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Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (1904–1973) - Art History

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Dorothy Eugenia Miner was born on November 4, 1904, in New York City to Roy Waldo Miner, a marine biologist at the American Museum of Natural History (curator of marine life) and former Episcopalian minister, and Anna Elizabeth (Carroll) Miner, a former Catholic nun. Miner attended Graham School in New York City and Horace Mann School for Girls. In 1922 she entered Barnard College, majoring in English and the classics. She graduated from Barnard in 1926 and entered Bedrod College at the University of London as the first Barnard International Fellow. She studied with Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University in the field of medieval manuscript illumination from 1928 to 1929 and began her doctoral dissertation on a Carolingian Apocalypse manuscript. She continued working on the dissertation in Europe from 1929 to 1930 as a president’s fellow.

In 1933–34 Miner was hired by the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City to help prepare an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts. The director of the Morgan Library, Belle Da Costa Greene, recommended her for the position of keeper of manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Miner began working on the over 20,000 objects and became one of the first professionally trained art historians employed in an American museum. She was also curator of Islamic and Near Eastern Art and for several years head of the reference library. In 1937 she wrote, with Grace Frank, Proverbes et Rimes . From 1938 to 1969 she edited the Journal of the Walter Gallery and many catalogues published by the museum which became standard reference works. Some examples are Early Christian and Byzantine Art (1947); Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1949); The World Encompassed (maps and cartography) (1952); The History of Bookbinding, 525-1950 (1957); The International Style (1962); and 2000 Years of Caligraphy (1965). Miner also wrote a variety of articles on works from the Walters collections. In 1954 she edited Studies in Art and Literature for Belle Da Costa Greene. Dorothy Miner was honored with a copy of a festschrift, Gatherings in Honor of Dorothy Miner , shortly before her death from cancer in Baltimore in May 1973. A posthumously published lecture, Anataise and Her Sisters, Women Artists of the Middle Ages (1974), was also given and has been considered groundbreaking in the field.

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