Title: Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 8 July 1887
Date: July 8, 1887
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:106–107. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Alice and Rollo G. Silver Collection in the Special Collections at Boston University
Whitman Archive ID: bos.00020
Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock
Camden U S America1
We have had eight days of persistent obtrusive sun, glare & heat —but as I write it is a cloudy forenoon ("for this relief much thanks") though still & warm—I am still here in Mickle Street—at this moment sitting by the open window down stairs in my big arm-chair—H[erbert] G[ilchrist]2 at work at the portrait (now near finished)—Loving remembrance to you all—to your father and A[lys]3—I am writing a little—not much—
Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | the Embankment | London | S W | England. It is postmarked: Camden N.J. | Jul 8 | 12(?) M | 87; Philadelphia, Pa. | Jul | 8 | 1887 | Paid. [back]
2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
3. Alys Smith was a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith and eventually married the philosopher Bertrand Russell. [back]