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Marilyn Jenkins-Madina Archive

Identifier: AKDC-2015-0010


  • late 1960s - 2009



This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, Curator Emerita, Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, earned her Ph.D. in the history of Islamic art at New York University in 1978. Her dissertation, entitled “Medieval Maghribi Ceramics: A Reappraisal of the Pottery Production of the Western Regions of the Muslim World” and supervised by Professor Richard Ettinghausen, explored the glazed pottery tradition in the Maghrib from the middle of the ninth until the middle of the twelfth century to establish, for the time, a continuous and interconnected glazed ceramic tradition in that region.[1]

Dr. Jenkins-Madina began her long curatorial career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1964. Having received her B.A. from Brown University in 1962, she continued to pursue her education while working at The Metropolitan Museum, earning both her M.A. and Ph.D. during this time. From her initial appointment as Curatorial Assistant, she rose through the ranks during her forty-year tenure as curator in the Department of Islamic Art and was named Curator Emerita upon her retirement in 2004.

Dr. Jenkins-Madina’s work includes the critical revision and expansion of those sections dealing with the decorative arts and the arts of the book in the second edition, published in 2001, of the preeminent text, Islamic Art and Architecture: 650-1250. These sections in the first edition, published in 1987, had initially been written by her mentor and long-term colleague, Prof. Richard Ettinghausen.[2] In 2006, she published Raqqa Revisited: Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria,[3] an important study using art-historical detective work, archival documents, and scientific data to place these objects in a secure historical context for the first time.

In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibitions Dr. Jenkins-Madina helped to mount and publish at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she was also very actively engaged throughout her long career in helping various countries in the Near and Middle East to present their own material from the Islamic world. The largest such undertaking was serving as the Project Director for the creation and installation of Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyya in Kuwait which opened to great acclaim in 1983. Dr. Jenkins-Madina remains an active participant in her field. Further, Dr. Jenkins-Madina made a generous gift to Columbia University in honor of her late husband, Maan Z. Madina, MESAAS Professor Emeritus and noted collector of Islamic art. The gift, endowing a visiting scholar position – The Madina Scholar – open to distinguished academics teaching humanities at institutions in the Middle East whose work is grounded in the history of the Arab world, reveals her dedication not only the art of the Islamic world but also to the on-going and intellectually well-grounded study of its history. [4]

Sharon C. Smith, Ph.D. Program Head Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Cambridge, MA 3 November 2016

[1]Marilyn Jenkins, “Medieval Maghribi Ceramics: A Reappraisal of the Pottery Production of the Western Regions of the Muslim World”, (PhD diss., New York University, 1978).

[2] Richard Ettinghausen, Grabar, Oleg, and Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. Islamic art and architecture 650 – 1250. 2nd edition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

[3] Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Raqqa revisited: ceramics of Ayyubid Syria. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, c2006.

[4] “Gift in Honor of the Late Professor Emeritus Maan Z. Madina”, accessed 30 May 2016,


1.5 Linear Feet (7 metal slide boxes with slides; 1 green cloth bag with CD and 4 small plastic boxes that housed additional slides (now empty). Box 8: record carton ) : 8 boxes and one cloth bag: 7 metal slide boxes with slides, 1 cloth bag with a CD and small empty slide boxes. Those slides were moved, and given labelled dividers in with the slides which arrived in box 7. Box 8 contains envelopes of developed negatives and prints, 7 more small slide boxes, and a folder of negatives. ; Slides are all 35mm. Metal boxes: depth 20.5 x width 36.8 x height 5.5 centimetres; bag, circa depth 20 x width 13 x height 25 centimetres. Record carton depth15.5, height 10, width 12.5 inches. Photographs are 4 x 6 inches, negatives are 35mm.

Language of Materials




The slides in boxes 1 through 7 were organized by the donor, Dr. Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, and have been kept in the order in which they were received. The divisions are by slide box (1-7), then in series (1-19), largely by country, then additional information. The exception are boxes 7 and 8. Box 7 originally had groups of mostly miscellaneous unidentified slides, unless noted otherwise. They arrived in bundles in box 7, and small separate boxes. They all remain organized in the groupings in which they were received.

Box 8 is arranged as received, in film processing envelopes, slides boxed as they were processed, and a folder of negatives in order received.


A gift of photographs, negatives, and slides added in August 2019, in one record carton. Contents were retained in the order in which they were received. Box 8 contains a brief inventory of the contents

Processing Information

Notes concerning the spellings and transliteration of the words and names. They are all those of the donor (and purposefully kept that way). Variant and alternate names and transliterations, and translations are not addressed in this finding aid [except occassionally, when added in brackets, if warranted].

Please note that additional information will be coming and added to the scope and contents.

Marilyn Jenkins-Madina Archive
Under Revision
Elisabeth Baldwin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries Repository

Cambridge US