To Kate Field, 30 July 1877

ALS to Kate Field [Monday] 30 July 1877. 176x113mm, cream, laid paper, no watermark. Centred, embossed address. Remains of mounting in album on blank verso. 

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins III 164-165.

90. Gloucester Place,
Portman Square. W.

30 July 1877

Dear Miss Field,

Do you know --
personally or by reputation --
Mr (or Doctor?) Sayre
of New York?

The question was 
put to me yesterday -- 
and I was obliged to 
acknowledge that I had 
not the honour of knowing 
Dr Sayre. I may
add that the inquiry 
merely related to the 
degree of / celebrity attained

by this gentleman in New 
York. I have no 
personal interest in the 
question -- beyond the act 
of civility implied by answering 
it. If you can kindly 
enlighten me with a 
scratch of your pen, I 
shall [be del] thankfully "receive 
the same". If not, 
the waste-paper basket 
is at hand.

Yours always truly


Wilkie Collins


Mary Katherine Keemle Field (1838-1896) was an American writer and actor. She was also an advocate of women's rights. She first met Wilkie Collins in 1873 and they became friends. Kate Field published a biography of the actor Charles Fechter in 1882 to which Wilkie contributed a 20 page chapter. She is said to have had a romantic involvement with Anthony Trollope.

A crayon drawing of Kate Field by Venderweyde, London 1878

Dr Lewis Albert Sayre 1820-1900 was an orthopaedic doctor, specialising in children's medicine. However, in 1870 he drew a correlation between an orthopaedic malady in a boy and the foreskin. He then established what he believed was a connection between the foreskin and a wide range of conditions including rheumatism and gout and prescribed circumcision for their cure. Perhaps Wilkie's interest as a lifelong sufferer from gout was not so much for a 'friend' as for himself.


All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997-2005