Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, October [?] 1888

Date: October [?] 1888

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00408

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. 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.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock



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Van Ness & American Hotels
Burlington, Vermont.
The "Van Ness House" has a Safety Hydraulic
Passenger Elevator, Fire Escapes, and the
Grinnell Automatic Sprinkler.
Fine Views of the Lakes and Mountains from
all parts of the House.
U. A. Woodbury, Proprietor.
L. S. Drew & H. N. Clark, Managers.


Burlington, Vt.,
Octr
Sunday
18881

Bro Walt.

Han2 improving still. We feel no anxiety, yet are watchfull —Dr Brigham3 attends her solely, he so much resembles in person and deportment her old and revered friend Dr Thayer4—who allways felt and displayed, practicaly the warmest sympathy for her—Dr Rutherford5 had insisted on my employing a murse, to dwell in the house with us, but Brigham assured us that it was not required; that she would improve in a few days, and a very kind, sisterly neighbor Mrs Leach,6 volunteerd to come in daily and personaly arrange her bed, and administer to her comfort, in other ways. I assure you, Walt, that at one time I was cast down—therefore you will excuse me for appealing to you, as I have done—Han injoined me strictly not to inform you of her sickness that it would worry you, but I consider her in extreme danger, and felt it to be my duty to let her friends know, and I am [illegible] you would have censured me severely, in event she had [illegible] recoverd—But she must not yet know that I have written you, she will be uneasy, as to its effect upon you—Address to me, therefore, care of Post Master Beckwith7—I think she will gain speedily, with caution. The climate at present bad—


C.L. Heyde


Correspondent:
Charles Louis Heyde (1822–1890), a French-born landscape painter, married Hannah Louisa Whitman (1823–1890), Walt Whitman's sister, and they lived in Burlington, Vermont. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. For more information about Heyde, see Steven Schroeder, "Heyde, Charles Louis (1822–1892)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. Heyde's extant letters from the month of October 1888 are dated the 19th and 27th. Given that he wrote the present letter on a Sunday, we can safely eliminate the Sundays (the 21st and 28th) falling closest to these two letters. The most likely date of composition is either the 7th or 14th of October, 1888. [back]

2. Hannah Louisa (Whitman) Heyde (1823–1908), youngest sister of Walt Whitman, married Charles Louis Heyde (1822–1890), a French-born landscape painter. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. Hannah and Charles Heyde lived in Burlington, Vermont. For more, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Heyde), Hannah Louisa (d. 1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

4. Dr. Samuel W. Thayer (1817?–1882) was Professor of Anatomy at the University of Vermont Medical School. According to John Brooks Wheeler, Memoirs of a Small-Town Surgeon (Garden City, New York: Garden City Publishing Company, 1936), 284–289, Thayer performed most of the operations in Burlington during the 1860s; "he kept no books and never sent a bill…he lived and died a poor man." Whitman inquired of him with regard to sister Hannah Whitman Heyde's health on December 8, 1868[back]

5. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

6. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

7. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]


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