Part of what drove Van Nice’s meticulous attention to detail was an awareness, from an early stage, that the information he was collecting was important and worthy of preservation. The clarity and thoroughness of even his tiny notes to himself suggest a rare consciousness that someone would (or should) be reading those notes decades later, and would benefit from a full explanation.
This eye for scholarly value extended beyond his own work. Van Nice was also interested in making sure the work of others was preserved, and was instrumental in bringing a particular collection of photographs to the attention of Dumbarton Oaks. This collection of over 500 images, by the photographer Nicholas Artamonoff, has been the subject of an ongoing investigation in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives. Artamonoff traveled to many of the archaeological sites that were springing up in and around Istanbul during the 1930’s and 40’s, and documented them in a series of stunning black and white photographs. In many cases, they depict structures that no longer exist, or are badly damaged today, making them extremely important for archaeological work. The collection was acquired by the ICFA with the help of Van Nice in 1962. Gunder Varinlioğlu, Byzantine Assistant Curator at ICFA and Alyssa DesRochers, ICFA intern, have spent months tracking down as much information as they could about the life and work of Mr. Artamonoff, and making his beautiful photographs available online.
To see more of his work, as well as a wealth of information about the locations and sites that he worked at, check out the website that Gunder and Aly have created, and look out in the future for a blog from the ICFA about this exciting project!