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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, March 20, 1936

Uri Utca 34


March 20th 1936

Dearest Mildred.

Your dear note was a great joy and a great comfort. We have truly lived through a part at least of your hard trial,Mildred Bliss had become been very ill with pneumonia in Prague sometime in mid-February 1936. See Edith Wharton to Beatrix Jones Farrand, April 4, 1936, Edith Wharton Collection, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. and joined in fullest sympathy in dear Robert’s anxious waiting. I bless Dr. Szipos [sic],Emery 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. for having made your convalescence more safe and quicker. Your handwriting inspires confidence and admiration, and the assurance you give me, that in spite of everything you have suffered you feel that you are firmly treading the path to recovery, bears out the testimony. I hope Paris is full of sunshine and flowers, and not too full of people! It is not jealousy that makes me say this, though I did feel very, very much disappointed when I realised that I should have to let you go so far away again without giving you a hug! But may I say this: please do be sparing of your strength! You are a very precious person, and the mists of illness and weakness were never meant for you—

I am sure that the kindness and affection that surrounded you at the Butler WrightsJoshua Butler Wright (1877–1939), an American diplomat who served as the U.S. envoy to Hungary between 1927 and 1930, and his wife, Harriet Sutherland Wright. helped you through. I hope that the Hungarian objectsBZ.1936.27–28, BZ.1936.29, and BZ.1936.30. which Royall brought to you will remind you of Hungary and renew the wish to come here—in a kinder season.

I hear that Edith is well, but that she is inclined to great activity of mind and body. I shall probably be in Italy between the 8th and the 28th of April, with my young nephew,Gerard Blankenburgh de Castle (born 1918). my brother’sLouis (Luigi) David Marcello Palamidessi, later known as Louis Percy de Castel (1876–1929). son, either at Viareggio, or in Florence. I would most happily go to Pisa to see you, when you steam through on your way to Naples, if you sail thence.

My very best love to dear Robert. And my tender devotion to you, Mildred dearest.

Yours ever


Associated People: Edith Wharton
Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary); Paris (France)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1936.27-28; BZ.1936.29; BZ.1936.30