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Barbara Sessions (1899–1980)
Barbara Sessions (1899–1980)

Barbara Foster Sessions was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, on June 22, 1899, and died there on July 4, 1980. She went to Smith College, where she majored in English and minored in history. She was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1919 and graduated summa cum laude in 1920. It was also at Smith that she met the composer Roger Sessions (1896–1985), who began teaching there in 1918; they were married in 1920. In 1925, she studied art history at the Sorbonne, and intermittently between 1925 and 1928, she and her husband lived in the Villino Corbignano on Bernard Berenson’s Florentine estate, Villa I Tatti, where she assisted Berenson as librarian and in doing research. The Sessions separated in 1933 and divorced in 1936, the year Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss hired Barbara Sessions as librarian at Dumbarton Oaks, in preparation for opening the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Barbara Sessions remained at Dumbarton Oaks until 1946.