Freer | Sackler

Discovering Babur’s Gardens

Examine the Records

Elizabeth Moynihan has always been interested in increasing people’s knowledge about South Asian art and culture. She lived in India in the mid-1970s when her husband, the late Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, served as ambassador there and has maintained strong ties to the region since that time. Given her passion for the topic, it is not surprising that she’s had a long-standing relationship with the Freer|Sackler. Over the years, she has supported the museum in a variety of roles. As a board member from 1990 to 2005, she helped the museum acquire folios from the Baburnama. As an author, she documented her discovery of the Moonlight Garden in a best-selling book published by the Freer|Sackler in 2000. As a scholar with a lifelong interest in the emperor Babur, she conducted the groundbreaking research on his Mughal gardens that is featured on this site. And in 2013, as a benefactor, she donated 7.13 linear feet—as high as Shaquille O’Neal is tall—of Babur-related and other research material to the museum.

The Elizabeth Moynihan Collection
Located within the Freer|Sackler Archives, the collection documents Elizabeth Moynihan’s research of several Mughal gardens in India. It includes correspondence, field notebooks, drawings, sketchbooks, photographs, slides, rock specimens, blueprints, maps, and published articles and is organized in seven series:

  1. Gardens
    1. Lotus Garden, Dholpur
    2. Jai Mahal Garden, Jaipur
    3. Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), Agra
  2. Book research materials
  3. Garden reference materials
  4. Slides
  5. Notebooks
  6. Rock specimens
  7. Oversized materials

Access the Collection
See the Finding Aid for descriptions of each series.
Go to the Collections Search Center for online access to the Moynihan research material.
Visit the Freer|Sackler Archives in Washington, DC, to examine the records themselves.