Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 21 February 1888

Date: February 21, 1888

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.07208

Contributors to digital file: Jeannette Schollaert, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock



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THE "MAPLEWOOD,"
MAPLEWOOD, WHITE MOUNTAINS, N.H.
MAGNOLIA HOTEL AND SPRINGS.
MAGNOLIA, ST. JOHNS RIVER, FLA.

HOTEL SAN MARCO,
AINSLIE & McGILVRAY. Managers.
DOGS NOT ALLOWED IN THE HOTELS.

St. Augustine, Fla.,
21 Feb 88

I have yours of 16th, Had the "Halcyon Days" a little while ago—like it exceedingly. Am very glad to hear such good accounts of Rhys1 and hope he may continue to prosper. He is a real good boy and deserves to do well. All quiet here, Mr. Pardee2 continues to do well. I think I shall certainly leave here next Monday and see you Wednesday or Thursday—I shall stay at Dooner's as usual shall be there from the station so if you should want to send any word to me you will catch me there as soon as I reach the city. Very wet weather here the last few days, I am beginning to fear we shall have bad weather & bad roads for the Presidents visit—that would be a pity. I am having a first class time here quiet and pleasant. Have not had such a thorough good rest as I am getting now for years—we have a splendid bay here and every few days I set out for a good sail on it, they have capital sail boats.

Remember me to Mrs. Davis3

Yours as always
RM Bucke


Correspondent:
Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Timothy Blair Pardee (1830–1889) was a Canadian lawyer and politician, member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontaria, Canada, and Minister of the Crown. Pardee appointed Richard Maurice Bucke, with whom he was a close friend, as the Superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in Hamilton at its founding in 1876, and then the next year as Superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in London. For more on Pardee, see H. V. Nelles, "Pardee, Timothy Blair," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. 11 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982).  [back]

3. Mary Oakes Davis (1837 or 1838–1908) was Whitman's housekeeper. For more, see Carol J. Singley, "Davis, Mary Oakes (1837 or 1838–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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