Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 9 May 1873

Date: May 9, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00473

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), 169. 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
May 9th 1873

My dear Walt

I received your letter and I do not think you can form an idea how very badly I feel to hear that you are not recovering faster.1 I do so sincerely hope that you are right in your theory that the slow recovery indicates permanency—I hope to God, my dear Brother that you may permanently recover—

Not much new with me—I have had several outside jobs lately that will pay me I think in time but so far they are only sources of investment

How do you get along on money matters? do not fail to let me know if you have any prospect of being short  I read with much regret mother's statement about the eating at George's,2  it does seem too bad that with every chance to make things good and happy they should fail so completely on so small a cause. I hope you may carry out your idea of getting a little place in Washington and have Mother live there  It would be happiness indeed for her, and for you too for that matter

I cannot understand how it is that Loo is so stingy nor how it is that George does not correct it3—I would suppose he would (and naturally he is so) prevent it at once

Hattie wrote you a few days ago—I hope you have it ere this

Write me when you can and let me know if you are in want of a little money

Affectionately Jeff


1. Walt Whitman's letter of about May 8 is not extant. [back]

2. On April 21, 1873, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman commented to Walt Whitman that the George Whitman household would be eating a "not very good" piece of beef every day from Sunday "till wensday or thursday." Recognizing that her health was failing and that her appetite was poor, she expressed a desire for something other than "the regular fare" (May 1, 1873 [Trent Collection, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University]). [back]

3. A model of thrift herself, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman complained frequently of the penny-saving ways of George's wife. [back]


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