Some William James Anecdotes

A Gift for Hellen Keller:
There were also field trips, such as the one James took in May 1892 with sixteen grad students to interview the twelve-year-old Helen Keller. Keller later recalled that James “brought me a beautiful ostrich feather. ‘I thought,’ he said, ‘you would like the feather, it is soft, light, and caressing.’”

Visit to His Late Sister’s Old Neighborhood:
James is edging up on a notion of immortality here. He was thinking of more than his own. The day before he started lecturing at Oxford, he had been at Leamington, where his sister Alice had lived, and where he had so memorably rushed up to see her nineteen years before. Though it was raining, James made a point of looking up her old lodgings. What of Alice James might remain at 9 Halliburton Terrace?

His Brother Bob Thanks Him for Sending a Copy of His Book:
In October The Meaning of Truth appeared. A grumpy thank-you note from brother Bob urged William, “For God’s sake stop your research for truth (pragmatic or otherwise) and try and enjoy life.”

William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
Robert Richardson
(Highly recommended)