OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR In a handwritten 1897 letter to his English lover, Holmes proves himself a skillful name dropper. ALS: "O W H", 4 pages, 8x10. No place, 1897 April 10. To "My dear lady" (Lady Clare Castletown). In part: "I think you were adorable to wire.

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In a handwritten 1897 letter to his English lover, Holmes proves himself a skillful name dropper.
ALS: "O W H", 4 pages, 8x10. No place, 1897 April 10. To "My dear lady" (Lady Clare Castletown). In part: "I think you were adorable to wire. I suppose you rcvd my answer. To answer your question about our Ambassador [John Hay] I first met him when I was returning from the war and he was Lincoln's Secretary. I had some talk with him on the train and thought him an intelligent man. Then I saw him in Paris in '66 and thought the same, but regard him as having rather a thin varnish on an imperfect Civilization. He has had much experience since then I know and no doubt has learnt much. I read a good speech of his in the last Campaign. I don't think much of his political gifts - He is a friend of Henry Adams, a son of our Minister to England [Charles Francis Adams], which is a mark in his favor as the Adamses are a clever lot - that's that. Also I do not expect to get to England this summer...My most interesting experience in the way of general reading is Nansen's book (Farthest North). It is as beautiful as a Greek statue. When I made a speech at a dinner to Lehmanns I saw that man's contribution to the 'Empirical Mixture' (as later called the air) of morality (which really is a compromise between two irreconcilable sexes) was the ideal drawn from conflict - doing a stump, as boys say...Nansen pretty nearly says the same thing, and nothing could be more enchanting than to see a man nearly killing himself for an End which derives its worth simply from his having affirmed it. You see the pure ideal in the concrete - nonsensical and sublime. Also he illustrates convincingly the answer to the question whether it is worth doing - that it depends on how much you know of it...How much we could tell each other if we met again. Don't you feel a sort of settled intimacy as the result of time and our writing and every thing? For oh oh oh, I wish. I had Lehmann to dinner the other day - and amused myself by having some persons of importance to meet him. Olney (ex-Sec. Of State), the Governor, the Chief Justice and we enjoyed ourselves...." OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR. (1841-1935), son of the renowned poet, lived at home until he married his schoolmaster's daughter, Fanny Dixwell, in 1872. They remained married until her death in 1929. He and his wife did not have any children. In the 1890s, Holmes began an affair with a married woman, LADY CLARE CASTLETOWN. This is one of his letters to her. There are 102 letters from Holmes to Lady Clare in the Holmes Papers at the Harvard Law School Library. Although the correspondence covered a period of 30 years, 86 letters were written in the three years from Holmes' first meeting in 1896 to the period surrounding his second meeting in 1898. Apart from a few letters in 1914 and 1916, these were the major years. He wrote 18 in 1896, 33 in 1897 and 35 in 1898, including four and a cable in June prior to his voyage. After 1898, there was a sudden drop in numbers to two for the year and then a long hiatus when no letters were sent, from that year until 1914. The letters were then resumed, but they had become more impersonal and detached. Lady Castletown died in 1925. The Holmes-Lady Castletown affair is detailed in The Grand Panjandrum: Mellow Years of Justice Holmes (University Press of America: 1988), written by former Connecticut Congressman John S. Monagan. Holmes was appointed in 1882 to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, becoming Chief Justice in 1899. Appointed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court until he retired at age 90 in 1932. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. ½-inch separations at blank right margin at mid-horizontal fold of both pages. Ink smudged at some words. Overall, fine condition.

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