Dallas R. Finn, architecture expert

December 7, 2012

Dallas R. Finn, 93, who wrote and lectured on Japanese architecture and design, died Nov. 22 at the Carriage Hill nursing facility in Bethesda.

She had multiple system organ failure, a daughter, Vaughan Finn, said.

Mrs. Finn lived in Japan from 1947 to 1954, when her husband was assigned there as a U.S. diplomat. She became fluent in the language and taught at universities in Tokyo. She became an authority on Japanese design, with a specialty in how Western architecture was adapted by the Japanese.

In 1995, after several years of research in Japan, Mrs. Finn published “Meiji Revisited,” a book about how Victorian architectural styles were modified and adopted in 19th-century Japan. She lectured widely on this subject and published magazine articles about Japanese design and historical encounters between Japan and the West.

Mrs. Finn was a past president of the Washington-Tokyo Women’s Club and a member of several other groups promoting cultural understanding between Japan and the United States. She received a commendation from the Japanese government in 2004 for contributing to goodwill between the two countries.

Dallas Eugenia Rumsey was a Buffalo native and a 1939 graduate of Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass. She received a master’s degree in history from Harvard University in 1942.

Mrs. Finn lived in San Francisco during World War II and came to Washington in 1945. She lived in Paris from 1959 to 1963 and later was a longtime resident of the Glen Echo section of Bethesda.

She taught at the District’s old Mount Vernon Junior College from 1954 to 1958.

Her husband of 56 years, Richard B. Finn, died in 1998. Survivors include two daughters, Allison Finn of Tallahassee and Vaughan Finn of West Hartford, Conn., and four grandsons.

— Matt Schudel

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