Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 7 February 1873

Date: February 7, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00461

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), 154-155. 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, Kathryn Kruger, and April Lambert

St. Louis,
Feb 7th 1873

My dear Mother

I wrote you a few days ago apprising you as to Mattie's health  I do not see that there is any change since then—if any she is somewhat easier—that is these terrible fits of coughing and choking do not come so often—yet when they do come I hardly expect her to come out of them

The weather has been exceedingly pleasant here for four or five days now and I have had Mattie out in the buggy for about an hour each day—this seems to do her more good than anything else

To-day, if I can arrange it I intend to take her to a photograph gallery to have another picture taken

She speaks often and much about you—and wants to see you very, very much—I suppose you would hardly dare undertake the journey—and it would be impossible for me to leave her to come for you—of course I would arrange all the money matters if you could come—I suppose you know how the coming would be—you would take a "section" in one of the through sleeping cars—you would be abt 40 hours on the car—this car would bring you to East St. Louis—where I would meet you—here we would take a carriage that would take you to the house—Of course I can understand that you may not feel able for the journey—but I feel positive that if you once did get here you would feel better than you do1

I will write you as soon as I can again  Love to George and Loo and Eddy—I hope you are feeling pretty well dear Mother

affectionately Jeff


1. Despite Louisa Van Velsor Whitman's own failing health, this letter made her seriously consider making the trip to St. Louis. She wrote Helen Price that Mattie "seems to have such a wish to see me and walt i am going to try to go if i think i can any way stand the journey" (February 12, 1873 [The Pierpont Morgan Library]). [back]


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