Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 26 October 1888

Date: October 26, 1888

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:228. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00615

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden
Friday night
Oct: 26 '881

Am a little concern'd—not hearing from you for quite a while—hope that eye trouble has had a turn for the good2—Rec'd a friendly & cheering letter f'm E C Stedman3 this forenoon—As for me I get on ab't the same as of late—Keep my sick room yet, but mainly comfortable—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet "The Good Gray Poet," published in 1866 (a digital version of the pamphlet is available at "The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication"). For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is endorsed: "Answ'd Oct. 27/88." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | 1015 O Street | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Oct 26 | 8 PM | 88. [back]

2. O'Connor replied at length on the following day, October 27, 1888: "The pleasing little malady of the eyelid which has inspired me to much eloquent, though silent, profanity, is called ptosis, . . . and consists in a paralysis of the first nerve of the eyelid." [back]

3. Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908) was a man of diverse talents. He edited for a year the Mountain County Herald at Winsted, Connecticut, wrote "Honest Abe of the West," presumably Lincoln's first campaign song, and served as correspondent of the New York World from 1860 to 1862. In 1862 and 1863 he was a private secretary in the Attorney General's office until he entered the firm of Samuel Hallett and Company in September, 1863. The next year he opened his own brokerage office. He published many volumes of poems and was an indefatigable compiler of anthologies, among which were Poets of America, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1885) and A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, 11 vols. (New York: C. L. Webster, 1889–90). For more, see Donald Yannella, "Stedman, Edmund Clarence (1833–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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