The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05850
Date: [1/18 June 1867][1]
Author: Ellen Traer[2]
Place: London
Recipient: Louisa Holloway Traer[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T195
Document Type: ALS

[printed symbol of cross][4]

124 New X Road
S. E

Dear Lucie

Not receiving any reply to my letter[5] induces me to suppose that you never can have received it -

I am staying here for a day or two and shall be very much obliged if you will kindly send me an answer [p. 2] to my question which was "Whether you would allow me to have the body of my poor brother[6] brought over to England?["] Surely with all your ideas of religious forms & ceremonies you cannot consider the service read "At the burial of the dead" one to be less observed than that recent innovation "Confession [p. 3] and Absolution" -

Every body to whom I have spoken of the Funeral of my late lamented brother has been so thoroughly disgusted with the whole affair that I have been advised to give the matter the greatest publicity which certainly I consider ought to be done without [p. 4] delay if you refuse to allow you me to give him a decent christian burial

If you can kindly send me a line (simply yes or no will be sufficient) by return of post you will greatly oblige

Yours truly

Ellen Traer

Wednesday Morng

If no answer to-morrow shall consider I am refused[7]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [1/18 June 1867]
Dated from E. Traer to L. H. Traer, #05849, and reference to the reburial of James Traer in England (see note below).

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

3.  Louisa Holloway Traer
Louisa Jane Holloway Traer (b. ca 1839, m. 1856), née Savage, wife of James R. Traer [more].

4.  [printed symbol of cross]
Also, a black mourning border appears round the edge of this page.

5.  letter
Probably E. Traer to L. H. Traer, #05849.

6.  brother
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more].

7.  service
A reference to the funeral of James Traer in Paris. On 23 April 1867, Traer died during a trip to Paris of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, #11801). Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], arranged for Traer's burial, in what JW and his brother William regarded as a disrespectful and perfunctory manner. Traer was buried with minimal ceremony and cost in a municipal cemetery in Paris (see note below). 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).

8.  refused
Ellen Traer's pleas for authority from Louisa Traer to have James Traer's remains exhumed seem to have been ignored. However, having consulted her solicitors, Ellen Traer wrote to JW: 'Their own opinion is that if we can obtain the consent of the french authorities that to remove the coffin from Père La Chaise that Mrs J. Traer's consent will not be of any importance & that there will be nothing actionable in our doing so' (see E. Traer to JW, #05848).