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Royall Tyler — Excerpts from Letters about his Travels

Throughout his life, Royall Tyler corresponded with Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, often sending them lengthy and detailed letters. This correspondence is being prepared for publication on this web site. The following excerpts from this correspondence are Tyler’s descriptions and impressions of places that he visited. Taken from letters that he wrote to Mildred Bliss, these excerpts have been annotated and include images of objects and sites that he references.

Royall Tyler
Royall Tyler (1884–1953). Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.PH.Misc.012.

Royall Tyler (1884–1953) was a close friend and art advisor to Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. Tyler was a historian, diplomat, economist, and art connoisseur. Although raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, he spent most of his life in Europe. He moved to London in 1898, and was educated at Harrow School (1898–1902) as well as New College, Oxford (1902–1903), the Universidad de Salamanca (1903–1904), and the École des Sciences Politiques in Paris (1906–1908), taking a degree only at Harrow School. In 1908, he met and eventually married Elisina Palamidessi de Castelvecchio. Their son, William Royall Tyler, would become the second Director of Dumbarton Oaks. Royall Tyler was fluent in French, Spanish, and German and proficient in Italian, Hungarian, and Greek. He authored Spain: A Study of Her Life and Arts (1909). In 1911, the Public Record Office of the British Home Office appointed him editor of the Spanish Calendar of State Papers, which consisted of translations of the correspondence to English monarchs from their diplomats in Spain. Tyler completed five volumes between 1913 and 1953. With Hayford Peirce, he also authored Byzantine Art (1926) and L’art byzantin, vol. 1 (1932) and L’art byzantin vol. 2 (1934). Tyler was instrumental in organizing the first international exhibition of Byzantine art in Paris in 1931. In the same year, he became the League of Nations Financial Committee’s financial advisor to the Hungarian government in Budapest (1931–1938). In 1938, Tyler was appointed as expert in the Economic and Financial Section of the League of Nations in Geneva (1938–1943).


Bulgaria, October 1927 (from a letter written to Mildred Barnes Bliss on October 24, 1927)

Constantinople, October 1927 (from a letter written to Mildred Barnes Bliss on October 24, 1927)

Mount Athos, Greece, November 1933 (From a letter to Mildred Barnes Bliss of November 27, 1933)

The Uncovering of the Mosaics of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (from a letter written to Mildred Barnes Bliss on October 11, 1936)

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