Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to George Wood, 17 January 1863

Date: January 17, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: hav.00002

Source: Charles Roberts Autograph Collection, Haverford College. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:71. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Brett Barney, Eric Conrad, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

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Saturday morning Jan 17 '63.

Dear Mr Wood,1

So your generous heart moved you to send the sick and dying young men in the hospitals a handsome little contribution of money (toward $4). I thank you, dear sir, in their name, and in my own, as the organ of your charity. I have distributed part of it in Ward 6, (Dr. Leman, ward surgeon) Campbell Hospital—and shall to-day bestow the rest in the Patent Office Hosp.2 My friend, I must meet you soon again.

Truly yours

Walt Whitman


1. Apparently George Wood (1799–1870), who went to the Treasury Department as a clerk in 1822 and held various posts in that bureau until his death. He was the author of several satirical works, Peter Schlemihl in America (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1848) and The Gates Wide Open; or, Scenes in Another World (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1858; rev. ed. 1870); see National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Undoubtedly he became acquainted with Whitman through William and Ellen O'Connor. Ellen mentions a Mr. Wood in her letter of July 5, 1864. See also Wood's letter to Whitman dated "Thursday" probably [January 15, 1863] and Whitman's December 29, 1866, letter to Wood. [back]

2. Whitman described the Patent Office Hospital in the New York Times, February 26, 1863 (The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, 10 vols. [New York: GP Putnam's Sons, 1902], 7:82–84). [back]


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