The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05477
Date: 5 September 1867
Author: George Smith[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: Ellen Traer[2]
Place: [England]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler S122
Document Type: ALS

30 Faubg St Honoré Paris

5 Sepr 1867

Miss Traer


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter[3] of the 31st Augt. Mr Whistler has handed to me thirty pounds[4] as part of the expenses agreed upon to exhume & convey to London the remains of the late Dr Traer[5] - which I will expedite as soon as possible, but some delay occur[red] owing to the Cemetry [sic] of Montma[r]tre refusing concessions (now three months) for interments - The Boulevard de Clichy will be continued [p. 2] through the unoccupied portion of that Cemetry consequently Père la chaise has had immense [pratique?] of late, & as bodies are generally buried provisionally till the Tombs are made it follows that great many demands to exhume will be made - The Conservateur of the Cemetry has to be present at each exhumation to check the number of the plaque &c. There are only two exhuming days a week -

I do not want to trouble the Pompes Funebres[6] till I have obtained from the authorities the permission &c

Do you know whether the solicitor or any homme d'affairs has the papers[7] concerning the funeral - what was the hight [sic] of your brother? about as I must have a strong case made, do you know whether [p. 3] there was a lead coffin or not -

I will write you again in a few days. -

I am Mad[emoise]lle
Your Obt Servant

Geo Smith

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1.  George Smith
George Smith, undertaker.

2.  Ellen Traer
Ellen Traer (b. ca 1837), J. R. Traer's sister [more].

3.  letter

4.  thirty pounds
Smith required £30 to be paid in advance (#05475). 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] (see #09160).

5.  Dr Traer
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer had died 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 in England.

6.  Pompes Funebres
Fr., Funeral Directors.

7.  papers
These would have meant the original burial certificate and probably the registration of death (#09562).