Death notices

It’s sad to see death notices. It’s especially sad near the end of the correspondence series, approaching the end of LeConte’s own life, when the letters are fewer and farther between (especially after the flurry of 1877 activity, when his supporters wrote Rutherford B. Hayes). “You’ve had your run,” the record seems to say, “now it’s over, nothing more to do.” Depressing. Not simply because it’s a reminder of one’s own mortality, but because there is a certain affection for the writers of this material. Jules Putzeÿs is a great name*; I always felt happy to see it on a folder label—and then there was his death notice, and he would never appear on a label again. It’s rather silly. Obviously nineteenth century correspondents are all safely dead by now. Those folder labels even helpfully inform one of their birth and death dates. But still, the death notices are mournful items.

* Janos Xántus is another great LeConte name. He sounds like an industrialist who either fights crime in spandex or is himself the criminal mastermind.

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