Ivory (tooth component)
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894
Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914
Philadelphia's analogue to Holmes was neurologist and novelist S. Weir Mitchell (1829-1914). The two were well-acquainted and corresponded from the 1850s until Holmes' death. Weir Mitchell sent this ivory paper knife to Holmes in 1882 and composed the riddling poem inscribed on it. In a letter to Mitchell, Holmes said the knife was "too gorgeous—too grand—for such a humble literary work-bench…. The riddle on it is one of the best in the English language. I doubt if there are ten, or even five—I am not sure there are three which can compare with it in finish and in the perfection of its graceful double-meanings…. If you meant it for me, I can only say I thank you most heartily for a gift of which any author might be proud, engraved with lines which he will never look upon without wishing he had written them."
Ivory paper knife sent to Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) by S, Weir Mitchell (1829-1914)
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Is Part Of
Boston Medical Library Artifact Collection
Ivory paper knife
From the collections of the Boston Medical Library
Unknown, “Paper knife,” OnView, accessed March 5, 2024, https://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/6258.
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