Bliss 50th Anniversary Book
James N. Carder (April 2012)
On April 14, 1958, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, the founders of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. For the occasion, 516 of their friends had their names inscribed in a book that the artist and calligrapher Enid Eder Perkins (1896–1973) illuminated in the manner of an eleventh-century Byzantine manuscript (title page at right). The book’s blue leather binding is embossed in gold with the Bliss coat of arms—sheathes of wheat and the motto Quod Severis Metis (as you sow, so will you reap). Following the frontispiece and a French dedication (below) written by the poet and diplomat Alexis Léger (Saint-John Perse) (1887–1975) are the names of the 516 friends, including Bernard Berenson, Nadia Boulanger, Beatrix Farrand, Duncan Phillips, Eleanor Roosevelt, Arturo Rubinstein, and Igor Stravinsky. Léger’s text was read to the Blisses by Henry B. Hyde, Robert Bliss’s godson, at a reception in honor of the Blisses held on April 14, 1958, at the home of Virginia Bacon (Mrs. Robert Low Bacon). This anniversary book is retained in the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.