Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Keller, Elizabeth Leavitt (b. 1839)
Author:
Tyrer, Patricia J.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

A professional nurse, Keller was employed to care for Whitman (1892), along with his personal nurse, Warren Fritzinger, during the last months of his life.

Born in Buffalo, New York, she married William Keller in 1858 and was widowed seven years later. She was educated at the Women's Hospital in Philadelphia.

Keller's book Walt Whitman in Mickle Street, ostensibly based on her observations of the poet's home life, is primarily a vindication of Whitman's housekeeper, Mary O. Davis, and her claim against Whitman's estate for services rendered from 1885 to his death. Keller testified for Davis in a suit tried in April 1894, which Davis won. Keller also wrote an article for Putnam's Monthly, "Walt Whitman: The Last Phase" (1909), most of which came from her book.

Bibliography

Keller, Elizabeth Leavitt. Walt Whitman in Mickle Street. New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1921.


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