Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Edward Wilkins, 24 December 1890

Date: December 24, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00960

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 5:137. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden New Jersey
Dec: 24 1890

Dear Ed

Y'rs came this mn'g,1 & was welcome (& you w'd be y'rself)—I am here yet, a peg additional dropping out every successive month or so but in many things the same subject continued—bladder trouble & the grip (aggravated cold in the head & stomach) are the worst—but I still keep pretty fair spirits & (fortunately) a stout strong right arm considering. Things in the house are ab't same—Mrs: Davis2 has just been in, is well—Warren3 has gone over to Phila—I am sitting here in the big chair with wolf skin spread over back—fine sunny day out—cold—no sleighing here—write when you can, dear boy, & I will too—God bless you—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Edward "Ned" Wilkins (1865–1936) was one of Whitman's nurses during his Camden years; he was sent to Camden from London, Ontario, by Dr. Richard M. Bucke, and he began caring for Whitman on November 5, 1888. He stayed for a year before returning to Canada to attend the Ontario Veterinary School. For more information, see Bert A. Thompson, "Edward Wilkins: Male Nurse to Walt Whitman," Walt Whitman Review 15 (September 1969), 194–195.

Notes:

1. This letter has not been located. [back]

2. Mary Oakes Davis (1837 or 1838–1908) was Whitman's housekeeper. For more, see Carol J. Singley, "Davis, Mary Oakes (1837 or 1838–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Frank Warren Fritzinger (1867–1899), known as "Warry," took Edward Wilkins's place as Whitman's nurse, beginning in October 1889. Fritzinger and his brother Harry were the sons of Henry Whireman Fritzinger (about 1828–1881), a former sea captain who went blind, and Almira E. Fritzinger. Following Henry Sr.'s death, Warren and his brother—having lost both parents—became wards of Mary O. Davis, Whitman's housekeeper, who had also taken care of the sea captain and who inherited part of his estate. [back]


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