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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Elisina Tyler, July 31, 1950

Hotel MiramarThe Hotel Miramar, an oceanfront hotel property in Montecito that began as a guest property in 1876 and increased to twenty-nine structures by 1910. Paul Gawzner acquired the hotel in 1939 and owned it until 1998.

Santa Barbara, California

July 31st, 1950

This is a long overdue acknowledgment of the letter Royall brought me, Elisina dear.See letter of May 12, 1950. Scusi.“Apologies.” Our entire existence was capsized by Tom Whittemore’s sudden—so desperately sudden—cessation,Whittemore died of a heart attack on June 8, 1950. and I got to a state when to make any effort seemed almost more than I could compass, in the limpness of the Washington weather and the depression of one’s own mind. Royall will of course have told you what a sorry loss Tom is, not only as a friend who heightened the interest of life, but also for the work at Constantinople, for which he really was indispensable.For Whittemore and the Byzantine Institute’s work in Istanbul, see “The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers, ca. late 1920s–2000s,” Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks. One always hesitates to use that word, but in this case it is, alas, only too accurate. Not only did he know more about the Byzantine mosaics than any one, but he knew how to deal with the Turks, which requires a thoroughly Byzantine technique; and the carrying on of the work to completion, as positively must be done, the obtaining of funds, and the coping with the authorities is no light business for the Byzantine Institute to shoulder. However, we have made a start, and Tom’s top technical manThis person has not been identified. is already sur place, and Underwood leaving tomorrow for Constantinople to guide the program as far as may be through the maze.

We are sorrier than I can say not to be in Washington the moment Royall arrives. Our date for leaving here is not yet set, nor can it be for a few days, as Robert must have regained his strength and the Pullman CompanyThe Pullman Palace Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad cars that included a sleeping car. must have berths to give us. We are hoping to get off between the 22nd and 25th, and Royall will find a note at the Knickerbocker ClubThe Knickerbocker Club, a gentlemen’s club in New York that was founded in 1871 and has been located at 2 East 62nd Street since 1913. when he lands. Word has just come that his room will await him there. The fact that he will have been out of New York for two months since his last stay at the Club makes putting him up again possible. But would you tell him that in the month of August the only food the Club gives is breakfast. This, I take it, will not bother him as his friends and colleagues will constantly be wanting him for luncheon down town and to dinner at their houses.

Would you please make a point of telling BetbillThe Bliss abbreviation for Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. that I know I am a worm not to write them, but even worms have hearts, long and faithful memories, and can humbly acknowledge their shortcomings. I am sure that Bill is well nigh wrecked with the discouragement of the Korean situation,The Korean War, a war that began on June 25, 1950, and lasted until July 27, 1953, between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). not to mention the battle on Capitol Hill.Possibly a reference to Joseph Raymond “Joe” McCarthy (1908–1957), an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. senator from the state of Wisconsin (1947–1957). Beginning in 1950, McCarthy began making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government. Ultimately, his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate. In 1954, Robert Woods Bliss would be one of five retired diplomats who cosigned a letter protesting McCarthy’s attacks on the Foreign Service. We are certainly at a very low ebb in this country, and the tragedy of Korea is beginning to strike deep.

I wish I could accept the hospitality at Antigny that you so warmly offered but, alas, it grows less and less likely. This wretched hernia of Robert’s capsized our summer plans. If possible, I shall go over to England for three or four weeks, as there are some gardens I very much want to see while they still exist, and that would of course mean three or four days in Paris; but as I refuse to fly the ocean any more, thirteen days will be lost in transportation, which is disproportionate for the short time at my disposal. However, I will let you know what is decided and when.

Robert has to remain in America, as it will take him the full six weeks to the middle of October to finish up the arrangements for the inauguration of the John Dill Monument.Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill (1881–1944), a British commander in the First and Second World Wars. After his death in Washington, D.C., on November 4, 1944, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Congress had decreed that he could be buried there because he had been the senior British member of the Allied combined chiefs of staff during the Second World War. Robert Woods Bliss headed a memorial committee to raise voluntary contributions from Americans. The monument project was initiated by General George C. Marshall, Admiral Ernest J. King, and General Henry H. Arnold, who had served with Dill on the Allied combined chiefs of staff. The bronze equestrian monument to Sir John Dill was created by Herbert Chevalier Haseltine (1877–1962), an Italian-born French-American sculptor. Never could he have guessed, when General MarshallGeneral George Catlett Marshall Jr. (1880–1959), an American military leader,chief of staff of the Army, secretary of state, and the third secretary of defense. said to him, “You handle the details of this for me, will you?” that it would have taken four years and required so much time in the last twenty-four months that his other interests have suffered. However Robert feels such warm regard for the General, and was so devoted to Sir John that he considers the rather irksome concentration of the details as an Anglo-American labor of love.

Give to dear GrowlerMildred Barnes Bliss’s nickname for Royall Tyler. no end of love, and tell him with what joy we look forward to our next visit with him, now fast approaching. Quant à nous,“As for us.” this may be only au revoir“Goodbye for now.” until September.

Ever affectionately,


Mrs. Royall Tyler

Antigny le Château

Par Arnay-le-Duc

Côte d’or, France