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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 26, 1932

66, Cornwall Gardens,

Just a line, dearest Mildred, to tell you that I’ve seen Paul Sachs here and have had a very interesting and I think useful talk with him about The Oaks. He said he was going to write to you in full about our talk, so I won’t risk crossing wires by giving you a detailed account of it.This letter, if preserved, is not known. On July 19, 1932, Paul Sachs wrote to the lawyer Alfred Gregory, providing him with information “ . . . in order to enable you and your partner to draw up a legal document which might someday indicate clearly to the President and Fellows of Harvard College and to the Directors of the Fogg Art Museum the grandiose scheme that Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bliss have thought about so much and have discussed with us here and in Washington in some detail . . . it is the logical development of the Fogg idea.” Sachs explained his own “philosophy”: “The importance of the fine arts in the life of a nation is abundantly testified to by historic fact. But their importance in education, particularly university education, has never been satisfactorily stressed. . . . The museum official is the educator of the public in the fine arts. . . . The teacher of the fine arts develops standards of taste and appreciation and helps to pass them on from one generation to the next. . . . It is important, therefore, that the idea in the minds of Mr. and Mrs. Bliss should be carried out and this is, that, in addition to those outside facilities, there should be in the Bliss Institute a compact but essential working library and someday a collection of photographs as well. The library idea has been started. . . . Mr. and Mrs. Bliss may have asked . . . whether there is a demand for professionally trained men who can profitably carry on their studies under the sheltered advantages of a Bliss Institute. . . . To such a hypothetical question I answer an unqualified ‘yes’. . . . More than this, it is perfectly clear to all of us that the older generation of teachers would be immensely benefited if, now and again, they could be set free to finish a book or to carry on a further investigation under the sheltering arm of the Bliss Institute. . . . So you see the thought that underlies the Bliss Foundation has, ever since 1916, been put into practice right here in a very limited fashion, because, as I say, we have only one such fellowship but the benefits that have accrued to the country from the existence of this one single fellowship have convinced Forbes and me that what Mr. and Mrs. Bliss propose on such a grandiose scale is bound to lead to highly satisfactory results, and particularly if under the guidance of the Fogg Museum, young and older scholars of trained ability may be drawn to the Bliss Institute, not only from Harvard, but from other institutions like Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, etc. . . . “ Dumbarton Oaks History, Sachs correspondence, Dumbarton Oaks Archives.

I’ve come here for a few days—very few—and a look in on Paris. Returning next week to B-pest. The chances for the World Economic Conference have received a very heavy blow, I fear, from the resignation (yesterday) of Walter Layton from the British Delegation.Walter Thomas Layton (1884–1966), editor of The Economist in 1922–1938. In October 1932, Layton resigned his membership on the preparatory committee of the World Economic Conference, citing the British government’s unwillingness to bring about a radical change in the world’s commercial policies and, specifically, a lowering of tariffs in all countries. Layton feels he can’t do any good there when his Govt. is opposing the one measure that has been taken of late in the direction of International Sanity—the agreement between Holland and Belgium to lower their tariffs towards each other. Salter is also utterly disgusted, in fact he sailed for N-Y today. So Gt. Britain will be represented by officials, and apparently means to do nothing serious. It’s attitude on Disarmament about equally disappointing.

The Lib. de France, our publishers, are increasing the number of copies of our Vol. IIL’art byzantin. from 500 (Vol. I) to 750 for Vol. II, which looks as if they were pleased with the reception Vol. I is having.

I’ll write again soon, at greater length.

Bless you.

R. T.

Associated Things: L'art byzantin