Contents and Arrangement

Correspondence between James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Jonathan Sturges, 1895-1901

4 folders

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists chiefly of selected autograph letters and notes of the American-born, England-based painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler, addressed to his friend Jonathan Sturges, Princeton Class of 1885, the majority of which are signed with Whistler's drawing of a butterfly. Spanning the years 1895 to 1901 and posted from England and France, the letters relate to the affair of the "Baronet and the Butterfly," a public scandal which concerned an oil portrait of Lady Eden which Whistler refused to deliver to Sir William Eden because the payment (on Valentine's day) was inadequate. Whistler later published various documents about the matter in a book titled Eden Versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly: A Valentine with a Verdict. Included in the letters are some sketches done by Whistler for an autograph for Sturgess. Also included are newspaper clippings concerning the scandal collected by Sturges. There are three other letters by Whistler, one to E. K. Johnson regarding the price of some of Whistler's artwork, another to Mr. Marchmont regarding sending his artwork by railroad, and the third inviting William Rossetti for dinner. In addition,there is a lengthy letter (ca. 1870) by Anna Matilda McNeill (the painter' mother) to her sister, containing references to her young son.

Collection History



Custodial History:

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Correspondence between James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Jonathan Sturges; James McNeill Whistler Collection, C1274, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1