Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 16 September [1877]

Date: September 16, 1877

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.01676

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Anthony Dreesen, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray



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431 Stevens St Camden1
Sunday Sept 16 4:30 pm2

Dear Son

I will write you a line or two any how—(it is so long since I have written any thing in an envelope)3—Pete if you was to see me to-day you would almost think you saw your old Walt of six years ago—I am all fat & red & tanned—have been down in the country most of the summer, return'd the past week—feel real comfortable for me—only I am still paralyzed left side, & have pretty bad stomach troubles still at times—but thankful to God to be as well & jolly as I am4

I am all alone in the house to-day, & have had a good time—fine bright warm day—been out twice for short walks, (my little dog accompanying me)—rest of the time up here alone in my 3d story south room—done up & sent off my two books to a subscriber in England5—Eat my dinner alone, wished you could be with me then, & for a couple of hours, if no more—Pete your papers all come regularly, & I am pleased to get them—About coming on I cannot say now, but I shall come, & before long6—Love to Mr and Mrs Nash—Love to you my darling son, & here is a kiss for you—


WW


Notes:

1. The envelope for this letter bears the address: Pete Doyle | M Street South | bet 4½ & 6th | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Sep | 16 | N.J. [back]

2. September 16 occurred on Sunday in 1877. Whitman had returned from Kirkwood on September 10 (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. Most of Whitman's communications with Doyle were written on post cards. [back]

4. Much more romantically, and inaccurately, Whitman had written on August 27 in a little piece entitled "Convalescent hours": "Come, ye disconsolate, in whom any latent eligibility is left—come get the sure virtues of creek, shore, and wood and field. Two months (July and August) have I absorbed them, and they already make a new man of me. Every day, seclusion—every day at least two or three hours of freedom, bathing, no talk, no bonds, no dress, no books, no manners" (Complete Writings of Walt Whitman [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:182). [back]

5. Whitman sent the 1876 two-volume edition to James Anderson Rose in London (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

6. Whitman made only one visit, in 1875, to Washington after going to Camden in 1873, but he apparently was considering another trip in 1877 (see the letter from Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist of July 22, 1877). [back]


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