2020 55¢ American Gardens: Dumbarton Oaks
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 13, 2020
First Day City: Winterthur, DE
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000
Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate in Georgetown, Washington, DC, once owned by Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss. They cofounded the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection on-site, now owned by Harvard University. Today, the research institute is known for its programs in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian studies, garden design, and landscape architecture.
The first house built on the grounds of Dumbarton Oaks was constructed in 1801 and was dubbed “Dumbarton.” The estate was later expanded and renamed “The Oaks.” After yet another expanded and renamed “The Oaks.” After yet another increase in size in 1891, the property was purchased by the Bliss family in 1920. Robert and Mildred combined the estate’s two former names into the Dumbarton Oaks we know today.
When Robert and Mildred Bliss took over, they increased the size of the grounds to a grand total of 54 acres. To fill that land, they enlisted the expertise of landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. Farrand worked closely with Mildred Bliss for nearly 30 years to create a series of terraced gardens, vegetable patches, cutting gardens, and wilderness areas. In 1939, Robert and Mildred decided to open their gardens to the public. They later gifted Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University, but ensured the gardens would be available for everyone to enjoy for years to come.