Bliss-Tyler Correspondence

Bliss-Tyler Correspondence. An annotated transcription of the correspondence between Mildred Barnes Bliss, Robert Woods Bliss, Elisina Tyler, and Elisina Tyler between 1902 and 1952.

Another great resource from Dumbarton Oaks.

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks, and their close friend and art advisor, Royall Tyler, and his wife Elisina maintained an active correspondence between 1902 and 1952. Many of these letters document the formation of the Blisses’ collection of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, Asian, Islamic, and European art. They also discuss contemporary history, literature and poetry, music, politics, and expatriate life. Various friends and acquaintances, such as Bernard Berenson and Edith Wharton, are referenced throughout the correspondence, as are important world events, such as the First and Second World Wars.

The majority of the extant correspondence was given by Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler’s son, William Royall Tyler, sometime before her death in 1969. Tyler, then director of Dumbarton Oaks, and Walter Whitehill began work on a publication of this correspondence in the mid-1970s. But this project was not completed, and all existing materials for the publication became an unrestricted gift of William Royall Tyler to the Harvard University Archives (HUGFP 38.6, boxes 1–5) in 1977 and 1979. Robert S. Nelson (Robert Lehman Professor at Yale University and a former senior fellow at Dumbarton Oaks) and James N. Carder (archivist and House Collection manager at Dumbarton Oaks) returned to this correspondence project in 2008.

Bliss-Tyler Correspondence provides a searchable database of nearly one thousand letters and telegrams preserved at Harvard University Archives. They are grouped into seven sections, each with an introductory essay that establishes the historical and biographical context of the letters.

The Artworks link presents a gallery of the paintings, sculptures, textiles, and ceramics in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections that are discussed by the Blisses and the Tylers. Records for individual artworks include a brief description and acquisition history, a link to the full museum record, and a list of letters that mention the artwork.

Posted on May 14, 2014 in Resources



for Byzantine Arts and Culture

Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

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