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

the on-line edition

System Number: 07634
Date: 7 July 1849
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Preston
Recipient: Joseph Harrison[2]
Place: St Petersburg
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34/29-34
Document Type: ALS


Saturday evening
July 7th 1849

Dear Mr Harrison

I shall enclose this to Mr Gellibrand[3] at Leeds, as he is to embark on tuesday next to return to his Russian home, and as he promised to hand you our Dagereotypes. I thought it safest to secure their reaching you[.] he called to bid us good bye the night previous to our leaving Sloane St[4]. tho I still hope to meet your dear Sister & your children[5] in Lancashire.

yet we may miss each other! I am sure you will think the miniatures of my boys worth 30 shillings each, but mine at the extravagant cost of two guineas, is rather a failure. Kilburn[6] has a great run of custom he does not confess to being an American [p. 2] & does not appear to me like one. Mr Gellibrand met Mr Fairbanks[7] in Sloane St & hearing him say much in reference to detention in the Hull Custom house of the piano[8] &c, he offered to enquire when passing thro - about these. I heard from London today, but nothing yet of the arrival of the boxes. I hope my advice to ship the furniture boxes to New York may have reached you in time, because I am sure the re-shipping from Boston would be vexatious & expensive. By the last Steamer I heard from George[9], date June 18 he says I must not run the risk of a sailing packet because of the sickness usual among steerage passengers so I have been answering the communication of a friend in Liverpool today relative to the steamer which [p. 3] is to sail on the 28th of this month, and have desired Mr W[10] to secure four berths for us. the passage money including stewards fees will be $90. I am sorry I cannot have your reply to this three weeks from today - will not give time for you to write, but when I draw (probably $50 more) I shall let you know - that you may settle it for me. How very much it costs even to pass thro England with all the economy I try to use! I have not heard from Mr Eastwick[11], but I shall be in Preston nearly a fortnight & we may meet in Liverpool, even if his family is not ready for the America[12]. We arrived here by the tuesday nights train very early last wednesday morning. I need not comment on the hearty welcome & that I feel relieved that the meeting is over. both my health & Mrs Hadens[13] is improving here, my boys[14] are well, they go to Edinburg with Aunt Alicia[15] next thursday, for a week - & join me at Mrs Sandlands[16] & the last [p. 4] week. There is one subject George seems anxious about from which I make an extract "I hope that my fathers[17] professional papers were secured for me, he had many valuable papers - copies of original reports made on various occasions, they will be very valuable to me now & to others here after." I doubt not dear Mr Harrison you have carefully secured all these to send to George, I answered his letter by todays steamer & advised his writing you. he approves of New Haven for myself & boys. the city of New York will be his head quarters & he will be there to receive us. But I shall write you fully ere I leave England. Now only add love to dear Mrs Harrison[18] & kisses to the pets up stairs & down. Oh the blessing of a home, & an unbroken family circle! long may it be yours, & appreciated by you. Mr Gibson[19] told me that Mr Bagby[20] was disgracing himself in London as he had done in St P. in one of the fashionable hotels, choosing companions of the lowest stamp & declining to admit any respectable visitors. Mrs Gibson looks in better health than for 2 years past. Remember me to Mr Winans[21] & to the brother Prince[22]. Believe me truly

your obliged & grateful


This document is protected by copyright.


[1st envelope:] Via Hamburg & Stettin mail Steamers

Joseph Harrison Esq
St Petersburg

12th[23]. Will you send Mrs Haden a cast[24] of her dear father? she will so prize it. I send the imperfect outline of his valuable life if it may be of use. Say to Mr Ingersoll[25] I shall write him in a day or two when I hope for American letters[.] Love to all up stairs & down stairs, kisses to the children. Let not my God daughter[26] forget her truly attached & fond God mother & beg Mrs Harrison to write me of all I've left I feel so interested in the circle. Your obliged & grateful friend AMW

How & where is Genl Melnikoff[27]? Remember me at Mr Winans

[Postmark:] HAMBURG / 12-1 / 13 / 8
[Postmark:] OB / 12 JU-12 / 1849

[Black wax seal:] AMW

[2nd envelope:]

Joseph Harrison Esq
Mr Gellibrand

[Black wax seal:] AMW


1.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

2.  Joseph Harrison
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more].

3.  Mr Gillibrand
William Clark Gellibrand (b. ca 1791), merchant [more].

4.  Sloane St
The London home of Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

5.  dear Sister & your children
Mrs Leland, Joseph Harrison's sister; William Henry Harrison (b. 1837), Annie Harrison (1839-1915), Alicia McNeill Harrison (b. 1845), and Marie Olga Harrison (b. 1847), Joseph Harrison's children; see AMW to Joseph Harrison, 25 June 1849, #07633.

6.  Kilburn
William Edward Kilburn, daguerreotype and portrait photographer [more].

7.  Mr Fairbanks
Fairbanks, a merchant.

8.  piano
The family piano was shipped to England, and kept by Deborah, while the rest of AMW's household furniture was shipped to America; see AMW to Joseph Harrison, 11 June 1849, #07627, and 25 June 1849, #07633.

9.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

10.  Mr W
Probably John Winstanley (1776-1859), solicitor, JW's uncle [more].

11.  Mr Eastwick
Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1810-1879), partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more].

12.  the America
Steamer America (1848), Cunard Line (1,826 tons.). The America was launched in May 1847 and made its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York via Halifax on 15 April 1848. On subsequent voyages it alternated its destination between New York and Boston. During December 1856 it suffered serious storm damage near Cape Clear but made it back to Liverpool. The America held the Liverpool to Boston record for some years. In 1863 it was hired by the Allan Line and began to sail from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal. It served Cunard again in 1866 before becoming a sailing vessel with the new name of Coalgacondor. It was finally scrapped in 1875. See N. R. P. Bonsor, North Atlantic Seaway, An illustrated History of the Passenger Services Linking the Old World with the New, Lancashire, 1955.

13.  Mrs Hadens
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

14.  my boys
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more], and William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

15.  Aunt Alicia
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more].

16.  Mrs Sandlands
Betsey Sandland of Liverpool, friend of AMW.

17.  my fathers
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

18.  Mrs Harrison
Sarah Harrison (1817-1906), née Poulterer, wife of Joseph Harrison [more].

19.  the pets
Probably the children of Joseph and Sarah Harrison.

20.  Mr Gibson
Gibson, unidentified.

21.  Mr Bagby
Arthur Bagby (1794-1858), senator and U. S. minister in Russia from 1848-1849 [more]; see AMW to JW, 7 January 1848 x 18 February 1849, #06385.

22.  Mr Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

23.  brother Prince
Probably George H. Prince, engineer.

24.  Alexandroffsky
Name of the firm and house owned by Harrison, Winans and Eastwick; AMW to JW, 15, 16 and 18 September 1848, #06363.

25.  12th
'12th ... AMW' written on inside flap of envelope; 'How ... Winans' continues at the back of envelope.

26.  a cast
AMW probably means a copy of a daguerreotype of George Washington Whistler.

27.  Mr Ingersoll
Colin Macrae Ingersoll (1819-1903), secretary of the American Legation at St Petersburg [more].

28.  God daughter
Probably Alicia McNeill Harrison.

29.  Genl Melnikoff
General Paul Melnikof (1804-1888), engineer [more].