Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Talcott Williams, 14 December 1884

Date: December 14, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: cor.00002

Source: Estelle Doheny Collection of the Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library, St. John's Seminary. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Editorial note: The annotation, "A-1127," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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328 Mickle Street
Dec. 14 '84

My dear friend

Upon the whole I shall have to beg off from Monday night. The doctor enjoins upon me that I am like an old wagon body—must keep rigidly to the smooth ordinarily traveled roads, & not cut across lots any how. Give my friendliest greetings & wishes to Miss Terry & Mr Irving—Should they, or either, feel any day—say from 2 to 3 in the afternoon—like calling upon me here, I should rate it a welcome honor.1

—If you have not procured the tickets before receiving this let them go unprocured—Best remembrances to Mrs. Williams.

Walt Whitman

Show this note to Miss Terry and Mr Irving—& if Miss T has the least desire to keep it, please let her do so.

Talcott Williams (1849–1928) was associated with the New York Sun and World as well as the Springfield Republican before he became the editor of the Philadelphia Press in 1879. His newspaper vigorously defended Whitman in news articles and editorials after the Boston censorship of 1882. For more information about Williams, see Philip W. Leon, "Williams, Talcott (1849–1928)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Whitman used his poor health as an excuse from all social occasions which he did not wish to attend. From December 2 to 4 he dined daily with Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke in Philadelphia, and on December 4 and 5 John Burroughs joined them for trips to Robert Pearsall Smith's home (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]


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