Had it not been, his close friend and literary executor, Robert Ross, would almost certainly have disposed of it, as he did Oscar’s other personal possessions of no monetary or sentimental value. It survived thanks to the Dupoirier family, who owned the Hôtel d’Alsace, where Wilde was a long-term resident. A few items that had belonged to Oscar surfaced later, and Jean Dupoirier kept them as mementos. There were the shirt, a pile of rough jottings that Dupoirier burned, an umbrella that he subsequently lost, a set of false teeth and finally, two trunks of books and magazines!
Jean Dupoirier Robert Harborough Sherard
“In Twenty Years in Paris (1905), Oscar Wilde’s first biographer, Robert Harborough Sherard, describes his visit to the Hôtel d’Alsace on the rue des Beaux-Arts, where Wilde had died in penury on November 30, 1900. In July 1904, Sherard discovered that the landlord, Jean Dupoirier, had left Wilde’s shabby bedroom much as it was when the disgraced author had passed away. As Sherard observes, he was hardly the only one wanting to peek inside the tawdry chamber, with “its soiled curtains of the colour of lees of wine”. Soon after Wilde’s death, Dupoirier made a small profit by turning the room into a site of pilgrimage. Not only could devotees inspect the “leathern case” containing the “Privaz syringe” that Dupoirier had used to inject Wilde with morphine. They could also view the “the two trunks” in which were stored “the books which he had collected during his stay in the hotel”. “He was a great reader was Monsieur Melmoth”, Sherard recalls Dupoirier remarking of the debt-ridden guest who lived quietly under this imaginative alias. “One rarely saw him without a volume in his hand.”
Robert Harborough Sherard, describes the two trunks. One was a large leather trunk that carried the bulk of Wilde’s books and belongings.
The other one was “a small hide-covered dome-top trunk.”
Oscar Wilde’s Trunk
Now this is the one we are interested in. Read Sherard’s description and see what you think.
“…The trunk had metal hinges, brass swing handle and lock, bordered with scallop-edged leather strips applied with ornamental brass tacks, the center of the lid with “O.W.” monogram…”
This is exactly the trunk I have been investigating now for Months. Atlas the mystery of the “O.W. Trunk”, in my humble opinion, has been solved!