Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 20 December [1876?]

Date: December 20, [1876]

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00672

Source: The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:70. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Ashley Lawson, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Camden N J
Dec 201

Letter rec'd—(& very glad every way—& thanks)—I think I am really better this winter—The cold & snow & ice keep me in the house—else I should have been over to the W Phil[adelphia] depot—it would have done me good, even to have a minute, & a good hold of you once more—Nothing new in my affairs—I am doing well enough—Tell Mr & Mrs N2 I want to come to Wash once more, & I have not forgot the pictures—



1. This postcard bears the address, "Pete Doyle | M Street South | bet 4½ & 6th— | Washington | D.C." It is postmarked: "Camden | Dec | 20 | N.J."

Although the executors dated this postcard 1878, 1876 seems more plausible; note the similar phraseology in Whitman's December 13, 1876 letter to Doyle and the reference to the weather in Whitman's December 20, 1876 letter to Mannahatta and Jessie Whitman. In 1877 the weather late in December, according to his Commonplace Book, was perfect, and Walt Whitman visited the Gilchrists almost daily. In 1878 there is no indication in Whitman's Commonplace Book (kept by the poet as a diary, a memorandum, and account book, this bound manuscript notebook dates from March 1876 to 30 May 1889) that Whitman wrote to Doyle, or that the weather kept Whitman indoors (note Whitman's December 23–25, 1878 letter to John Burroughs, in which Whitman wrote of going out despite "a sharp spell of cold & gusty winds here these days"). Probably Doyle had answered Whitman's December 13, 1876 letter. [back]

2. Mr. and Mrs. Nash were old Washington friends of Whitman and Doyle. The poet stayed at their home in 1875 (see Whitman's November 9, 1875 letter to Ellen O'Connor). [back]


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