College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > History of Art & Architecture > About > The Jaroslav Folda Archive

The Jaroslav Folda Archive

Jaroslav Folda in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, 2016 (Photo: L. Mahoney)

The Jaroslav Folda Archive consists of over 7000 photographs and slides and over 300 object files that represent the life's work of Jaroslav Folda, N. Ferebee Taylor Professor of the History of Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Folda has devoted over 50 years to the study of the art and architecture of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and its affiliated states. His careful, comprehensive, and encyclopedic work is the foundation for any art historical investigation of this region's medieval period today. DePaul's Department of History of Art and Architecture is honored to have been entrusted with the care of those materials that have inspired his observations and interpretations. In keeping with Dr. Folda's great intellectual generosity, we make them available to the public so that they might continue to inspire art historical efforts.

Mission Statement

The Old City of Jerusalem in 1974
The Old City of Jerusalem, 1974-1975 (Photo: Jaroslav Folda Archive, History of Art and Architecture, DePaul University)

The Jaroslav Folda Archive was established in June of 2018, when Dr. Folda's 7000+ slides and photographs arrived at DePaul University's Department of History of Art and Architecture. These slides and photographs document Medieval, Islamic, and Byzantine sites that Dr. Folda visited between 1973 and 2004 in Cyprus, Egypt (including the Sinai Peninsula), England, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey and works held in museum and library collections in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt (including the Sinai Peninsula), England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Norway, Palestine, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, and the United States. Accompanying "object" files contain information related to the subjects of these slides and photographs and include Dr. Folda's notes both from their original consultation and from correspondence with site experts and museum and library custodians. The goal of the Folda Archive is 1) to preserve this important collection of materials and 2) to make this collection available to DePaul faculty and students and to outside researchers. In 2022, the collection will be augmented by over 1000 books from Dr. Folda's library, making the archive a unique visual and textual assemblage. Its significance and enduring historical value is particularly manifest in the case of now damaged, destroyed, or inaccessible works.


The Jaroslav Folda Archive
Ashley Sorensen in the archive, 2018 (Photo: L. Mahoney)

The Jaroslav Folda Archive is a non-lending archive. Its materials are available for in-person consultation, however. Please make an appointment to visit the archive in order to ensure desk availability. The digitization of slides and photographs is ongoing. The Libib platform temporarily makes these particular digital materials searchable offsite (link coming soon). This platform allows us to join thumbnail (small, low-resolution) images with catalog information and subject descriptions. If larger images are required, please contact the archive.

For desk reservation, image requests, and object file, book, or offprint inquiries, please contact Lisa Mahoney (Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture) at

Funding Information

The process of scanning and cataloguing the Jaroslav Folda Archive's photographic materials has been supported by a University Research Council Grant, Faculty Summer Research Grants, and the Society of Vincent de Paul Professors via Warren C. Schultz. The scanning and cataloguing of these photographic materials has been undertaken by Ashley Sorensen ('21) and Rafia Afzal ('23). The cataloguing of books has been undertaken by Ashley Sorensen ('21) and Ruby Tierney ('23). Laura Brettholle ('16) has been serving as consulting archivist.

A Note from Jaroslav Folda

I first became fascinated with the study of the history of the Crusades at Princeton University as an undergraduate. In my graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University my dissertation for the Ph.D. introduced me to the remarkable world of medieval art commissioned and produced for and by the Crusaders in the Holy Land. From that beginning I enjoyed a fruitful career of teaching, research and publication for 40 some years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During this time my extensive research travel in Europe and the Near East enabled me to study and photograph works of Crusader painting, sculpture and architecture. The resulting collection of files on manuscripts, slides and photos of the works of art, and the books that were acquired to study the history and art history of the Crusader East in relation to Byzantium, Western Europe and Islam in the Near East constituted my personal working library and resources for study, writing and the publications listed in my Curriculum Vitae. When my colleague and former student, Dr. Lisa Mahoney, approached me with the invitation to organize an archive of these materials at DePaul University, where I had lectured a number of times on the art of the Crusaders, I was enormously grateful. Because of her interest in these materials and her vision for organizing them as a resource for people to access at DePaul University, it is my hope that these materials might assist other students and scholars to discover and further their interest in the medieval art of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. My sincere thanks to Dr. Mahoney for the dedicated work and the endless hours she and her assistants have put into the formation of this archive at the Department of History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University.

Jaroslav Folda, August 2021