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"Religion," mural in the North Corridor, Library of Congress Jefferson Building, by Charles Sprague Pearce, 1897.

Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Studies

Address: 1703 32nd Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
Telephone Number: (202) 339-6443
Contact Persons: Bridget Gazzo, Librarian

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Monday--Friday 9:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.
Open to the public: No
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

Not open to the public; open to qualified researchers by application only. Although the Library exists primarily to serve the scholars who hold fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks, it is also open by appointment to qualified outside scholars.

Reference Policy:
Telephone and mail reference questions are not answered.
Borrowing Privileges:
Not a lending institution.
Background Note:
The Pre-Columbian Library was founded in the first half of this century by Robert Woods Bliss, who acquired published works relating to the art of the high cultures of ancient America to complement his growing collection of pre-Hispanic art. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss donated his library of pre-Columbian books and collection of pre-Columbian art to the Dumbarton Oaks.

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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
The number of volumes is not available. This collection dates from the 17th century to the present. Emphases of the collection include: religions of the indigenous people of the Americas as practiced during pre-conquest and early colonial times; Christian evangelization of indigenous people with particular influence by the Franciscans and the Jesuits; and studies of syncretism. There is also a strength in the pre-conquest and Christian religious art of indigenous people with a strong focus on the Virgin Mary. Highlights of the collection include early catechisms, sermons, and confessionaries (bilingual/Nahuatl - i.e. language of the Aztecs). Confessionaries are manuals for priests to guide indigenous people in confession.

There is a card catalog covering the entire collection.

To contact the institution described in this entry, please use the contact information at the top of this page.
To submit updates and corrections for this entry, please use our comments form.
To ask a reference question, please use our Ask a Librarian form.
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  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  June 22, 2017
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