Fellows Building – Dumbarton Oaks

Washington DC, United States | C.1933

Photo Credit: James Gagliardi

Situated in the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C., the Fellows Building was built in 1933 for Mildred and Robert Bliss who originally wanted a superintendent’s dwelling for their estate. Seven years later, the couple gifted the building – and 16 acres of spectacular surrounding land – to Harvard University to use as a residence for its scholars specializing in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian studies as well as garden design and landscape architecture.

From then on, the building became the heart of the research center, fostering lively discourse, social gatherings, and lasting friendships. When the scholars weren’t discussing their academic subjects, they were hosting social parties — and such gatherings earned a reputation of their own. Not for wild antics, but rather stimulating conversations and a welcoming atmosphere. Landscape Studies student Betsy Rosasco, who initially avoided the parties, concluded that she must attend, in order to find out more about the “fascinating bunch” at Dumbarton Oaks.

Today, the mission of Dumbarton Oaks remains the same: to support and promote scholarship in multiple specialty areas, and scholars are invited from around the world to study here or pursue individual research. But dont worry, if your scholarship letter was lost in the mail, the gorgeous gardens are open to the public for the enjoyment of all – no letter of acceptance necessary, just perhaps check the times online before arrival.

Written By: Kelly Murray

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