The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 03721
Date: 14 September 1891
Author: Charles F. McKim[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: James R. Osgood[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M55
Document Type: TLS


Sept. 14, 1891.

My dear Mr. Osgood:-

An absence of 4 months from the office, (together with, I fear, a constitutional failing in the matter of letter writing) has prevented an earlier acknowledgment of your inquiries for Mr. Whistler in regard to the Boston Public Library[3].

I find on my return home that the appropriation asked for by the Trustees of the Library, for an additional million, has not yet been granted. It is possible, however, that they will get the whole amount within the present year, and I would suggest that meanwhile Mr. Whistler submit in writing any proposition which he may have to make in regard to what he would like to do for the Library. If he will do this, we will undertake to lay it before the Trustees. Naturally, we have no authority to order work done, the Trustees of the Library alone having power, but, it goes without saying that we will use any influence which we may possess in Mr. Whistler's favor, should the opportunity occur. Both Mr. Sargent[4] and Mr. Abbey[5] have written regarding Mr. Whistler's claims to consideration in the strongest terms, which, coupled with your own expressions, should be of much use to him. I would further suggest that his letter contain an actual proposition in regard to subject and treatment, also, [p. 2][6] his views concerning the necessary time to be covered in execution, with a word as to his remuneration therefor.

It would certainly be a great thing, not only for Boston, but for the country at large to have one of Mr. Whistler's serious works.

Yours very truly,

Charles F McKim

Jas. R. Osgood, Esq.,

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

2.  James R. Osgood
James Ripley Osgood (1836-1892), agent for Harper and Bros, publishers [more].

3.  Boston Public Library
JW did not eventually undertake the decoration of a panel for the Library, although he made designs for it (see Study for Three Decorative Panels Representing 'The Landing of Columbus', 'Queen Isabel la Católica of Spain' and 'Queen Elizabeth of England' (YMSM 396)).

4.  Mr. Sargent
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), artist [more].

5.  Mr. Abbey
Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), painter and illustrator [more].

6.  [p. 2]
Letterhead repeated at top of page two, along with typed notation "J. R. O., #2".