Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 24 May [1885]

Date: May 24, 1885

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:390. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: New York Public Library

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00540

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton




328 Mickle Street1
Camden N J
May 242

Dear J B—

I am ab't in my usual general health, but lameness bad—had a fall a month ago, & turned my ankle in—don't think I will be able to come up to West Park—


W W


Correspondent:
The naturalist John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a lifelong correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person (1867), Birds and Poets (1877), Whitman, A Study (1896), and Accepting the Universe (1924). For more on Whitman's relationship with Burroughs, see Carmine Sarracino, "Burroughs, John [1837–1921] and Ursula [1836–1917]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: John Burroughs | West Park | Ulster Co: | New York. It is postmarked: Camden | May | 2(?) | 188(?) | N.J.; Philadelphia, Pa. | May | 24 | 7 PM | Transit. [back]

2. The year is established by the reference to the sprained left leg which Whitman complained of from April 28 to June 8 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.); see also the letter from Whitman to Richard W. Gilder of May 24, 1885[back]


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.