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Myron Bement Smith Collection

Creator:
Smith, Myron Bement, 1897-1970  Search this
Source:
Blake, Marion Elizabeth  Search this
Names:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Ettinghausen, Richard  Search this
Field, Henry  Search this
Herzfeld, Ernst, 1879-1948  Search this
Kuban, Dogan  Search this
Moe, Henry Allen  Search this
Pope, Arthur Upham, 1881-1969  Search this
Former owner:
Blake, Marion Elizabeth  Search this
Extent:
192 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1910-1970
Summary:
The Myron Bement Smith collection consists of two parts, the papers of Myron Bement Smith and his wife Katharine and the Islamic Archives. It contains substantial material about his field research in Italy in the 1920s and his years working on Islamic architecture in Iran in the 1930s. Letters describe the milieu in which he operated in Rochester NY and New York City in the 1920s and early 1930s; the Smiths' life in Iran from 1933 to 1937; and the extensive network of academic and social contacts that Myron and Katharine developed and maintained over his lifetime. The Islamic Archives was a project to which Smith devoted most of his professional life. It includes both original materials, such as his photographs and notes, and items acquired by him from other scholars or experts on Islamic art and architecture. Smith intended the Archives to serve as a resource for scholars interested in the architecture and art of the entire Islamic world although he also included some materials about non-Islamic architecture.
Scope and Contents:
The Myron Bement Smith Collection consists of two parts, the papers of Myron Bement Smith and his wife Katharine and the Islamic Archives. The papers include some biographic material about Myron but little about his wife. Information on his academic and professional experience is sketchy and his diaries and appointment books often contain only sporadic entries. The papers contain substantial material about his field research in Italy in the 1920s and his years working on Islamic architecture in Iran in the 1930s. Correspondence comprises the largest and most potentially useful part of the papers. Letters describe the milieu in which he operated in Rochester, NY and New York City in the 1920s and early 1930s; the Smiths' life in Iran from 1933 to 1937; and the extensive network of academic and social contacts that Myron and Katharine developed and maintained over his lifetime.

The Islamic Archives, formally entitled The Archive for Islamic Culture and Art, was a project to which Smith devoted most of his professional life. It includes both original materials, such as his photographs and notes, and items acquired by him from other scholars or experts on Islamic art and architecture. Most of the latter consists of photographs and slides. Smith intended the Archives to serve as a resource for scholars interested in the architecture and art of the entire Islamic world although he also included some materials about non-Islamic architecture. The core collection of the Archives consists of Smith's original photographs and architectural sketches of Iranian Islamic monuments made during his field research in the 1930s. He meticulously photographed the interior and exterior of monuments, including their decorative detail. Some of the photographic materials subsequently loaned, purchased, or donated to the Archives may enable scholars to document sites over time but in many cases the materials are poorly preserved or reproduced. A notable exception to this is the glassplate negatives and prints of 19th century Iranian photographer Antoin Sevruguin.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 2 major series with further subseries. A third series inventories the outsized and miscellaneous materials.

Series 1: Papers

Subseries 1.1: Biographic Materials

Subseries 1.2: Professional Experience

Subseries 1.3: Notebooks, Journals and Appointment Books

Subseries 1.4: Correspondence

Subseries 1.5: Published and Unpublished Materials

Subseries 1.6: Italy Research 1925, 1927-1928

Subseries 1.7: Iran Research 1933-1937

Subseries 1.8: Katharine Dennis Smith Papers and Correspondence

Series 2: The Islamic Archives

Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information

Subseries 2.2: Resource Materials Iran

Subseries 2.3: Resource Materials Other Islamic World and General

Subseries 2.4: Myron Bement Smith Architectural Sketches, Plans and Notes, Iran, 1933-1937

Subseries 2.5: Myron Bement Smith Iran Photographs, Notebooks and Negative Registers

Subseries 2.6: Country Photograph File

Subseries 2.7: Lantern Slide Collection

Subseries 2.8: Myron Bement Smith 35 mm Color Slides

Subseries 2.9: Country 35 mm Color Slide File

Subseries 2.10: Myron Bement Smith Negatives

Subseries 2.11: Country Photograph Negatives

Subseries 2.12: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs

Series 3: Outsize and Miscellaneous Items

Subseries 3.1: Map Case Drawers

Subseries 3.2: Rolled Items

Subseries 3.3 Items in Freezer

Subseries 3.4 Smithsonian Copy Negatives
Biographical Note:
Myron Bement Smith was born in Newark Valley, New York in 1897 and grew up in Rochester, New York. He died in Washington D.C. in 1970. He showed an early interest in drawing, and after graduation from high school, he worked as a draftsman for a Rochester architect. He served in the US Army Medical Corps in France during World War I and on return again worked as an architectural draftsman. He studied at Yale University from 1922 to 1926, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During summer vacations, he worked as draftsman or designer for architectural firms in New York City. After graduation, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant and spent two years in Italy doing research on northern Italian brick and stone work. He used photography as an tool for his research and published several well-illustrated articles. On return he joined an architectural firm in Philadelphia and in 1931 became a registered architect in New York. He enrolled in Harvard University graduate school in 1929 pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree.

In April 1930, Smith was appointed Secretary of the newly created American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology founded by Arthur Upham Pope and located in New York City. He had no prior academic or work experience in Islamic art or architecture, and his job entailed designing publications, arranging lectures, organizing exhibitions and fund raising. That summer he arranged an independent study course at Harvard University on Persian art and subsequently studied Persian language at Columbia University and attended graduate courses at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. His work and academic credentials enabled him to compete successfully for a research fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in 1933 to study Iranian Islamic architecture.

Accompanied by his new bride Katharine Dennis, Smith left for Iran in 1933. They suffered a horrendous motor vehicle accident in Iraq en route and required a lengthy recuperation in Lebanon and Cyprus. The Smiths eventually arrived in Isfahan, Iran, where they established their "Expedition House," as Smith called it, in a rented faculty house at Stuart College. Smith's research consisted of meticulous photographic documentation of Islamic monuments and architectural sketches and drawings of many of them. He concentrated on the Isfahan area but also documented monuments elsewhere in Iran. Smith outfitted his station wagon as a combination camper and research vehicle in which he and his staff traveled widely. Katharine sometimes traveled with him but generally she remained in Isfahan managing the household and logistics for the "expedition." The Smiths left Iran in 1937.

Smith published several articles about Iran's Islamic monuments based on his field research and in 1947 completed his PhD thesis for The Johns Hopkins University on the vault in Persian architecture. His professional career from 1938 until his death in 1970 consisted of a series of temporary academic positions, contract work and government or academic sponsored lecture tours and photographic exhibits. He had a long lasting relationship with the Library of Congress where he served as an Honorary Consultant from 1938 to 1940 and again from 1948 to 1970; from 1943 to 1944 he was Chief of the Iranian Section at the Library. Despite his lack of published material, Smith was well-known among academic, government and private citizens who worked, traveled or were otherwise interested Iran and the Islamic world.

Smith developed an extensive network of professional and social contacts that dated from his early student days and increased markedly during his time at the Persian Institute and later in Iran. He kept in touch with them and they touted him to others who were interested in Iran or Islamic art and architecture. This network served him well in realizing his ambition of creating a resource for scholars that relied on photographs to document Islamic architecture. The Islamic Archives began with his own collection of photographs from his Iran research and grew to include all manner of photographic and other materials not only on the Islamic world but also other areas. Creating and managing the Archives became the main focus of Smith's professional life and career. In 1967 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to revise his PhD thesis as a publishable manuscript but died before he could complete it.
Related Materials:
The Antoin Sevruguin Photgraphs

Ernst Herzfeld Papers

Lionel B. Bier Drawings

Lionel D. Bier and Carol Bier Photographs
Provenance:
Gift of Myron Bement Smith
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Topic:
Islamic architecture  Search this
Islamic Architecture-Turkey  Search this
Iran-description and travel  Search this
Iran-History 20th Century  Search this
Islamic Architecture-Middle East  Search this
Iran-social life and customs  Search this
United States-Social life and customs  Search this
Mosques  Search this
Architecture -- Iran  Search this
Citation:
The Myron Bement Smith Collection. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Identifier:
FSA.A.04
See more items in:
Myron Bement Smith Collection
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a-04
Online Media:

Catalogues

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1941
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 3: Printed Material
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref231

Maps

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents:
4 maps.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 4: Maps
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref233

Object Photographs

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1931-1947
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref234

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref235

Han Regis and Continental and Trianon-Versailles

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref236

J. Brummer Objects

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref237

Mirrors

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 11
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
1931
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref238

Rugs in the Shrine of Iman Cait

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 12
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref239

Negatives

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 12, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref240

Postcards

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 12, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref241

Assorted

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 1-5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs / Object Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref243

Works of Art

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 12, Folder 1-3
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 5: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref244

Maps of Islamic World - General

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Flat-file MC-25, Folder 3-5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
circa 1877-1918
Scope and Contents:
12 maps.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 4: Maps
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref251

Map of Islamic World

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Flat-file MC-66, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents:
3 maps.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 4: Maps
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref252

Maps

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1877-1918
undated
Scope and Contents:
Maps of the Middle East, the northern Arabian Peninsula, and Northern India during different eras; and hand-traced map sketches with marked mine locations.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
Identifier:
FSA.A.10, Series 4
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref90

Photographs

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1931-1947
undated
Scope and Contents:
Includes photographs of objects, painted artworks, and negatives. Additionally, images of objects printed on postcards are present. Images of paintings depict battles, scenes from stories, and animals. Several mounted photographs have handwritten notes on them about the image.
Arrangement:
Titles of labeled object photograph folders were established by the creator and arranged alphabetically by their label. Loose or otherwise ungrouped photographs have been described as Assorted.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
Identifier:
FSA.A.10, Series 5
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref91

Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers

Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Extent:
7.8 Cubic feet (consisting of 12 boxes and 9 oversized flat file folders.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Maps
Photographs
Notes
Place:
Detroit (Mich.)
Turkey
Istanbul (Turkey)
Berlin (Germany)
Michigan
Date:
circa 1877-1947
Summary:
The Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers, dating from approximately 1877-1947, measure 7.8 cubic feet and include writings and notes, photographs, and maps related to Dr. Aga-Oglu's work Corpus of Islamic Work, which was never published due to Dr. Aga-Oglu's death in 1949.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Mehmet Aga-Oglu measure 7.8 cubic feet and date from 1877 to approximately 1949. The papers largely relate to Aga-Oglu's research and writings for his unpublished work Corpus of Islamic Metalwork. The papers include manuscript drafts, research files, printed material, maps, and photographs.

The manuscript drafts include handwritten drafts, citations attached or written onto drafts, and revision notes for his unpublished manuscript. Content includes material related to metalliferous mines, precious and base metals, and traffic of metals in Islamic and non-Islamic countries, as well as unlabeled writings related to astrolabes and synthetic protective coatings for metals.

Research material represents a majority of the records, and consists of accumulated research notes, citation lists, and object sketches. Subjects of the research material are related to metallurgy, iconography, metals commonly used in metalwork, geology and mining, and histories of metalwork in ranging locations or eras.

Printed material contains published articles from periodicals, a bulletin from the Detroit Institute of Arts, catalogues of scholarly publications available for purchase, and reviews of Aga-Oglu's published works.

Graphic materials present in the collection include maps depicting areas such as the Middle East, the northern Arabian Peninsula, and Northern India during different eras, and hand traced maps with marked metalliferous mine locations; and a substantial number of photographs of objects and artworks.
Arrangement:
The Mehmet Aga-Oglu papers are arranged in five series.

Series 1: Manuscript Drafts

Series 2: Research Files

Series 3: Printed Material

Series 4: Maps

Series 5: Photographs
Biographical Note:
Dr. Mehmet Aga-Oglu was an Islamic art historian and professor born on August 4, 1896 at Erivan in Russia Caucasia.

In 1916, Dr. Aga-Oglu was awarded a Doctor of Letters in the history, philosophy, and languages of Islamic countries from the University of Moscow. Following his graduation, Dr. Aga-Oglu traveled through Turkistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Asia Minor studying Islamic art. Dr. Aga-Oglu returned to academia in 1921 at the University of Istanbul where he studied the history of Islam and the Ottoman Empire.

During his time as a student at the University of Istanbul, he traveled extensively to European universities as a part of his program of study. This included studying Near Eastern art and architecture under Dr. Ernst Herzfeld in Berlin; classical and early Christian archaeology and Western art at the University of Jena; and completing his art history studies in Vienna. Dr. Aga-Oglu was awarded a Ph.D in philosophy in 1926.

Dr. Aga-Oglu was appointed curator by the Department of the National Museum in Istanbul in 1927. In 1929, the city of Detroit recruited Dr. Aga-Oglu to build the Department of Near Eastern Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1933, he was appointed as Chair of the History of Islamic Art at the University of Michigan. He joined the university first as a Freer Fellow and Lecturer and then later became a professor.

Dr. Aga-Oglu's accomplishments during his tenure included representing the University and the Detroit Institute of the Arts at the Millennium Celebration of Firdausi and the Congress of Orientalists in Tehran in 1934; organizing an exhibition of Islamic art at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco in 1937; founding and serving as editor of the periodical Ars Islamica; and serving as a Visiting Professor at the Summer Seminar of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Princeton University in 1935 and 1938.

Following his departure from the University of Michigan in 1938, Dr. Aga-Oglu primarily focused on research and writing. His publications include Persian Bookbindings of the Fifteenth Century, History of Islamic Art, and Safawid Rugs and Textiles. From 1948 to 1949, Dr. Aga-Oglu consulted for the Textile Museum in Washington D.C.

Beginning in 1940, Dr. Aga-Oglu planned, researched, and wrote drafts of his unpublished work Corpus of Islamic Metalwork. His project was intended to be a multi-volume work, but was not completed. Dr. Aga-Oglu died on July 4, 1949.
Provenance:
Donated by Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu in 1959.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Topic:
Art, Islamic  Search this
Art metal-work, Islamic  Search this
Genre/Form:
Maps
Photographs
Notes
Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
Identifier:
FSA.A.10
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a-10

Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1935-1944
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 2: Research Files
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref100

Mines

Collection Creator:
Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 1896-1949  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 4-5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
circa 1945
Scope and Contents:
Volume I.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Collection Citation:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Dr. Kamer Aga-Oglu, 1959.
See more items in:
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers
Mehmet Aga-Oglu Papers / Series 2: Research Files / Manuscript Topics
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-fsa-a-10-ref101

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