Jervis McEntee Diaries

Sunday May 11, 1873

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, May 11, 1873, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Sunday, May 11, 1873- Last Sunday was the first really fine spring day. I went to the park and in my ramblings met Girard, John Wright and Ewen Hathaway. In the afternoon Gifford, Gertrude, Vaux, Mary & Mary Gifford went over to Hoboken and called on Mrs. Cook and in the evening we went to Mary's and took tea. Monday Mr. Moore's sale came off. The room was crowded with people but the bidding was spiritless and many pictures were not sold at all. My little picture Autumn 10x12 for which he gave me $80 brought $140 exclusive of the frame. A picture by Gifford about 16x28 brought $600. Hayes came to the building for the first time in two months having been ill and subjected to a painful surgical operation. Tuesday I commenced a little picture 12x20. Wednesday Sara went home after a stay of seven months studying here in the city. I can't help admiring the energy with which she has carried on her studies under many discouragements. How often I have regretted my inability to assist her. Thursday. Mr. Moore came in and paid me $280 which I immediately sent to Mr. Skule to pay the interest on my mortgage. He owes me altogether about $700 which I very much need but his sale was unsuccessful and he cannot pay me and what I am to do I do not know. It rained all day Thursday & Friday & Saturday. I went up to see Mr. Huntington on Saturday to urge him to stand for President of the Academy but he positively refused and I came away very much discouraged about Academy affairs. He, Page, Casilear, Guy had an informal meeting at the Academy and nominated Ward for President and me for vice president but I shall never consent to stand being conscious of my unfitness, and while I esteem it a mark of confidence that some of my most valued artist friends like Whittredge & Johnson urge me to run I have positively decided I will not. I think the Academy will be wrecked for there is no esprit du corps. While Gertrude and I were out on Saturday Mrs. Henry Blackburn called to bid us farewell on her way to the steamer which takes them home to England. Gertrude had a pattern belonging to her which was to have been returned to her. This (Sunday) morning I saw by the Herald that the Oceanic in which they sailed after having reached the outer bay had cracked one of her cylinders and returned to the city, so directly after breakfast although it was raining I set out to try to reach the ship which was anchored in the stream, to deliver her the package. I did not know where to go, was landed in Jersey City two miles below the White Star dock and when I reached there had to come over to New York again. There I wandered up and down the docks in the rain trying to find the tug which I was told attended on the steamer. Just as I was about to give up in despair I found her and from a passenger learned that the tug would go out to the ship at 2 o'clock. It was 12 then and raining so I came home intending to go back in time to go out to the ship, but I found Eastman Johnson his wife and her sister Sarah here come to urge us to go up to dine with them. He advised me to send the package to England by mail and I finally concluded I would and we went up with them. Eastman and I talked of the Academy affairs and finally as we could hit upon no plan both concluded the only thing to do was to go to the meeting on Wednesday and let affairs take their course. I anticipate nothing but confusion, no one to take hold of the sinking ship and that our Academy that ought to be our pride and glory will go down on account of the apathy of some and the unwise measures which have been forced upon it by others. Annie Holland, Katie and a son of Rev George McDonald of England called on us yesterday to tell us Mr. McDonald would preach in Dr. Bellows church this evening and so we all came down from Eastmans to the church to find it crowded as we were late and as we had to stand in the aisle and could not hear Mr. McDonald on account of an unfortunate delivery we came home and they returned at the same time. I have the record of last year to repeat. I have suffered agonies of anxiety on account of my money affairs and since Mr. Moore has not been able to pay me have been almost in despair. I am utterly helpless and suffer intensely whenever I allow myself to reflect upon my situation. I talked with Johnson about it, but what can he do but sympathize. I cannot help a feeling of injustice and wonder why I must continually drag this chain for no fault of my own that I am aware of.

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