Jervis McEntee Diaries

Monday March 16, 1874

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, Monday, March 16, 1874, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Monday, March 16, 1874- Agreeably to a promise I made Mr. Hiram Fisher Gertrude and I went down to uncle Kenneths rooms at 30 Broadway to look at the pictures and copies he left to see what had best be done with them. All of his effects had been put into one room and it was a sad and hopeless accumulation. We were both much disappointed with the copies of the Old Masters which we had not seen in nearly 20 years and after looking them over we came to the conclusion that they were worthless, and had no more instinct than poor copies usually have. It was sad enough to see how years had been wasted in a vain pursuit of art for which he could never have had any strong inclination. We had both hoped to find some of the copies preserving some of the characteristics which make the originals so charming but that was lacking and this accumulation of a life time was only eloquent of years misspent. The old janitor Hurley by name was there and told us all about his illness. It seems he was ill and unable to sleep for two weeks and gave him great anxiety but never spoke of calling his friends and would not have a physician. I presume he had no idea of dying but the janitor thought he was very likely to die and urged him to go to his brothers as he intended to, but kept pushing it off from day to day until it was too late. The night he died he left him in the evening and Mr. Fisher asked him if he would be kind enough to look in before he went to bed. He did so and found him paralyzed but conscious. He attempted to get up and fell towards the stove and if Hurley had not been there would probably have fallen upon it and burned to death and probably set fire to the building. But for this man Hurley who was very kind and efficient his death might have been a greater tragedy. Commenced a little picture this afternoon of a boy shaving himself. Had Mrs. Bradleys son Leonard to sit for me.

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