Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 13 May [1879]

Date: May 13, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: hyb.00013

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature; The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 3:154. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Kirsten Clawson

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1309 Fifth av: near 86th street
New York
May 13

Well, Hank, here I am yet—I went up to Esopus & had a real good time nearly two weeks—rode out somewhere every day—Came back here a week ago Saturday—I am writing a little for one of the papers here1—that's one thing keeps me—another is I may as well stay here, if they wish me to, & I like them & they me, which is the case—

Summer is upon us—I have been out in Central Park all the forenoon—It is beautiful as money can make it (but I would rather be down by the old creek)2—I suppose Herb is stopping with you at the present—I send him a paper—tell him I saw his mother and Giddy at the theatre last night—

Dear son, how are you getting along—& how are your dear father and mother?—how does the store go? Rec'd your letter & was glad to get it—Shall stay here perhaps a week longer yet—On the other side is an acc't of a great wrestling match here last night3 I thought might interest you—best love to you & all—

Your old friend


1. The New York Tribune. See the letters from Whitman to Whitelaw Reid of May 8, 1879 and May 12, 1879[back]

2. Whitman's remark here contrasts sharply with his idyllic account of Central Park published in the New York Tribune on May 24 (see Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 197–198). Note also the differences between his public and private accounts of St. Louis in his letter to Louisa Orr Whitman of October 11, 1879[back]

3. Whitman attached two accounts of a wrestling match between Professor William Miller and John McMahon, both of whom "belonged to the sect of muscular Christianity," as it was termed in the days before television. McMahon was the victor. [back]


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