Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William F. Channing, 4 July 1887

Date: July 4, 1887

Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977).

Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01259

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock



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Camden New Jersey1
July 4 '87

Dear Doctor—

By request of C W Eldridge2 I sent a copy of author's ed'n Leaves of Grass June 213—and now a second copy same—write me a line please to say whether they reach you safely—I send my love to you & Mrs. C and to the family, your girls & boy—Is Wm O'C4 still there—Many an anxious & loving thought is wafted thither on his account—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
William F. Channing (1820–1901), son of William Ellery Channing, and also Ellen O'Connor's brother-in-law, was by training a doctor, but devoted most of his life to scientific experiments. With Moses G. Farmer, he perfected the first fire-alarm system. He was the author of Notes on the Medical Applications of Electricity (Boston: Daniel Davis, Jr., and Joseph M. Wightman, 1849). Ellen O'Connor visited him frequently in Providence, Rhode Island, and Whitman stayed at his home in October, 1868.

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Dr W F Channing | Pasadena | Los Angeles County | California. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jul 5 | 8 PM | 87. [back]

2. Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903) was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who issued the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Walt Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster, Major Lyman Hapgood. Eldridge eventually obtained a desk for Whitman in Hapgood's office. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)." [back]

3. Channing noted receipt of the volumes in his letter of July 29, 1887. [back]

4. William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet "The Good Gray Poet," published in 1866 (a digital version of the pamphlet is available at "The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication"). For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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