Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 12 July 
Date: July 12, 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.01737
Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, and Nicole Gray
Dear son Pete,
I have been sick—but am feeling better now, & soon expect to be all right. Mother too is unwell. I expect to remain here ten or twelve days longer. Pete, I will only write a short letter this time.
Love to you dear son,
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. | Washington, D. C. It is postmarked: New York | (?). [back]