Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Mary Smith Costelloe, 1 November 1887

Date: November 1, 1887

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:129–130. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00554

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden US America1
Nov. 1 '87

Your good letter just rec'd & indeed welcomed—I remain ab't the same—cold weather here—no snow yet but raw & aching enough—Logan2 & Alys3 here day before yesterday. All well—your father here lately on his way to Milville—Ab't the sculptured head4, you have full power—I am writing a card to Ernest Rhys5 to-day—I was out driving Sunday, & out to supper evening—Would you like me to send you the Phila: papers—or any others?


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | the Embankment | London England. It is postmarked: Camden | Nov 1 | 8 PM | 87. [back]

2. Logan Pearsall Smith (1865–1946) was Mary's brother. For more information on Smith, see Christina Davey "Smith, Logan Pearsall (1865–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Alys Smith (1867–1951) was a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith and eventually married the philosopher Bertrand Russell. [back]

4. Whitman is referring to one of the busts of him made by sculptor Sidney H. Morse. See Whitman's letter to Robert Pearsall Smith of September 12, [1887]  [back]

5. 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]


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