The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05848
Date: [18 June/9 July 1867][1]
Author: Ellen Traer[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T193
Document Type: ALS


124 New Cross Road
S. E.

Dear Mr Whistler

I have just returned from Sloane Street having had an interview with our Solicitors Messrs Bailey & Child -

I explained the different circumstances to them and told them precisely how Mr Seymour Haden[4] had behaved, with regard to the funeral of [p. 2] my late dear brother

They said they considered it the most disgraceful behaviour[5] they had ever heard of and would scarcely believe it possible that there was no service read -

Their own opinion is that if we can obtain the consent of the french authorities that to remove the coffin from Père la Chaise[6] that Mrs J. Traer's[7] consent will not be of any importance & that there will be nothing [p. 3] actionable in our doing so; but Mr Child, who has several friends in Paris, has very kindly promised to write to one of them and get him to ascertain whether this will be permitted

Mr Child will see Mrs J Traer's Solicitor[8] and find out whether she has taken out letters of administration[9] also whether Mr Haden has paid, or will pay, the money due to her a

I suggested that the books [p. 4] shd be inspected, and he says they must be, also a copy of the deed[10] of partnership

I find I shall not be able to go to Bath for a few days as some papers I require to take are not quite ready for me; when I fetch them doubtless I shall hear from Mr Child what his friend's reply is and I will forward it to you as soon as possible

Sincerely hoping that yr brother[11] is better & with kind regards

Believe me dr Mr Whistler
Yours very sincerely

Ellen Traer

Satdy Evening -

P. S. I enclose[12] you a copy of the two letters[13] I sent Mrs J. Traer in order that you may judge whether they required such an insolent answer[14] as she sent me.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18 June/9 July 1867]
Dated from reference to W. G. Whistler's illness (see W. G. Whistler to G. A. Lucas, #11980).

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

3.  '7'
Added at top of page in pencil, in unknown hand. Also, a black mourning border appears around the edge of page one.

4.  Mr Seymour Haden
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

5.  behaviour
In April 1867, James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], died on a trip to Paris, reputedly in a brothel, of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, #11801). F. S. Haden arranged for Traer's burial in what JW and his brother William regarded as a disrespectful and perfunctory manner. On 26 April, matters came to a head between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café when Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. In addition, Traer left debts, and his wife (from whom he may have been estranged) seems to have distanced herself from the proceedings, creating a family rift (see Ellen Traer to JW, #05852). Soon afterwards, JW and William made arrangements to have Traer's body returned to Ellen Traer in England, assisted by George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more] (see G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, #02654) and a list of subscribers.

6.  Père la Chaise
The municipal cemetery on the boulevard Ménilmontant, Paris.

7.  Mrs J. Traer's
Louisa Jane Holloway Traer (b. ca 1839, m. 1856), née Savage, wife of James R. Traer [more]. Ellen Traer had tried unsuccessfully to obtain Louisa Traer's consent for the exhumation (see E. Traer to L. Traer, #05849, #05850).

8.  Solicitor
Sackler, solicitor for Louisa Traer.

9.  letters of administration
A legal document assigning a person to administer and dispose of an estate where no executor has been appointed by the testator.

10.  deed

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

12.  P. S. I enclose ... sent me
Cross-written on left side of sheet on p. 1.

13.  two letters

14.  answer