Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
3 documents - page 1 of 1

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:

Langdon Warner Report

Creator:
Warner, Langdon (1881-1955)  Search this
Names:
Warner, Langdon (1881-1955)  Search this
Extent:
2 Copies (Two copies of a bound volume of 226 typed pages, with 48 mounted silver gelatin prints with captions, 194p, 29 x 22 cm.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Copies
Reports
Photographs
Place:
China
Japan
Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
Date:
1915
Scope and Contents:
A report prepared by archaeologist and art historian Langdon Warner on his travels of 1913-1914 to investigate the founding of an American school of Chinese archaeology to be established in Beijing. Warner's travels included Europe, Japan, Korea, China and Indo-China. Warner spoke with scholars, administrators and officials, and travelled to museums and archaeological sites. Warner traveled with his wife. The report contains two parts; the first being a summary of his travels, and the second, a series of recommendations for the proposed school.
Biographical / Historical:
Langdon Warner was an archaeologist and historian of Asian art in the first half of the 20th century. He was born on August 1, 1881 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard University, which he graduated from in 1903. Between acting in various positions at museums across the country, most notably the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Harvard Fogg Museum of Art, he travelled extensively in Asia. Including an 1913-14 trip sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution to explore the possibility of founding an American School of Chinese Archaeology in Beijing. Accompanied by his wife, their journey included visits to Europe, Japan, Korea, China, and Indochina. He spoke with scholars, administrators, and officials, and travelled to museums and archaeological sites. He compiled a two-part report: a summary of his travels and a series of recommendations for the proposed school.

During World War II, Warner taught a course on Japanese language, culture, and history to Civil Affairs Officers and acted as a Special Consultant for the U.S. Army's Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, the so-called "Monuments Men." He created the Official List of Monuments for Japan, China, Korea, and Thailand. Warner spent the summer of 1946 working as an Expert Consultant to the Arts and Monuments Division of the Civil Information and Education Section under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Upon his return to Massachusetts, he resumed working at the Fogg Museum of Art until his retirement in 1950. During his career, he wrote numerous books on Asian art such as The Enduring Art of Japan, The Long Old Road in China, and Japanese Sculpture of the Tempyo Period: Masterpieces of the Eighth Century. Warner died on June 9, 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was posthumously awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasures by the Japanese government for his efforts to preserve Japanese art and monuments during and after the war.
Local Numbers:
FSA A1994.07
Other Archival Materials:
Landon Warner Papers, circa late 18th century-1987 (bulk 1900-1959). Houghton Library, Harvard University 

Langdon Warner Photograph Collection, 1903-1950. Houghton Library, Harvard University. 

Langdon Warner Records, 1916-1929 (bulk 1917-1923). Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives. 
Provenance:
Gift 1994
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Topic:
Archaeology  Search this
Art, Asian -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Genre/Form:
Reports
Photographs
Citation:
The Warner Report, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Gift of Katherine Graham, 1994.
Identifier:
FSA.A1994.07
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a1994-07
2 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Langdon Warner Report digital asset number 1
  • View Langdon Warner Report digital asset number 2
Online Media:

Fritz Rumpf Notebooks

Creator:
Rumpf, Friedrich Karl Georg, 1888-1949  Search this
Extent:
3 Notebooks (3 notebooks and loose notes. Notebooks are very worn and many pages are likely not in their original order. Notebook 3 is without covers)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notebooks
Place:
Japan
Berlin (Germany)
Date:
circa 1914-1930s
Scope and Contents:
Three undated notebooks by artist and educator Friedrich Karl Georg (Fritz) Rumpf (1888-1949). With multiple notes in German and Japanese, and drawings in pencil, ink and wash made during his travels and research in Japan. The notebooks also contain many loose paper scraps and letters, including a draft letter addressed to Felix Tikotin.
Arrangement:
in a box
Biographical / Historical:
Friedrich (Fritz) Karl Georg Rumpf the Younger was the son of the Potsdam painter Fritz Rumpf (1856-1927). He grew up in Potsdam and at 15 studied Japanese from a Japanese officer who attended the military school in Potsdam. After graduating from middle school, he studied at the Royal School of Arts in Berlin. He moved to Japan in 1908, where he studied woodblock printing under Igami Bonkotsu (1875-1933) and was active in the literary society "Pan no Kai." From 1910 he continued his studies in Berlin under the artist Emil Orlik. At the beginning of World War I he was sent to China as a military officer and was taken prisoner following the surrender of Qingdao to the Japanese in 1914. He was a prisoner of war in Oita and Narashino until 1920. In 1931 under Asian art historian Otto Kümmel, he produced a dissertation on the Ise monogatari woodblock print edition of 1608. Rumpf traveled extensively in Japan throughout his career. In 1927-1928 he accompanied the art collector Felix Tikotin (1893-1986) in Japan.
Local Numbers:
FSA A2015.22
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Genre/Form:
Notebooks
Identifier:
FSA.A2015.22
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a2015-22
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Fritz Rumpf Notebooks digital asset number 1
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By
  • Images
  • Finding aids
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives