Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 18 March [1878]

Date: March 18, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: hyb.00004

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, 1842–1957, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania; Library of Congress. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 3:111–112. 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, Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Anthony Dreesen, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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March 18 5 p m1

Dear Herby

I have just come up this afternoon from White Horse2—Friday & Saturday good outdoor days there—Have had a pretty severe attack of what appears to be (mostly) rheumatism in my right shoulder—more pain to me last night than I have before felt any time, I think, in my whole life—besides unnerved & generally clumsied more than usual3—Expect to come over to-morrow, Tuesday, to a 6½ supper, as usual—

No news particular with the Staffords—Mrs S, Ed, Harry & Debby,4 &c. well—Mr S. pretty well—

Saturday & Sunday lots of Company5—Am writing this in my 3d story room—where I shall remain in the evening & recuperate—

Walt Whitman

I enclose a slip from the Tribune6—may interest you—

Love to all—


1. The envelope for this letter bears the address: Herbert Gilchrist | 1929 North 22d Street | Philadelphia. It is postmarked: Camden | Mar | 18 | N.J.; Philad'a, Pa. | Mar | 18 | 10 PM | R(?). [back]

2. Whitman was at Kirkwood from March 15 to 17 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. From March 17 to 25 Whitman noted "much suffering from rheumatism & prostration" (Whitman's Commonplace Book); see also his letters to John Burroughs of March 21, 1878 and Herbert Gilchrist of March 23. Later he consulted Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. For more on the consultation, see Whitman's letter to Louisa Orr Whitman of April 13–14, 1878[back]

4. Mrs. Stafford's children, Edwin, Harry, and Deborah. [back]

5. Evidently the "Company" included Ben Pease, Will Fox, Will and Rachel Morgan, and Lizzie Hider (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

6. This may have been the account of "The American Water Color Society" in the New York Tribune of March 18, since Herbert undoubtedly was acquainted with some of the artists mentioned. [back]


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