The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05851
Date: [16/20 June 1867][1]
Author: Ellen Traer[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T196
Document Type: ALS[3]

2 Vale View
London Road

Dear Mr Whistler

I return you the letter[4] for Paris and thank you very much for the translation - I have not put any address, for I thought perhaps you would kindly allow the answer to be sent to your House. I do not intend Mamma[5] to know what is going[6] [p. 2] on, so shall tell Her nothing until it is over and I am afraid a letter coming here with a foreign post mark would cause something to be said.

I have heard nothing more about the Letters of Administration[7]; the last time I heard from Bayley & Child[8] they enclosed me a copy of one they had received from Mrs Traer's[9] [p. 3] Solicitor, He said he was not then able to advise his client as to the advisability of her taking out letters but as soon as he could he would let them know - Mr Sackler[10] (the Solicitor) had previously told my Cousin's lawyer that Mrs Traer did not intend administering but would allow Mamma to do so - It seems such [p. 4] a pity to waste so much time - Mrs J. T.[11] tried to find out through the medium of a friend whether we would give up £600 of our claim for the sake of the children. I said decidedly not; Simply for their sakes I shd get all[12] I could and would take little May[13] too if permitted[.] After my sister in law's last insulting letter[14] to me I was somewhat startled at the coolness of the suggestion

[p. 5] With kind regards
Believe me
Yours very sincerely

Ellen Traer

P. S. If you will allow the letter to be addressed to your House of Course you will open it

Wednesday Morng

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [16/20 June 1867]
Dated from G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, #02654, and reference to French municipal authorities (see note below).

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

3.  ALS
A black mourning border appears round pages one and five of this letter.

4.  letter
Untraced. It probably related to Ellen Traer's wish to have the body of her brother James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more] (who had recently died in Paris - see note below) exhumed and returned to England for reburial. This required the consent of the French municipal authorities (see E. Traer to JW, #05848, and G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, #02654).

5.  Mamma
Mrs Traer, mother of James Reeves Traer.

6.  going on
In April 1867, JW quarrelled with Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], over Haden's treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer died on a trip to Paris, allegedly in a brothel, of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, #11801). Haden arranged for Traer's burial with what JW and his brother William regarded as disrespect and unseemly haste. On 26 April, a row blew up between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café and Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. In addition, Traer left debts and his wife (from whom he was possibly estranged) seems to have distanced herself from the proceedings, creating a family rift (see also 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.

7.  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.

8.  Bayley & Child
Solicitors for Ellen Traer.

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

10.  Mr Sackler
Sackler, solicitor for Louisa Traer.

11.  Mrs J. T.
That is, Mrs James Traer.

12.  all
Double underlined.

13.  May
Probably May Traer (b. 1858), daughter of Louisa H. and James R. Traer [more].

14.  letter