Anthony J. Drexel in Carlsbad
The numerous spas in Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary), located about seventy miles west of Prague in the Czech Republic, made the town a popular destination in the 19th century. Its visitors included members of the European aristocracy, celebrities, and wealthy Americans including Anthony J. Drexel.
Drexel traveled to Europe annually on business and to visit the spas in Carlsbad to treat his recurring health issues. It was the same in June 1893, when he fell seriously ill with pleurisy, an inflammation of the lungs.
These two letters, written June 29 and June 30, 1893, represent some of A.J. Drexel's last correspondence. He writes to his business partner and Pierpont Morgan's brother-in-law, Walter Burns. On June 29th, he discusses his current poor health due to pleurisy and swelling in his leg. He had recently received news that his proposal of reorganization of the Reading Railroad finances was refused by its security holders, and writes to Burns with advice about how to handle the situation. He writes, "I hope to see you in London before I sail & we can talk matters over."
In his June 30th letter he reports that his health is improving and he has "a most careful nurse and lots of sympathizing friends who are very kind." Besides writing of business, Drexel expresses his opinion on current political events, condemning James D. Cameron, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, for his support of the populist silver movement, accusing him of having interests in silver and calling him a demagogue. On the other hand, he praises Grover Cleveland in the matter, writing "He is an honest man & a statesman." Drexel died of a heart attack in his room around noon that day.
Seen below: From a newly discovered letter from A.J. to his son John, one can read that John had accompanied his father four years before, and they had taken advantage of visiting the theaters in Carlsbad. Music was an interest A.J. shared with his children, and is mentioned in another letter to John.