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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, February 22, 1946

From R. Tyler Hotel Richemond Geneva


Dearest Mildred—You’ve no doubt heard that Hayford has had a stroke, and is not expected to recover.Hayford Peirce died on March 5, 1946.

I had my first news of the matter on Jan. 31. PollyPolly Brown Peirce, Hayford Peirce’s wife. hadn’t been able to cable, because of the stroke, and the message to me came from Bill. Since then, successive messages have left less and less hope.

I needn’t tell you what this means to me. Hayford stood in my mind for things as they were before 1939, and for my chance of getting back, in some modest degree, to them: resuming our work on Byzantine art. He also stood for more than that. As you know I’m very fond of him personally. Since the news of his stroke reached me, I feel as if my own future had been jeopardized, and measure the emptiness of my illusions about recreating any part of one’s own plans. You know all this, of course, but it’s a need with me to tell you, all the same. Poor Hayford! when he’d thought he had at length divested himself of his business cares sufficiently to go back to study. I can’t keep my mind off him for long and look at every telegram that comes in, divided between hope that it may say he’s still alive, and fear lest one ought to be hoping that he’s out of it all.

I’ve had a spate of work,Between 1943 and 1949, Tyler served as the Swiss representative of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). these last weeks, of an absorbing kind; the time races fast. I think often of those few moments we had together last summer, and am grateful to you for having managed to come here, when it meant no little determination to make it. It’s also a comfort to think of Robert’s visit. Only, the time races, and I dread the thought of long separations now more than ever. Are you making any plans for next summer, for this part of the world? I’m tied down here, I expect, as long as UNRRA goes on.

Let me have a line soon, do, dearest Mildred. With fondest love to you and Bobby