The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Whistler, William
Record 12 of 16

System Number: 13490
Date: [18/23 May 1896][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 22
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS

8 Fitzroy Street. Fitzroy Square.

Well my dear Sis -

You see nothing can be done in this way - Willies[3] letter is very nice - and I am glad that at least he is where they want him to be - which is the most important for the present -

I shall just have to try and get off that [p. 2] picture[4] - but of course it will take time -

By the way you see he sends me no address - So you must just write him a nice message -

Days have gone by, my dear Sis, since I wrote the above - and now the picture is here - or will be tomorrow - for it has arrived at Goupil's - I will do my best to sell it - At this moment I cannot put my finger on Willie's letter - but it was a very nice one - so thats all right -

I am very busy - and a bit bothered - Probably I shall go over to Paris soon - but eventually come back I suppose to continue what I have going on in this place -

It will interest you - and Willie certainly to know that I came upon a most interesting statement in a large work called "The Genesis of the United States[5]" - compiled from old documents & state papers - Therein is the original grant of land in Virginia - by Royal Charter - in the year 1609. - There is the full list of all who then went over to Virginia, and among them, is "Francis Whistler[6], Gentleman" - This is then an earlier ancestor than Willie had as yet discovered - and moreover one who fulfills the requirement in which Willie will delight - the hall mark: "F. F. V.[7]"! [p. 3] whereat I will also acknowledge that my own American snobbery is greatly tickled - and the taint of Lowell[8] washed out!! - -

Tell Willie all this - or send him on this note -

Always my sweet Sis
the ever sad

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18/23 May 1896]
The letter had a deep mourning border and obviously dates from soon after the death, on 10 May, of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

2.  Deborah Delano Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

3.  Willies
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. His letter has not been located. He was ill and in financial difficulties.

4.  picture
Whistler in his Studio (YMSM 63) was sold by JW on his brother's behalf to Goupil's for £400.

5.  The Genesis of the United States
Brown, Alexander, The Genesis of the United States; a narrative of the movement in England, 1605-1616, which resulted in the plantation of North America by Englishmen, disclosing the contest between England and Spain for the possession of the soil now occupied by the United States of America ; set forth through a series of historical manuscripts now first printed, together with a reissue of rare contemporaneous tracts, accompanied by bibliographical memoranda, notes, and brief biographies, London, 1890, 2 vols, published by W. Heinemann. A copy of the first volume remained in JW's collection (Glasgow University Library, Whistler 12).

6.  Francis Whistler
Francis Whistler, possibly an ancestor of JW.

7.  F. F. V.
It is possible that JW or his brother had a piece of silver with this hallmark.

8.  Lowell
JW was born in Lowell, MA.