The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: book, Eden v Whistler, publication
Record 4 of 12

System Number: 08499
Date: [6 November 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]

[Chatham coat of arms with motto:] BENIGNO NUMINE



My dear Heinemann -

I have called in here this time! - This morning before leaving, I arranged with Miss Philip[4] that she would send you the drawing for The Open Question[5], approved - and also write you a little note -

So thats all right -

Off I went immediately and got Vielé-Griffin[6] to breakfast - We went through the book[7] - He is delighted with it - and thoroughly understands the situation -

It is arranged that I dine with the Griffins on Wednesday - and I am to meet Nathanson[8], the Proprietor of the Revue Blanche - and also the Editor or Director [p. 2] I am much pleased with this because if you remember, it was your own first notion! - You were quite right and Vielé Griffin says they are the most go ahead people - the most "dans le train" the "smartest" - in short just what we want - and they are backed by plenty of money -

Now if you will run over and make all clear in the business way, next Saturday, with Nathanson - fix it up as you say - it will be sailing of the smoothest! -

and then we can arrange about the note, from me to yourself, to be published - or not - as we think best -

And note that, in the casting of the plates,
William Heinemann -
must come out - which is quite heartbreaking! to make place for their own damned name, which will be, for them, as Griffin says, a great inducement and delight! -

I dont think Uzanne[9] is necessary but will see him that he may not be hurt or feel left out -

You ought to send me at once the only clean copy, the one you showed McClure[10] - that I may take it on Wednesday -

Also what said McClure? - Also, if published here, can you manage any thing like sales in England? - this entre nous - unless it may be communicated -

Really though you can make it all clear if you fix it up with Nathanson -

Write fully -


[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [6 November 1898]
The date is written at the top of the sheet in another hand.

2.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

3.  ALS
The letter is written at right-angles to the printed address.

4.  Miss Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. The note is untraced.

5.  The Open Question
According to the Pennells, JW designed the covers for two books by Elizabeth Robins (1865-1952), actress, novelist and campaigner [more]. These were Below the Salt, written under the name of C. E. Raimond, and The Open Question: A Tale of Two Temperaments, both published by Heinemann (1896 and 1899). The first bore the silver emblem of a full-rigged ship, the second two shields. Although the design used for the cover of The Open Question was not included in the catalogue raisonné of JW's drawings, because the design simply does not look like JW's work, it is clear from this letter that JW was involved in developing the design. JW also designed a rather unstable gallows for a book published by Heinemann in 1896, which is fully documented and does look like his work, Gallows design for the cover of 'A Book of Scoundrels' by Charles Whibley (M.1479). He also influenced the design, typeface and appearance of Heinemann's publications in general. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Whistler Journal, Philadelphia, 1921, p. 306; Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, p. 80, C. 26, C. 33); Gallows design for the cover of 'A Book of Scoundrels' by Charles Whibley (M.1479).

6.  Vielé-Griffin
Francis Vielé-Griffin (1863/1864-1937), poet [more].

7.  book
Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. The book is JW's account of his quarrel with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more] over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), a portrait of Eden's wife. JW became agitated when it looked as if publicity about the American edition of the book might appear prematurely and he was also probably concerned that Eden might take further action against him and the publisher. They therefore changed the first place of publication from London to Paris, hence JW's instruction in this letter that Heinemann's publisher's plate 'must come out.'

8.  Nathanson
Thadée Nathanson, co-proprietor of the Revue Blanche.

9.  Uzanne
Louis Octave Uzanne (1852-1931), writer [more]. 'I dont think ... left out' is written in the right-hand margin at right angles to the main text.

10.  McClure
Samuel Sidney McClure (1857-1949), journalist and publisher [more]. McClure owned an American newspaper syndicate and was also about to buy Harper's Monthly magazine. Heinemann and JW may have hoped to strike a publishing deal with McClure over the publication of the Baronet and the Butterfly in America (in 1888 Harper's Monthly proposed to publish JW's 'Ten O'Clock' lecture in book and article form, Harper to JW, #02035). 'You ought ... Wednesday' is written in the left-hand margin at right angles to the main text.