Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 19 September [1873]

Date: September 19, 1873

Editorial notes: The annotations, "1873," and "1873," are 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.

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

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01751

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

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Friday afternoon, Sept. 19.

Dear boy Pete,

Your letter came all right last Tuesday. I still keep the same—no worse, & no better. It is the same old story. I have a great deal of pain in my head yet—no let up.

Dear son I would like to write you a good long amusing letter—but I cannot to-day. We have had a rainy night and forenoon—but as I write the sun is shining out again—& I must get out & drag myself around a little for a change.

Farewell my loving son, till next time.

I send a small bundle of papers.

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."


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