The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Whistler 2003 - Centenary Journal

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7th March 2003 - Gold Medallist

On 7 March 1902 Whistler received a letter (GUL Whistler P267) from Harrison Smith Morris, Managing Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with the following news:

'It gives me pleasure to inform you that we shipped yesterday by U. S. Express... a small wooden box containing the Gold Medal of Honor awarded to you by the Board of Directors of the Academy. We trust you will receive this in safety and we beg to remain, Yours very truly, Harrison S. Morris.'

This medal was in recognition of a set of works exhibited by Whistler at the Winter Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1902 (many of which works had been loaned by Charles L. Freer). These pictures had taken pride of place in that show.

However, on 24 May 1902, the President of the Pennsylvania Academy wrote to Whistler (GUL Whistler P267) that the officials had heard nothing back from the artist following the shipping of the medal, and that there was some concern that it might have miscarried. However, it simply appears that Whistler had been too busy to send a note of acknowledgement and thanks. The medal in question now resides in the Hunterian Gallery and may be viewed online by clicking here.