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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, February 19, 1934

Finance Ministry


19th February 1934.

Dear Robert,

I had a call this morning from your physical trainer, Siposs. Emery Siposs (1893–1948), Mildred Barnes Bliss’s and Robert Woods Bliss’s personal exercise trainer. The Blisses encouraged Siposs to move to Washington, D.C., after they moved there permanently in 1933. He later relocated to California. Alice Hughes (in “A Woman’s New York,” Reading Eagle [October 1, 1946]) described Emery Siposs: “In Santa Barbara, Cal., I ran across an odd little 5-feet-2 man named Emery Siposs, a Hungarian physical director who keeps wealthy old people alive and healthy long after their hearts have started skipping and their arteries hardening. Siposs, as everyone calls him, is the indispensible man at this fabulously rich seaside resort where folks come from far and near to take his treatments. The Harvey Firestones, of Akron are there; the George [sic] Woods Bliss’ of Dunbarton [sic] Oaks; the Stanley McCormicks, of Boston; the Atherton Richards, of Washington, and many more make a shrine around Siposs. He wrestles, pummels and exercises them way beyond his 122 pounds’ worth and he gets results. He used to work on President Rooseveelt, on William Donovan. When Secretary of State Byrnes grew ill in Paris, Siposs was sent for but his work held him back. He lectures in medical schools; is no physician but has standing with the profession. One of his brothers was physical director of Hitler’s armies. I asked one of his patients what Siposs did for him and he said, ‘He gives me bounce.’ Well, there you have it.” The Bliss Papers contains a list of Siposs exercises, dated ca. 1950, as well as five folders of photographs of exercise, HUGFP 76.74p, box 17. I was glad to have news of you and Mildred through him, and to hear that you plan to be in Washington throughout the Spring. As I wrote to Mildred some time ago, I hope to be able to get over there this year early in June, and to find you in Washington.

Siposs told me that he had tried to buy some TokayTokay (or Tokaji), a Hungarian wine from the Tokaj wine region. for you here, but that he was unable to find a shipper willing to undertake the business.

I have gone into the matter, and have been informed, from the official source, that the import of Hungarian wines into the U.S. is limited to a quota, and that for the moment the quota is exhausted and that no imports are allowed. However, it has been indicated to me that the Association of Tokay wine growers has a representative in New York who still has some Tokay in stock, and that the wines he has are the best available. The address is: Danube Products Inc., 43 Exchange Place New York. The Tokay Growers Association is a very reputable body, and I expect that their representative has as good qualities as you would be able to find on the market here. In any case, for the time being, your only chance of getting some Tokay appears to be to buy it over there.

Much love to Mildred


R. T.

Excuse typed letter: haste!

Robert Woods Bliss, Esq.,

Dumbarton Oaks


Washington, D.C.