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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler, October 27, 1948

October 27, 1948

Bless you for your letter!See letter of October 22, 1948. It is for us a very special flavor [sic] that the Coin CollectionDumbarton Oaks acquired the coin collection of Hayford Peirce in 1948. should have been inspired by you and made by Hayford. Dumbarton Oaks is now starting on the long road of scholarship—what with the coins, the seals, the library and the Collection, and we are well pleased.

JackJohn S. Thacher. and ourselves would like to know who, in our opinion, is the best numismatist to make a definitive catalogue of the coins. Of course, many descriptions can be taken from the B.M.’sBritish Museum, London. catalogue.Warwick W. Wroth, Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum (London: Printed by Order of the Trustees, Sold at the British Museum, 1908). Indeed, it might be that a collaboration could be arranged between the B.M. and D.O. for a joint project. (This is merely out of my own fertile imagination.) Bellinger,Alfred R. Bellinger (1893–1978), an American classicist and numismatist and professor of Latin Literature at Yale University. Bellinger would collaborate with Philip Grierson on three volumes (of five) of the Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, Trustees for Harvard University, 1966–1973). I am told, and Ganz [sic]Edward Gans (1887–1991), a German-born banker who immigrated to the United States in 1938 and became a dealer of ancient coins and fine arts of various kinds. His business was named Numismatic Fine Arts in New York City. Dumbarton Oaks commissioned Gans to sell duplicates from the coin collection. See oral history interview conducted by Ora Huth between 1983 and 1987 with an introduction by Wolfgang J. Heimpel, “Edward Gans, Berlin Banker to California Numismatist, 1887–1987,” Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. are two of the best in America, but the cataloging of such an important collection is vital, and a contribution which D.O. can make to scholarship, so Jack is trying to ascertain the reputations of all and sundry. Your opinion would be valued.

PollyPolly Brown Peirce, Hayford Peirce’s former wife. and her new husbandPolly Brown Peirce married Theodore Leavitt on September 16, 1948. were here when I was, unfortunately, in New York. I rather gathered that she will dominate him—which is, perhaps, poetic justice!

The less said about the purchase of this collection by D.O. the better, as I fear T. W.Thomas Whittemore. will be greatly upset.

Père LaurentVitalien Laurent (1896–1973), a French priest, theological historian, and Byzantine sigillographer. is difficult and we are embarking on “conversations” with him in order to acquire his catalogue of Howland Shaw’sGardiner Howland Shaw (1893–1965), an American diplomat who graduated from Harvard College in 1915 and served as secretary and counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and assistant secretary of state in Washington, D.C. seals,In 1947, Dumbarton Oaks had received by gift some 150 Byzantine coins and some 2,000 Byzantine lead seals from G. Howland Shaw (1893–1965), a friend of the Blisses who had been in the diplomatic service in Turkey. A copy of Laurent’s unpublished catalog cards for the Shaw collection remains at Dumbarton Oaks as the latter has made a gift of them to D.O., and as Père Laurent did catalogue them, you would think he would be glad to have us publish them. But he talks about a Global Corpus which I gather he will never live to complete.

Do you think well of Ermolov?Boris Nicolaevich Ermolov (Ermoloff), a Russian expatriate and longtime friend of Thomas Whittemore. He was the librarian of the Byzantine Institute in Paris. It might be a godsend to him to get a breath of fresh air by visiting this country for a brief moment. I thought of suggesting it to T. W.Thomas Whittemore. What would you say?

Love to BetbillThe Bliss abbreviation for Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. and Elisina and to Antigny,



Royall Tyler, Esq.

77 Avenue des Champs Elysees