Tag Archives: Lucy T. Briggs

How Lucy T. Briggs Met Vlado

In previous posts (here and here), I learned that Lucy T. Briggs gave the gift of “Bambi” to Vlado, and that she followed in the footsteps of her father, Career Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs, as a Foreign Service Officer. I wasn’t quite sure how they met, until I found this condolence letter recently, written to Mrs. Fabry, dated September 23, 1961:

Dear Mrs Fabry,
I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn of Vlado’s tragic loss. There are no words to express if fully, but I want you to understand that I am truly sorry, and pray that God is helping you to bear this heaviest of burdens.

I did not know Vlado very well, but I think we were friends. We met, of course, through Olga in Geneva, where I studied in 1950-51. Vlado took me skiing in Vermont the following year, one weekend, and I remember how patient he was with my slowness as a somewhat permanent beginner! Then, he and Olga came to Washington, about two or three years ago, and came to see me in Virginia where I was then living. At that time, Vlado was already moving up rapidly at the United Nations. You must indeed be very proud of him for having achieved so much in a short time, and in spite of difficulties which would have discouraged most men. The account of his accomplishments portrays a life of dedication to high principles and of tireless efforts to put them into practice. The United States is the richer for having claimed him as a citizen, and the poorer for having lost him in the battle which we are all fighting. But his spirit and his example will be with us always.

Forgive me if I have imposed on your sorrow with this long letter, but I wanted you to know my feelings.

With every good wish to you and Olga,
Very Sincerely,
Lucy T. Briggs

P.S. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

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Friends Around the World

After I posted yesterday, I learned that Lucy T. Briggs was the daughter of Ellis O. Briggs; an Ambassador for 37 years to many countries, including Czechoslovakia; and sister to Everett Briggs. Lucy became the third member of her family to join the career Foreign Service in August 1957, and her brother, Everett, joined the year before. Vlado most likely knew Ellis Briggs, and that’s why Lucy sent him chocolates and the stuffed Bambi before she’d even met him. From the other letters I found from Lucy, the relationship doesn’t appear to be anything but friendly. I suppose when your work takes you all over the world, it’s good to have friends in many places.
Here is a letter from the UN in Indonesia, asking Vlado to meet with Miss Wiendriati Ernestina Soehadi, who was working at the Indonesian Delegation to the United Nations(click images to read):
Letter to Vlado from Indonesia
This letter comes from a place closer to my home, from Spokane, Washington, written by owner and manager of Broberg Travel Agency Teckla M. Carlson:
Letter From Teckla Carlson
And here is a letter from Vlado to Teckla, dated December 19, 1951, describing his experience of arriving at the Tibetan border the very day the Chinese Communists came to take it:

Dear Mrs. Carlson,
It was so sweet of you to remember me when you went again to Europe, and to send me a letter from your trip. I hope you had a lovely time, and brought back with you many pleasant memories. I regret only that I did not know of your trip, I would have liked to give you the address of my parents and sister in Geneva and suggest that you use my car while you were in Switzerland,- you can see so much more while travelling independently on the road. Please let me know next time!
I left the Indonesian mission in May – I was quite glad to leave the country after having spent three and a half years there. I should not be ungrateful really, it was a very valuable experience, and I had many thrilling moments and adventures, but three and a half years is a long time to spend without friends, accustomed amenities, and access to culture and professional education sources. To make it worse, the tropical climate disagreed with my constitution, I had a number of annoying local diseases, and came back 56 lb lighter than I departed. On the way back, I visited Indochina, Macao, Thailand and Burma, and spent some time in India. I made a trek to the Himalayas from Darjeeling, and luck had it that I arrived at the Tibetan frontier post on the day when the Chinese Communist officers arrived to take it over following the surrender of Tibet to the new Chinese rulers. I had planned to sneak at least for a short look-around into the Land of Monasteries, but the sight of the Red Stars rather damped my enthusiasm, and I limited myself to cross symbolically with one foot – and even that I did rather cowardly at a place screened from the sight of the frontier guards by a big rock.
In Europe, accompanied by my family, I toured by car Skandinavia beyond the Polar Circle, the Low Countries, and France and Italy. I arrived in New York late in August, and returned to my regular duties in the UN Legal Department. My home and office addresses are on top of this letter. There is not too much to be written about my life here – after the excitements of my mission assignments and of my travels it is a mere routine. I rented a house in the suburbs, recaptured my cook-housekeeper from the people to whom I had “sublet” her during my absence, renewed my relationships with former acquaintances, and in general live the well ordered life of the Suburban Commuter. When you pass through New York next time, please stop and see for yourself.
I am wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year, and hope to see you or at least hear of you soon.
Sincerely yours,
Vladimir Fabry

Update 9/12/13: “Crash Victim Known in City” (from the Spokane Daily Chronicle Sept. 19. 1961, p.24)

Vladimir Fabry, killed in the plane crash that claimed the life of Dag Hammarskjold yesterday in Northern Rhodesia, visited Spokane three years ago.

Fabry, U.S. legal adviser to the United Nations in the Congo is a close friend of Teckla M Carlson, N1727 Atlantic, and he and his sister, Olga, also a UN employee, were her house guests in 1958.

A travel agent, Mrs. Carlson first met Fabry in 1949 at Geneva after he had succeeded in having his father released from a concentration camp. The Spokane woman said they have exchanged letters since that time.

Vlado and Bambi

When I first began to sort through the family papers, I found a little stuffed “Bambi”, with a necklace around it’s neck, and a bright green four-leaf clover with a tiny red ladybug hanging from the chain. Then I found the photo of Vlado securing Bambi to the hood ornament of his Buick, which I use as my header on this blog. The Fabry family called themselves “the four-leaf clover”, because they knew they were lucky; and in the books of Olga Fabry, I found hundreds of four-leaf clovers, falling out of the pages. This totally charmed me, because I love to collect four-leaf clovers, too. I’ve been wearing the necklace ever since I found it, and I keep Bambi on my desk.
This is a photo of Dr. Pavel Fabry with Bambi:
Fabry Archive - Selected Photographs (191)
This is a letter to Lucy T. Briggs, who gave Bambi to Vlado – I don’t know who she is yet, but she gave him the gift before she’d even met him (click image to read):
Vlado Letter 1
I found these other pictures of Bambi being displayed with the photo, right after I took almost the same photo.
Fabry Archive - Selected Photographs (202)
Vlado photo with Bambi