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John Seymour Thacher (1904–1982)

John S. Thacher was an American art historian and the first director of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C. Thacher received his baccalaureate degree from Yale University in 1927 and his doctorate in art history fromthe Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, in 1936. His dissertation was on the paintings of F. de H. the Elder. In 1936, Thacher began work at the Fogg Museum of Art, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His initial title was keeper of paintings, although he served primarily as an auxiliary to director Frederick Robinson in the Directors’ office. Upon Robinson’s departure, in 1937, Thacher’s title changed to assistant to the directors. In 1940, he was appointed assistant director of the Fogg and executive officer of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and with Paul J. Sachs, the chairman of the Dumbarton Oaks Administrative Committee. He became acting director of Dumbarton Oaks in 1945 and assumed the directorship the following year, a position in which he served until his retirement, in 1969. Thacher was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1946 and also received decorations from the governments of Italy and Greece. A fellow of the Pierpont Morgan Library, he was a member of the board of directors of the American National Opera Company.