Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 20 March [1874]

Date: March 20, 1874

Editorial note: The annotation, "1874 or 5," 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.01630

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Alex Kinnaman, and Nicole Gray



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431 Stevens st. Camden.1
March 20.
4½ P.M.2

Dear boy Pete,

Nothing particular or new in my condition—I have been to the Doctor's to-day—had quite a long interview—no great satisfaction—I still have pretty uncomfortable times—& yet I keep up good heart in the main. I will make out only a short letter this time, I see. Good bye my loving son. I will try to do better next week.


Walt


Correspondent:
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."

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Peter Doyle | M street south | bet 4½ & 6th | Washington, | D. C. It is postmarked: Camden | Mar | 20 | N.J. [back]

2. The year is established by the discussion of Dr. Grier's diagnosis in the letter from Whitman to . O'Connor of March 22, which can be positively assigned to 1874. [back]


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