Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, 19 October 1888

Date: October 19, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00409

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: Jeannette Schollaert, Alex Ashland, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

Van Ness & American
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.
Burlington, Vt.,
Octo 19 1888.

Bro Walt,

Your 'Nov Boughs'1 is recieved, and was appreciated most highly—I assure you. But this is quite rudely dashed by a debilitating sickness, which her physicians pronounce severe jaundice, and which the utmost care to ensure her early recovery—We brought her bed down in our best room—She is looking much emaciated, but is made more comfortable by the change. She has allways rallied so effectualy from former attacks, relying solely upon upon her hereditary constitution that I was greatly surprised and overcome—She recieved the 1 dollar—this necessiates the aid of a little more money—say to buy ½ ton of coal, and other necessaries, perhaps, say 5 dollars, and if George2 could add as much more, so much better—one doctor says she will improve in a short time, the other is not so certain. Should mail any money, I would be [glad?] that it be addressed to the care of G. W. Beckwith, Post Master—cause, she was very nervous when she discovered that I had written to you some time ago, and this must be avoided—Kind neighbors are near her—I will inform you daily of her condition—she had just laid, or changed her carpet for the winter—

C. L. Heyde.

Charles Louis Heyde (ca. 1820–1892), a French-born landscape painter, married Hannah Louisa Whitman (1823–1908), 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).


1. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. George Washington Whitman (1829–1901) was the sixth child of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman and ten years Walt Whitman's junior. George enlisted in 1861 and remained on active duty until the end of the Civil War. He was wounded in the First Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) and was taken prisoner during the Battle of Poplar Grove (September 1864). As a Civil War correspondent, Walt wrote warmly about George's service, such as in "Our Brooklyn Boys in the War" (January 5, 1863); "A Brooklyn Soldier, and a Noble One" (January 19, 1865); "Return of a Brooklyn Veteran" (March 12, 1865); and "Our Veterans Mustering Out" (August 5, 1865). After the war, George returned to Brooklyn and began building houses on speculation, with partner Mr. Smith and later a mason named French. George also took a position as inspector of pipes in Brooklyn and Camden. Walt and George lived together for over a decade in Camden, but when Walt decided not to move with George and his wife Louisa in 1884, a rift occurred that was ultimately not mended before Walt's 1892 death. For more information on George Washington Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Whitman, George Washington," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.