Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 11 September 1865

Date: September 11, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00441

Source: 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 Thomas Jefferson Whitman, Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth M. Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), 115-116. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, and April Lambert

Brooklyn, N. Y.,
Sept. 11th 1865

Dear brother Walt—

I received your letter last Friday1—I should have sent the bundle before but Mother told me that you said you was coming home2 and we have been expecting to see you all the last week  Mother left last Monday—we had a letter from her the next Wednesday—she arrived all right—found Han better than she expected she says3  I have been suffering since Friday with a "run-around" on my middle finger  I have been unable to do anything for the last three days—and seems to me I never suffered so much pain before in so short a time—I send the bundle this morning by Wescotts express—you must forgive me for not attending to it before—I should have done so had not Mother told me you was coming home  And Walt why dont you come home  we would be glad to see you and I think you would enjoy a visit home just now—come and make us a visit—George has started in his building business4—he is in hopes of getting a pretty large job in New York—will know to-day—Mr Lane5 offered him a first rate berth—he thought at first he would take it but afterwards declined—perhaps he did better in going on with his venture—

Everything is going the same all rosey—we hope you will come on and see us—I am in a great hurry this morning—or would write longer

affectionately Jeff


1. Whitman's letter of about September 8, 1865, is not extant. [back]

2. Whitman took roughly "a month's furlough" in Brooklyn from early October to November 7, 1865 (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 1:267, n. 57). [back]

3. On September 4, 1865, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman travelled to Burlington, Vermont, to visit Hannah and Charles Heyde. Mrs. Whitman was pleased to see that Hannah was in good health and had plenty to eat, but she found it "the greatest be pleasant" to Charles (see Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Walt Whitman, September 11, 1865 [Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Books, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library]). [back]

4. After the war George entered the speculative building business with a man named Smith. In September 1865 George hoped to construct an office building in New York City but lost the contract because, as he explained to his mother, "The architect was in favor of the new york bosses" (Jerome M. Loving, ed., Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman [Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975], 27–28). [back]

5. See Jeff's letter to Walt from January 13, 1863[back]


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