UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Whistler 2003 - Centenary Journal

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28th June 2003 - Fan Mail

Within the collection of Whistler correspondence in the University of Glasgow are a number of letters from admirers of Whistler, some of whom were writing in the hope of receiving a Whistler butterfly signature autograph in return. One such correspondent, a certain Olive Allen from Launceston, wrote the following poem to Whistler on 28 June 1898:

'If I send this note to France -
Asking for your autograph -
Will you give it just a glance?
If I send this note to France,
Give my poor request a chance -
Don't dismiss it with a laugh,
If I send this note to France
Asking for your autograph!'

(GUL MS Whistler A133)

In this case Whistler was sufficiently charmed, and replied in the following manner:

'The note you send to France -
Asking for my autograph -
Has charmed me at first glance!
This note you send to France -
You give my vanity a chance!
Dont receive me with a laugh
Since you sent this note to France
Asking for my autograph!
J. McN W
[butterfly signature]'

(GUL, op. cit.)