Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John R. and Rebecca B. Johnston, 9 February 1875

Date: February 9, 1875

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:322–323. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The location of the original manuscript is unknown.

Whitman Archive ID: med.00430

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




431 Stevens St. / Cor. West. / Camden / N. Jersey.
Feb. 9, 1875.

My dear friends, John R. & Rebecca B. Johnston,1

This then is the 28th anniversary of your marriage day.

God bless you both.


Walt Whitman.

I wonder if you either of you have any idea how the otherwise monotony of my Camden existence has been pleasantly rippled—how warm & bright those gleams to me—from the unvarying hospitality and sweet friendship of both of you—God bless you.


W.W.


Notes:

1. Among Whitman's early friends at Camden was John R. Johnston, "the jolliest man I ever met, an artist, a great talker," per Whitman's November 9, 1873 letter to Peter Doyle. Johnston was a portrait and landscape painter who for years maintained a studio in Philadelphia and lived at 434 Penn Street in Camden. See The New-York Historical Society Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564–1860 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957). On the verso of Anne Gilchrist's letter of February 21–25, 1875, Whitman scrawled some trial lines for an inscription: "written in memory of the good times Sunday evening's in Penn street, 1875—'4 & '3." The poet was fond of Johnston's children, Ida and Jack (John Jr.). [back]


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