Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, October 25, 1939

Geneva

25.X.39

Dear Robert.

Your letter of Sept. 15–Oct. 4There were handwritten additions to this letter that were not recorded on the extant carbon copy. reached me ten days ago, to my great joy. I’ll run through the points in it.

About the £100 you added to the price of the Kaleb. things,BZ.1939.13 and BZ.1939.14.1–25. I realized your intention, and credited your ac/ accordingly. I am extremely anxious to hear what you think of the things. In the absence of news, I assume that they reached you according to programme. It was kind of BullittWilliam Christian Bullitt Jr. (1891–1967), an American diplomat, journalist, novelist; he was the first U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933–1936) as well as an ambassador to France (1936–1940). to trouble to find someone to take them along.

Funny, my letter to you from the steamer never reaching you. I certainly did write telling you I was glad you had got the Sotheby’s MS.BZ.1939.12. I consider it a very good buy.

Many thanks for the copies of correspondence. It was angelic of you to write to Pierrepont Moffat.Jay Pierrepont Moffat (1896–1943), an American diplomat, historian, and statesman who was with the U.S. State Department in a variety of posts between 1917 and 1943, later becoming ambassador to Canada. I entirely agree that it was much better to approach him than to make overtures to the British or French Embassies. If Bill isn’t needed at the State Dept., I think he had better get on with his own work at Cambridge.

I was amused by your account of what you said to poor old Kelek, and I agree that $5000 is a fair offer for the mugBZ.1939.31. and the antilope textile.BZ.1939.32. If the old man accepts it, you’ll have scored such a success as few if any collectors have ever scored with an Armenian dealer.

About old F.—I’ve had no communication with him since August. Perhaps he may give me a sign of life, sometime. If he does, I may see him. I agree with you that the only procedure, now, would be in case the things were in Switzerland.German ivories. I can’t imagine, in the circumstances, the Fr. & Br. museums being interested, however. I think my line, in present circumstances, must be to leave it to F. to make any overtures, to point out to him, if he does turn up, the difficulties inherent in the affair, and to see what he proposes, just offering to report to you if what he has in mind appears sufficiently realistic to merit your attention.

I’ve heard nothing from Mrs. Byne.Mildred Stapley Byne (1874–1941), wife of the dealer and art scholar Arthur Byne (1884–1935). Born in the United States, the Bynes had moved to Madrid in 1916. I know what you have in mind, and will proceed accordingly if I do hear.The meaning of this reference is unknown.

Yes, I’m impressed by having a grand-daughter.Matilda Eve Tyler (b. 1939). Possibly the sensation might have been livelier in other circumstances. I’ve had a few letters from Bill. I know how he must feel, and how difficult it must be for him. I hope he has a lot of work. That’s the only remedy, these days.

Yes, I met the Harold Tittmans [sic]Harold H. Tittmann Jr. (1893–1980), an American diplomat and author who at the time was U.S. consul-general in Geneva. He married Eleanor Dulaney Barclay in 1928. in Washington, and I’ve seen a good deal of them since they arrived here. I like both of them very much indeed. I’ve told him all I know about May Ambuhl [sic].May Amboul Herbert had been Mildred Barnes Bliss’s personal secretary in Paris. Sorry to hear she is losing her job (with the International Parliamentary Bureau,The International Parliamentary Bureau, a branch of the International Socialist Congress created in 1904 and composed of a representative from the members of each nation attending the Congress. not the L.O.N.League of Nations, an international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War and whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.). If any opportunity for her came my way, I’d be happy to route it toward her—but as you may imagine, these are bad days from that point of view, with heavy dismissals of staff here, there and everywhere.

So far, developments in S.E. Europe have been for the best, in the circumstances, it seems to me. Of course, it’s a nightmare for the Hunks“Hungarians.” to have the USSR a next door neighbor, but for the moment, at least, it doesn’t look as if the USSR were intending to start anything that way. I doubt if the USSR feels like running the risk of even a minor adventure. It has gained hugely in prestige, at no cost, in the Baltic & Poland, and may well afford to keep quiet now.

I fear that a free hand S.-E. may have been promised HitlerAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. by Stalin,Joseph Stalin (1878–1953), leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. and that, if things go well with Hitler elsewhere he may exercise his option. But for the moment he has his hands full, and will probably limit his interference with the Hunk“Hungarian.” to putting on pressure to get advantageous trade terms. Even so as far as I can see, he can’t sell for better currencies. The Hunk’s great need now is for money with which he can buy raw materials for his industry. He is determined to resist German demands that he scrap his industry and devote himself to growing food for Fritz,Royall Tyler’s slang for “Germans.” in exchange for such manufactured articles as Fritz may consider appropriate.

I’m glad to hear you think, “feel”, that the allies are going to win. So do I. I fear it will be a long business—but I’m not absolutely sure, even of that. The USSR, I have no doubt, will be the cause of many a headache to Adolf.Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. I don’t believe in a world struggle of Nazidom allied with Communism against democracy. I think Stalin’s hope is to keep the war going until both sides are exhausted—and not to take any commitments himself.

Elisina isn’t taking on any war work. Though better, her health is still far from being good enough. I spent a couple of days with her last month, and am preparing to do so again now. She plans to stay at Antigny this winter.

I’ve done a draft of a paper on the LandauNicolas Landau (1887–1979), an antiquities dealer known as “Le prince des antiquaires.” Born in Varsovia, he studied law in Paris before becoming an antiquities dealer in New York and then in Paris, where he had a business on the rue de Duras. ivory,BZ.1939.8. which I’ll try to complete & send along.Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler would publish the Landau ivory (BZ.1939.8) in “Three Byzantine Works of Art,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 2 (1941): 11, 13–18. Emp.BZ.1937.23. & Mad.BZ.1938.62. will be a big order:Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler would publish the emperor roundel (BZ.1937.23) in “Three Byzantine Works of Art,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 2 (1941): 1, 3–9. they both present very difficult problems, in a field about which next to nothing is known. H.P.Hayford Peirce. & I are doing what we can to clear up the problems, but we’re not ready yet. I’m very busy here, at present.

My best love to both of you. Please tell Mildred that I constantly think of her.

Yrs

R. T.

 
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères