The End of a "Number" and a First Meeting

Hegeler letterpress to Peirce - 23 Jan 1893.pdf

Letterpress of original letter by Edward C. Hegeler to Charles S. Peirce, January 23, 1893

Peirce and Hegeler Telegram - 25 Jan 1893.pdf

Telegrams between Charles S. Peirce and Edward C. Hegeler, January 25, 1893

Open Court Mansion, La Salle, IL

Open Court Mansion, La Salle, IL

By the time Peirce completed “Evolutionary Love”—effectively drawing to a close his “number” or series of Monist metaphysical articles—he had only known the staff of the Open Court through their letter exchanges. Although Peirce had planned to visit Chicago in the summer of 1892 and to meet up with Carus during the trip, he never did. Likewise, Carus attempted but failed to arrange a meeting with Peirce while in New York during the following Fall, as he reports in his letter of 19 October. Come winter, however, the two would finally meet.

On 23 January 1893, Hegeler personally invited Peirce to visit his home, the business center of the Open Court: “I think it would be a help to our work, if we became nearer acquainted and invite you to visit me here at La Salle…. I shall be glad to hear favorably from you.” Just two days later, Peirce arrived in Chicago and telegraphed Hegeler that he was catching a train to La Salle (100 miles southwest). His visit lasted about two weeks from 25 January to 6 February.

The meeting was another step advancing Peirce’s relationship with the publishing company. Over the next two decades, he would publish additional articles in The Monist and The Open Court, and pursue plans for the publication of full-length books. Thus, the company would continue to serve as an essential outlet for his mature philosophy, and to support him financially during the period of his life when he became much excluded from professional communities and ultimately ruined by abject poverty. It is a testament to Peirce’s intellectual will and his greatness as a world-class philosopher that, despite the stress during these tragic years, he managed to produce some of the most profound writings of his career.