Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 9 September 1870

Date: September 9, 1870

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:111. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01531

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




Brooklyn
September 9, 18701

Dear son,

I wrote you a letter last Tuesday, 6th, which I suppose you have rec'd. The last I have from you was yours of Sunday, 4th. I am still here in Brooklyn, quite busy with the printing. I have rec'd a letter from John Rowland who is working for me in the office, complaining that he has to work too hard—I should think by his letter he means to back out of his bargain with me—if so, it will be a bad loss & inconvenience to me—But I shall not fret about it—whatever happens. It is likely that this will shorten my leave, & that I shall have to come back & do my work myself, about the end of the month.

Dear Pete, I hope you are having good times, & are in good spirits. We are having quite coolish weather here. The drivers wear their overcoats mornings & evenings. As I sit here writing Friday afternoon, it is cloudy & threatens rain. I am going over to New York in an hour or so, & shall leave this in the P. O., and then go around awhile—possibly going to Niblo's Theatre2, as they play Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" to-night, with Davenport & quite a bunch of stars in the piece3

Son, I am afraid I shall not make out much of a letter this time—but you take it so hard when I don't write, I thought I would send a few lines—they would be better than nothing—

God bless you, my loving boy—& farewell for this time.


Walt.


Notes:

1. This piece of correspondence is addressed, "Peter Doyle, | Conductor, | Office | Wash & Georgetown City RR. Co. | Washington, | D. C." It is postmarked: "New-York | Sep | 9 | 6 P.M." [back]

2. Walt Whitman did not see this play on September 9, 1870, since that was the one evening in the week on which it was not presented. The cast included Edward Loomis Davenport as Brutus. Lawrence Barrett as Cassius, and Walter Montgomery as Marc Antony.

Niblo's Theatre was built in 1834 by coffeehouse owner William Niblo as a way to supplement the entertainment value of his refreshment "resort." Rebuilt in 1849 after an 1846 fire, Niblo's Theatre saw a significant increase in business after the Civil War. It was destroyed in another fire in 1872, later rebuilt by Alexander Turney Stewart (1903–1876) before closing in 1895 to make way for an office building for sugar refiner Henry Osborne Havemeyer (1847–1907). [back]

3. Walt Whitman did not see this play on September 9, 1870, since that was the one evening in the week on which it was not presented. The cast included E. L. Davenport as Brutus. Lawrence Barrett as Cassius, and Walter Montgomery as Marc Antony. [back]


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