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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, November 22, 1938



Dear Robert.

On return from a quick trip down there, I’m cabling: “Doro & wife profoundly grateful accept providentially opportune cable & telephone invitations arranging formalities departure earliest possible & will make any advances necessary.”Robert Woods Bliss helped secure a position for Doro Levi at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as well as paid lectures at various American universities, including Harvard.

I hope to be able to give you further news shortly. For the moment, the position is that D. has had official confirmation that he is dismissed and will be relieved as soon as a successor has be found. Until then, he has no right to leave his post. Naturally, he wishes, if it can possibly be managed, to comply with the regulations down to the last jot & tittle. He is going to Rome in the next days to try to find out using the utmost discretion, of course:

a) When he will be given his official release from his present duties;

b) Whether there will be any difficulty in his leaving the country. He has a passport good for all countries but Spain, and as far as I can see, he doesn’t need anything but the Am. visa.

Subject to what he may find out from his friend in Rome, it seems to me that he’d better leave the country immediately he is clear of his official duties, going either to Greece, with his wife (who is told she’ll be able to get a Greek passport there), or to Switzerland, and that I should then cable you to what consulate to send the affidavit.

It is possible it may turn out that he can get the visa in the country itself, in which case I’ll of course advise you immediately.

No words can tell you how grateful those two people are to you for all you have done, just at this moment when without the prospects you have opened for them the future would be a blank. And I also am grateful dear Robert, and happy, for I’m convinced that you’ll be glad to have found D. for Harvard.Harvard University had proposed naming Doro Levi university professor of classical archaeology at Harvard University and consultant to Dumbarton Oaks. But the requirement that Robert Woods Bliss contribute a substantial amount to Levi’s salary for a five-year period made the offer untenable. He is a rare creature in many ways, and not least in his power of firing the imagination of his students, not merely with a temporary interest, but with a lifelong vocation. He will leave his present post, after 3 years, having formed three disciples (all Christians) each one of whom is of really first-rate quality, and all of whom are utterly devoted to their work (they are already in the career) and to him. The best of them, whose name I’ll tell you, when the news that it was final came, implored D. to accept his savings, which he had been putting by in order to marry, after a ten years’ engagement.

Well, it has been a nightmare for D. & wife, that has lasted for months, and your messages have dispelled it. All that now remains in the question how to get out of the country: a pretty delicate one, too, but one may hope that it will not be insoluble.

Please let me know when the Corporation will consider the appointment? I understood from what you said on the phone that that is all that remains to be done over there.

Much love to you both

R. T.

Associated People: Doro Levi