Letter from Joseph Lister, Edinburgh, to W. E. Henley, 1875 July 5 : autograph manuscript signed.

Record ID: 
Accession number: 
MA 1617.329
Lister, Joseph, Baron, 1827-1912.
Edinburgh, Scotland, 1875 July 5.
Purchased as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke, 1955.
1 item (4 pages) ; 18.4 x 11.4 cm

Written from "9, Charlotte Square / Edinburgh" on stationery engraved with the address.
Henley's poem, "A Student," was a racist and derogatory portrait of George Rice (1848-1935), a Black American medical student then attending the University of Edinburgh. Rice would become house surgeon under Lister at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (Henley was a patient there in 1873-1875). Henley did not include "A Student" in further publications of his "Hospital" poems.


Thanking him for a copy of the Cornhill Magazine which had published Henley's "Hospital" verses and commenting on them; saying "It may interest you to see, if you have not already done so, what is said of them by the paper of which I send you a copy. I may add that it expresses very much my own feeling about them: they have surprised and pleased me very much. Of one of your portraits it would not become me to speak; but of another, that of 'A Student', you will I trust forgive me for saying that I cannot help regretting the publication of so severe a picture. I say this as your friend, because I sincerely hope with the Review that we shall 'hear again of' you as a poet; and I am afraid indulgence in this vein may make you needless enemies of those whom you so sharply chastise. I rejoice that you can report so favorably of your foot and quite hope it will soon be sound."

Purchased as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke, 1955.