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Rare Book Collection (Garden Library)

Designed by Frederick Rheinlander King (aka Frederic Rhinelander King) (1887–1972)

American, Georgian Revival
ca. 1962
brick and stone

Not on view


The Garden Library with its Rare Book Room and entrance vestibule was the last institutional addition that Mildred Bliss planned and appointed. The architect Frederic Rhinelander King--of the New York City architectural firm of Wyeth & King--designed this addition to the Museum Wing beginning in 1960, and construction was completed in 1962 and opened in 1963. King modeled the pavilion after the two existing Byzantine Collection pavilions which shared with the Garden Library the streetscape on 32nd Street.

The Garden Library collection was started by Mildred Bliss at the end of the Second World War. Her interest in garden history was given a special stimulus by her close collegial and friendship with Beatrix Jones Farrand, the landscape architect for Dumbarton Oaks. The two women--similar in social backgrounds, education and taste--worked together for several decades on the design of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens. As their friendship grew they conceived the idea of establishing a research center in the history of garden design. The Garden Library contains rare books in three subject areas: the theory and practice of garden design and horticultural methods, including views and plans of gardens, garden structures and ornament; architectural treatises and views; and illustrated botanical books, from the earliest herbals to nineteenth-century floras. The period covered by the collection extends over four centuries , with virtually every major work relating to garden design which was published in Europe and America included in the library's holdings.

J. Carder

Acquisition History
Commissioned in 1960 by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss for the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection from Frederic Rheinlander King, New York, NY. The renovation was completed in 1962.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, House Collection, Washington, DC.