The transfer to the University of Dumbarton Oaks, one of the most famous old homes in Gerogetown, D. C., and the "Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections" was announced yesterday.
Speaking at the recent opening of a new museum wing, the Honorable Robert Woods Bliss, owner of the mansion, revealed the intention of his wife and himself to make over the property within their lifetime for the purpose of research in fine arts and the humanities.
Dumbarton Oaks stands just across Rock Creek from the nation's capital. The house was built about 1800 and was long the home of John C. Calhoun of North Carolina, as Senator, Secretary of War, and Vice-President. A plot of land was deeded with the mansion, but the largest part of the property surrounding the house has been presented to the District of Columbia as a public park.
The collection housed in the museum wing of the mansion is one of the most notable of the present day bearing on the art of early Christendom and the By zantine Empire through medieval times. Sculpture, textiles, jewelry, mosaics, and art of the Byzantine and Allied periods, are on display there.
Library Has 16,000 Books
The library consists of some 16,000 books and publications on the period and includes a copy of the famous Princeton University "Index of Christian Iconography" and the Dumbarton Oaks "Census of Byzantine Objects in American Collections.'
Dumbarton Oaks under the direction of Harvard and the Fogg Museum of Art will thus be added to the important group of museums new established in Washington. Among these are the National Gallery of Art (Mellon Foundation). Corcoran Gallery, Freer Gallery, Duncan Phillips Memorial Gallery, Folger Library, George Hewitt Myers Textile Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and Library of Congress.
Mr. Bliss graduated from Harvard in 1900 and is now a member of its Board of Overseers. He was formerly Ambassador to Argentina. He retired from the diplomatic service in 1933 after serving thirty years in many posts in Europe and South America and in the Department of State in Washington.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Bliss, President Conant expressed the University's thanks and added that the gift "serves as a reminder that in these days of trial and stress there falls on our colleges and universities an obligation to maintain steadfastly their positions as custodians of the cultural treasures of our civilization."
"The confidence which you express in the ability of this institution to administer Dumbarton Oaks in accordance with the purposes for which it was designed is deeply appreciated," the letter said.