Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, July 17, 1935 [1]

July 17, 1935

Royall Tyler, Esquire

Finance Ministry

Budapest, Hungary

Dear Royall:

We were delighted to receive your letter of June 23rd and hope this may reach you on the eve of your departure to carry our warm wishes for success in every way.

We start west tomorrow, sad at having to leave Dumbarton Oaks. We saw BetbilWilliam and Bettine Tyler. in New York last week and found both flourishing, although Bill had strained a muscle in his back from too strenuous morning calisthenics. It happened the day that SipossEmery 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. left for Europe, otherwise we would have had him straightened out in a jiffy.

Since you plead so eloquently, I will be indiscreet, knowing that your promise of “discretion itself” is sound proof. Well, here it is: the Albertina CollectionThe Albertina, a museum in Vienna, Austria, that houses an important collection of approximately sixty-five thousand drawings and approximately one million old master prints. of drawings and prints has been offered jointly to the Boston Museum and Fogg. They are tearing their hair trying to raise the necessary funds, but unfortunately (I think because of the ignorance and lack of vision of those who might contribute large sums) are finding it exceedingly difficult.In 1935, Albrecht of Hungary, Archduke and Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Duke of Teschen (1897–1955)—in a bid to gain the title of emperor of Hungary and increase his finances—attempted a secret negotiation with Henry P. Rossiter (1885–1977), curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Paul Sachs, associate director of the Fogg Art Museum, to sell his print and drawing collection. Rossiter, Sachs, and Agnes Mongan (1905–1996) traveled secretly to Vienna to authenticate hundreds of drawings until the Austrian government learned of the plan and seized and nationalized the collection.

Our best love,

[unsigned Robert Woods Bliss]