to supporting scholarship in the fields of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and garden and landscape architecture studies, especially through its research fellowships, meetings, exhibitions, and publications. Dumbarton Oaks also opens its gardens and museum collections to the public and hosts public lectures and a concert series.


Early History

The land of Dumbarton Oaks was formerly part of the Rock of Dumbarton grant that Queen Anne made in 1702 to Colonel Ninian Beall (ca. 1625-1717). About 1801, William Hammond Dorsey (1764-1818) built the first house on the property (the central block of the existing structure) and an orangery, and in the mid-nineteenth century, Edward Magruder Linthicum (1787-1869) greatly enlarged the residence and named it The Oaks. The Oaks also was the Washington residence of U.S. Senator and Vice President John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) between 1822...
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