Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 16(?) October 1879

Date: October 16, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: dbw.00001

Source: The original manuscript has not been located. This partial transcript was written in a letter from Richard Maurice Bucke to his wife Jessie, held in the Bucke Collection of the D. B. Weldon Library of the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. The transcription presented here is derived from Artem Lozynsky, "A Lost Whitman Letter to Bucke," Walt Whitman Review, 19 (December 1973), 168. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Nicole Gray

Have been absent from Camden the last five weeks1—been over the Plains & up in the Rocky Mountains—gave out about two weeks ago & have been quite sick ever since (principal trouble with my head) but am recovering—only received yours (of Sept 22) today—will send the book from Camden soon as I get back—shall stay here twelve days2



1. Lozynsky claims that Whitman wrote this note to Bucke on October 17, 1879, but in a letter to his wife, Bucke wrote that he had received the post card from Whitman on Friday. October 17 fell on a Friday in 1879, so Whitman must have written and mailed this letter at least a day earlier. [back]

2. The letter from Bucke to Whitman of 22 September 1879 appears to be lost. An account of Whitman's Western trip and his physical collapse appears in Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:163–171. The poet remained in St. Louis at the home of his brother Jeff until January 3, 1880. On January 7, 1880, he sent ten volumes to Dr. Bucke (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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