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Friend, Albert M., Jr.

    Image Credit: Dumbarton Oaks

    Full Name: Friend, Albert M., Jr.

    Other Names:

    • Albert Mathias Friend Jr.

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1894

    Date Died: 1956

    Place Born: Ogontz, PA, USA

    Place Died: Princeton, Mercer, NJ, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Byzantine (culture or style)

    Career(s): educators


    Princeton University Byzantinist and early administrator of Dumbarton Oaks. Friend entered Princeton University in 1911, received his B. A. in 1915 and continued his graduate work in the Department of Art and Archaeology with Allan Marquand as chair. It was with medievalist Charles Rufus Morey that Friend did most of his graduate work. During World War I he served with the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1918. After his return he joined the Princeton Department in 1921, remaining on the faculty the rest of his life. He never completed the Ph.D. degree. Initially Friend researched and wrote on medieval manuscript illumination. His studies on the manuscript style of the Abbey of St. Denis, although today generally discredited, was his initial foray into the field. From there, Friend’s interest in Evangelist types in the art of both east and west, ultimately brought him into his mature area, Byzantine studies. He was elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 1936 and made Professor of the department. Friend built a research room at Princeton equipped with a library and photographs to better research the topics of the so-called “Manuscript Seminar,” begun by Morey and attended by scholars from throughout the world. The photographs were those taken on Princeton expeditions to Greek Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos. Friend used the collection to make important discoveries, including tracing the work of the eighth-century theologian, John of Damascus, through a sticherarium or hymn book, concluding John as the “father” of both Byzantine music and art. Friend became editor of the project to publish a corpus of Greek Bible manuscripts based on the “Athos photographs” a project known as the volumes, Illustrations in the Manuscripts of the Septuagint. The first volume appeared in 1941. His single publication on renaissance art, an article on Dürer, appeared in 1943. In 1943, too, he was named named a member of the Board of Scholars to Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks, a research center for Byzantine studies outside Washgington, D. C. Thus began a long and important relationship with the institution. He directed the 1944 symposium at the center, became a resident scholar between 1947-48, and from 1948, Director of Studies. Although retaining Princeton faculty status, Friend’s devotion to Dumbarton Oaks developed it into the premier Byzantine studies center on which its current reputation is based. As an administrator, he strengthened its ties with the university, giving scholars academic rank while there, and creating junior position for newer scholars. Each spring Friend hosted distinguished seminars at Dumbarton Oaks, bringing together the best scholars on Byzantine culture. In 1946 succeeded Morey as Marquand Professor at Princeton. A three-year illness cut short his work. He died at 62.Friend’s research focused on reconstructing the origins of early manuscript illumination. His methodology followed that of C. R. Morey, his mentor and colleague.

    Selected Bibliography

    “Portraits of the Evangelists in Greek and Latin Manuscripts.” Art Studies 5 (1927): 115-47, 7 (1929): 3-29; “Carolingian Art in the Abbey of St. Denis.” Art Studies I (1923): 67-75; “The Canon Tables of the Book of Kells.” in Medieval Studies in Memory of A. Kingsley Porter, ed. Wilhelm R. W. Koehler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1939: 611-66; “Dürer and the Hercules Borghese-Piccolomini.” Art Bulletin 25 (1943): 40-9. and DeWald, Ernest T., and Weitzmann, Kurt. The Illustrations in the Manuscripts of the Septuagint. 3 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1941- .


    Panofsky, Erwin. “The History of Art.” In The Cultural Migration: The European Scholar in America. Introduction by W. Rex Crawford. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953, p. 87, mentioned; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 63, mentioned; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, pp. 59, 53 n. 110; [obituaries] DeWald, Ernest. “Albert Mathias Friend, Jr.” Speculum 32 (July 1957): 641; Menzies, Elizabeth. “A.M. Friend, Jr. Educator, 62, Dies.” The New York Times March 25, 1956; p. 92; “Albert Mathias Friend, Jr.” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 12 (1958): 1-2.


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