Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Nicholson, 5 September 1883

Date: September 5, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00777

Source: The Trent Collection of Walt Whitman Manuscripts, 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), 3:349–350. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

Camden New Jersey U S A
Evn'g Sept: 5 '83

Tommy,1 your letter come to hand this evening, & I will just scratch off a few lines to answer at once—for I am ever so glad to know you have not forgot me, as I have not you, Tommy boy. I heard by some London boy I met quite a while ago that you was married & I supposed since you had your hands full of business, new associations &c.

Tom, I will just tell you about things—I still live in the same quarters in Camden, but shall soon break up permanently from here. I keep pretty well—feel as well as when I last saw you, & I suppose look ab't the same—(perhaps grayer & redder)—though young enough in spirit & now in my 65th year, I could easily pass for 75 or so—Ups and downs of course, but I thank God I have had two pretty good years—& especially this past summer (which has been a remarkably fine one here.) My two books bring me in a moderate income2—I am satisfied with very plain living—& bless the Lord I am likely to have enough for that as long as I need—

Tom, give my best regards to your wife, for all I have no acquaintance with her yet—I wish to be remembered to any of the Asylum boys I knew there who yet remain—I remember well the kindness of them all, & the gay old rides around—Tom, do you recollect that Sunday evening you drove the women in town to church, & we had a sociable drive all around?—that was the time we first got acquainted—I have been thinking a good while of coming on to visit Dr Bucke again, & then I will come & see you3—God bless you, Tommy boy—

Your old friend,
Walt Whitman


1. One of the young men whom Whitman met at Bucke's asylum (see the letter from Whitman to Nicholson of October 14, 1880). [back]

2. On June 1 Whitman received from McKay $227.15 in royalties (University of Pennsylvania) and on December 5 $102.51 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). The sale of books was: 867 copies of Leaves of Grass and 558 copies of Specimen Days[back]

3. Though Whitman spoke frequently of visiting Richard Maurice Bucke, he did not go to Canada after his journey in 1880. [back]


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