The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > Resources > Other Projects

Other Projects

The Correspondence of Anna Whistler

Edited by Georgia Toutziari,

Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881) is best known as the sitter for perhaps the most famous painting of an artist's mother in the world, Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother by James McNeill Whistler.

An American woman of Scottish ancestry, Anna Whistler lived at various periods of her life in America, Russia and Britain. She was brought up in a nineteenth-century context, where white middle-class women were confined in most cases to the private domain of the home. Although Anna Whistler believed in traditional domestic roles for women, her circumstances led her beyond these boundaries and definitions. Throughout her life she maintained a network of contacts through correspondence with family and friends in America. Her letters are rich in detail on a variety of subjects, from the social and domestic arrangements of every day, to the wider issues of religion, slavery and United States diplomacy. Her contacts included a network of some one thousand individuals that ranged from manufacturers and railroad engineers to religious leaders, slave owners, artists and army officers.

Dr Georgia Toutziari's electronic edition of Anna Whistler's correspondence (1829-1880) comprises 267 annotated letters accompanied by interpretative essays. This multi-facetted study analyses and compares primary archival material, all of it previously unpublished. The edition provides a wealth of information for scholars of social/art/women's/economic history.

The Correspondence of Anna Whistler presents the information in a searchable format that will both represent the Victorian era and make a significant contribution to the study of this period.

The correspondence of Anna Whistler (1855-1880) is now available online as part of the Whistler correspondence edition.

A catalogue raisonné of Whistler's etchings

See the website for further information about this project.