The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Winans, Ross, Sr
Record 5 of 24

System Number: 06454
Date: 15 March 1855[1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Baltimore
Recipient: JW
Place: [Washington]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W449
Document Type: ALS[3]

[embossed monogram:] A M W

176 Preston St. Baltimore.[4]

Thursday night March 15th. 55

My own dear Jemie.

Two letters a week may seem extravagant to you, but Mr Winans[5] told me you were interested about Willie's[6] standing at Trinity[7] & I was so cheered by the report which reached me today thro Mrs Hubball[8] [that] I gladly send it to you, her husband saw Willie on his way thro Hartford, he had passed a first rate examination & was well. The Easter Holiday is deferred until the middle of April because of one of the Proff's [sic] plans for a voyage[.] It would be very nice if (as I must move next month), Willie could join me somewhere at the north, but no step is taken yet towards Scarsdale or Stonington[9]. George & Julia[10] came to see us yesterday twilight, the former talked with Donald I believe in the parlor about our breaking up, & said to me at taking leave he desired to give me his views about the two J.s. [i.e. Juniors], so I agreed the carriage should be sent for me [p. 2] & went to dine with him & Julia, but Mr T Winans begged however we would meet at his table instead, dinner was so immediately announced, then a telegraphic message to meet Mr R Winans[11] in Phil[adelphia] tonight - then the startling tidings of the Emperors death at St P[12]. became engrossing. My table must be next time, then you shall hear. Whether George wishes to refer to your future or recommend Scarsdale I cannot surmise. certainly considering our bankruptcy[13], the Cottage rent free offered by those to be depended on, seems providential, but I make no plans. the uncertainties of temporal affairs I have too often realized. I do hope you will exert your talent & work on your debt. Mr T Winans thought you looking better, tho you had tooth ache. Cannot you see Doct Maynard[14] about them? it is such a pity they should be neglected. Tho I hate debt, if ever it is excusable it is in this case of your teeth; so, frankly explain to him that you have not the cash yet, but hope to earn it by industry, tell him I advise you to have your teeth put in complete order by him. I hope to be able to pay him for you. 'next summer'[15] [p. 3] Oh Jemie dear! if you & I could have a home together it would be a mutual advantage. Donald is really suffering still. Cousin Ginie[16] complains much more than he does, but I am most anxious about him. I fear he will be laid up ere he gets better. the doctor warns him each time he comes to see him, to keep his room, but he ventures to the parlor tho of course not over the threshold of the St door this weather. Jemie when are we to receive the valise of soiled clothes? send it Saturday if you can. do not stay in Washington idle, & avoid the room-mate[17]! And now I am too sleepy to write more, than that I hope you may not suffer more from tooth ache, you ought to have some artificial at the side to help you chew as well as to have decay checked. Offer my affectionate & grateful regards to the Dennys[18]. I did venture to build a castle today as I cogitated on my lonely drive of what George might advise - about Scarsdale - to recommend the Jaffrays[19] to rent Mr Carmers Castle[20] & thus be our summer neighbours! then your pretty Cousins[21] might visit them, which would cheer Willie & you. Jacks[22] asked me why you did not engage in architectural drawings in New York[23] city. he talked sensibly of many things.

Write[24] soon to your anxious Mother

A M W.

The Emperors death probably will [warm up?] Tho Winans means. next Summer.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  15 March 1855
The previous dated letter from AMW to JW was 13 February 1855, #06452, but some letters are missing. She wrote again on 21 March (#06455). JW's replies, if any, have not survived.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  ALS
Written on sheet with narrow mourning border.

4.  176 Preston St. Baltimore.
The house she was sharing with Donald McNeill Fairfax (1821-1894), naval officer, JW's cousin [more]; see AMW to JW, 26 and 27 November 1854, #06446.

5.  Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

6.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

7.  Trinity
Trinity College, Hartford, CT, where William McNeill Whistler was studying; see AMW to JW, 13 February 1855, #06452.

8.  Hubball
The mother of Hubbell of Trinity College, Hartford, CT; see AMW to JW, 1 January 1855, #06448.

9.  Scarsdale-or-Stonington
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more], lived in Stonington, CT (see AMW to JW, 12-15 October 1855, #06468), and Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW lived in Scarsdale, NY, where AMW stayed intermittently between 1850 and 1857.

10.  George and Julia
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more], and his wife Julia de Kay Whistler (1825-1875), née Winans.

11.  R Winans
Ross Winans (1796-1877), locomotive manufacturer, father of JW's sister-in-law [more].

12.  Emperors death at St P
Nicolas I Romanov (1796-1855), Tsar of Russia from 1825-1855 [more]. He died on 2 March 1855.

13.  bankruptcy
1855 was a particularly financially difficult year for AMW, as she received no dividends from the collapse of her railway shares; see AMW to JW, 19 June 1849, #07629, 8 January 1855, #06449, and 13 February 1855, #06452.

14.  Maynard
Dr Edward Maynard (1813-1891), dentist and inventor [more]; see AMW to JW, 28 [February 1855], #06453.

15.  'next summer'
These words added by AMW in margin of page three; compare her comment in #06455 where she says she has 'no income until June'.

16.  Ginie
Virginia ('Ginnie') Carry Fairfax (d. 1878), née Ragland, wife of D. McN. Fairfax [more].

17.  room-mate
JW's Washington room-mate has not been identified although it is known the family disapproved of his connections with, for instance, the sons of Johnston Hellen (see Connoisseurs in a studio (M.186)).

18.  Cousins
Probably the children of St Clair Denny (1800-1858), army paymaster in Washington, DC [more]; see AMW to JW, 1 February 1855, #06451.

19.  Jaffray
AMW occasionally stayed with the family of Richmond Woodriff Jaffray (1813-1862), merchant [more].

20.  Mr Carmer's castle
Charles Whitehead Carmer (1811-1883), merchant [more]. AMW calls his residence 'castle' probably due to Carmer's wealth. The 1860 Scarsdale Census valued his estate at $25,000.

21.  Jacks
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more].

22.  architectural drawings
JW was probably planning to visit his uncle's family, the Cammans, in Brooklyn, NY. JW's only recorded work there is a copy after Turner, which he had completed by July 1855 and gave to Dr George Philip Cammann (1804-1863), physician [more] (M.176).

23.  Write
'Write ... AMW' continues in the left margin of p. 1; 'The ... means' added in the right margin of p. 1; 'next Summer' continues in the right margin of p. 2.