Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, 18 June 1891

Date: June 18, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00482

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: Cristin Noonan, Amanda J. Axley, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock



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Studio 21 Pearl St.
June 18. 91

Our dear—dearest, truest friend and Brother Walt—

Han1 recd your letter, with 2 dollars enclosed2—gratefully. Walt—Han is looking wasted, wan, and wretched—yet continues to keep her faculties—reason—methods of domestic usage—Yet—but I cannot describe her appearce—attenuated. We have taken up our winter carpet—an undertaking—and Han will be compelled to have the matrass she sleeps on, made over, at a cost of $6.50—It has become so hard—and Walt she needs a cheap warm shawl—and drawers—she has been patching for months, any thing that will hold together—old stock of mine. Had you not best write to Lou3 about her—Lou should help her—come to see her—send her money, or send it to Dr Bringham4— but it will come safe if sent to her through mail—she looks pitifull—does not sleep well. Brahma roosters make such discord at early morning—and men currying horses—and chirping birds! I rise at 5 o'clock and care for myself—help wash—as she directs—sunday morning perhaps—hang out on Monday.

I received a present of 5 dollars a few days ago, which helps—I wear pants—the same for three years—growing old of course—have nice paintings in reseve—cant sell—provisions high—Write to Lou.


Charlie


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. 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]

2. Heyde is likely referring to Whitman's letter to Hannah of June 16, 1891. [back]

3. Louisa Orr Haslam Whitman (1842–1892), called "Loo" or "Lou," married Walt's brother George Whitman on April 14, 1871. They moved to Camden in 1872. Walt Whitman lived with them from 1873–1884. 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]

4. Dr. Leroy Monroe Bingham (1845–1910) graduated from Bellevue Medical College in New York in 1870 and moved to Burlington, Vermont, in 1874. He became Hannah's physician after 1882. 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]


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