The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02169
Date: 2 May 1891
Author: Edward William Hooper[1]
Place: Cambridge, MA
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H266
Document Type: ALS

Fayerweather St.
Cambridge, Mass -

May 2: 1891.

Dear Mrs Whistler

Your letter asking me about the Boston Public Library building would have been answered sooner if I could have got definite information about the scheme for its decoration. I have not been able to see Mr McKim[3], who is the architect of the [p. 2] new building, because he lives in New York and makes only flying visits to Boston. I saw to-day one of the Trustees of the Library and learned from him that no public money can be used for artistic decoration of the walls. The work of Messrs Sargent & Abbey[4] is to be provided for by private gifts in some way. Where the gifts come from, or how large they are I could not learn.

[p. 3] If I can ever get hold of McKim I may hear more definitely about the matter. The building has already been far more costly than it was expected to be, and it has not been easy to get the money to finish it. It has I think great beauty and dignity of design, and I should be delighted to think that some of Mr Whistler's work would be added to its treasures. If money could be [p. 4] raised to buy the Carlyle portrait[5] the Trustees of the Library would doubtless be glad to have it and to give it a good place. If Glasgow does not buy the portrait it may be well to let me know its price. Although it is very doubtful if anything can be done here to buy it, it is possible that some money could be found.

With my best regards to yourself and to Mr Whistler I am
Yours sincerely

E. W. Hooper

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1.  Edward William Hooper
Edward William Hooper (1839-1901), collector [more].

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

3.  Mr McKim
Charles Follen McKim (1847-1909), architect, of McKim, Mead and White, New York [more].

4.  Messrs Sargent & Abbey
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more]; and Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), painter and illustrator [more].

5.  Carlyle portrait
Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137). The portrait was finally sold to Glasgow Corporation in April 1891 for 1,000 guineas.