Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 27 June 
Date: June 27, 1872
Editorial note: The annotation, "72," is in an unknown hand.
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.01598
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Alex Kinnaman, and Nicole Gray
Thursday June 27.
I will write you just a line, to show you I am here away north, & alive & kicking. I delivered my poem here before the College yesterday. All went off very well.—(It is rather provoking—after feeling unusually well this whole summer,—since Sunday last I have been about half sick & am so yet, by spells.) I am to go to Vermont, for a couple of days, & then back to Brooklyn—Pete I received your letter, that you had been taken off—write to me Saturday 30th or Sunday—direct to usual address 107 Portland av. Brooklyn. I will send you the little book with my poem, (& others) when I get back to Brooklyn. Pete did my poem appear in the Washington papers—I suppose Thurs-day or Friday—Chronicle or Patriot?2—If so, send me one—(or one of each)
—It is a curious scene here, as I write, a beautiful old New England village, 150 years old, large houses & gardens, great elms, plenty of hills—every thing comfortable, but very Yankee—not an African to be seen all day—not a grain of dust—not a car to be seen or heard—green grass every where—no smell of coal tar—As I write a party are playing base ball on a large green in front of the house—the weather suits me first rate—cloudy but no rain.
Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle drove the forty-five-year-old Whitman by horsecar. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter."
1. This letter is addressed: Peter Doyle, | conductor | Office | Wash. & Georgetown City RR. It is postmarked: Hanover N. H. | Jun | 27. [back]
2. The poem did not appear in the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle or The Daily Patriot. The Washington Star, however, printed Whitman's laudatory version of his performance; see Emory Holloway, American Mercury, 18 (1929), 485. [back]