The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 05475
Date: 23 June 1867
Author: George Smith[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler S120
Document Type: ALS

30 Faubg St Honoré - Paris

23 June 1867

Jas - Whistler Esqre


Business engagements with wine merchants & others in the City prevented me from again seeing you before leaving for here - I find that matters can be arranged in respect to the exhumation[2] by sending to me in French sans envelope - a letter[3] instructing me to apply for permission to exhume &c which letter must be signed by one or more members of the family giving details as far as [p. 2] known of christian & family name[,] age - profession[,] when died[,] where & when buried, indeed all particu[la]rs

I will & do agree to make all neccessary [sic] demarches[4] [sic]. Supply strong case[,] Hearse & men[,] pay all fee's [sic] & freight to London & deposit same in any Cemet[e]ry fee's included for the sum of forty five pounds, I should require an payment in advance of Thirty pounds[5] - If you wish Sir, I will send to you [p. 3] My agent who will give you particulars in respect to London interment,

I am Sir
Yours respectfully

Geo Smith

'Dr Traers Funeral[6]'

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  George Smith
George Smith, undertaker.

2.  exhumation
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], had died suddenly in April 1867 on a visit to Paris, allegedly in a brothel. Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], hastily arranged burial rites in Paris in what JW and William Whistler regarded as a disrespectful manner. A violent quarrel ensued between Haden, William and JW. Soon afterwards, the two brothers made fresh arrangements to have Traer's body returned Ellen Traer (b. ca 1837), J. R. Traer's sister [more] in England.

3.  letter
Letter untraced.

4.  demarches
Fr., 'steps'.

5.  Thirty pounds
The total cost was not to exceed £60 (#05474). JW and William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more], seem to have drawn up a subscription list from amongst their friends in order to pay the expenses of the funeral. The list included Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more] (#09160).

6.  Dr Traers Funeral
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Written in another hand (perhaps that of Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]) at right-angles in right-hand margin.