Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, 3 December 1890

Date: December 3, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00455

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and 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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "1890," is in the hand of Richard Maurice Bucke.

Contributors to digital file: Brandon James O'Neil, Ian Faith, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock



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21 Pearl St. Studio
3rd Dec.1

Our kind friend and brother

Your letter, with 2 dollars duly recd.

Han2 regrets very much that she cannot write her thanks, even a postal. She sympathises, understanding Jessies3 great loss—and she too recall Jeff4 in Brooklyn—his guitar—his close bond of friendship with you—closer as it were than a brother. She is allmost seriously ill—jaundice, nervousness debility, and yet striving to maintain her home / our house. Bingham5 re-iterates that she must be kept warmer. I have written to Lou.6 She needs a long heavy, wollen stocking that will expand when drawn on. I have connected my stove with hers in bedroom, by adding more pipe and [elbow?]—at a cost of 1 doll[ar]—which I told the worker he could send for, to Mrs Lou Whitman, Burlington New Jersey—as before—Weather has been severely cold—moderating to day, with snow. I have no money am [s]hort 10 dollars, interest 1 year—at Bank—due 10th Nov—not quite out of coal yet.

Your kindness we appreciate every hour in the day. "O Walt" is so good.


Charlie

Lou must be particular when directing a package, to write the no 21. Pearl Street—to ensure certain safe delivery.


Correspondent:
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).

Notes:

1. Richard Maurice Bucke has provided the year for this letter. He has written "1890" in red ink in the top right corner of the letter. [back]

2. Hannah Louisa (Whitman) Heyde (1823–1908), youngest sister of Walt Whitman, married Charles Louis Heyde (ca. 1820–1892), a Pennsylvania-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. Jessie Louisa Whitman (1863–1957) was the younger daughter of Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman and Martha Mitchell "Mattie" Whitman, Walt Whitman's brother and sister-in-law. Jessie and her sister Manahatta "Hattie" were both favorites of their uncle Walt. [back]

4. Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

5. Dr. Leroy Monroe Bingham (1845–1911) graduated from Bellevue Medical College in New York in 1870 and moved to Burlington, Vermont, in 1874. After the death of Dr. Samuel W. Thayer in 1882, Bingham became Hannah's doctor. According to the Vermont Medical Monthly, "From about 1878, for a period of 20 years, he was one of the most active and the best known surgeons in Vermont" (Volume 17, Issue 12 [December 15, 1911]), 306. For more information, see William B. Atkinson, M.D., The Physicians and Surgeons of the United States (Philadelphia: Charles Robson, 1878), 375. [back]

6. Louisa Orr Haslam Whitman (1842–1892), called "Loo" or "Lou," married Whitman's brother George Whitman on April 14, 1871. Their son, Walter Orr Whitman, was born in 1875 but died the following year. A second son was stillborn. Whitman lived in Camden, New Jersey, with George and Louisa from 1873 until 1884, when George and Louisa moved to a farm outside of Camden and Whitman decided to stay in the city. Louisa and Whitman had a warm relationship during the poet's final decades. For more, see Karen Wolfe, "Whitman, Louisa Orr Haslam (Mrs. George) (1842–1892)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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