Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Fred Vaughan to Walt Whitman, 21 March 1860

Date: March 21, 1860

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00567

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 Calamus Lovers: Walt Whitman's Working-Class Camerados, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1987), 42. 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, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Eric Conrad, and Nick Krauter

Your letter in answer to my note came to hand this a.m. I1 was glad to hear from you, Walt, and hope you will continue to write often while you stay in Boston. It will be a good way for you to pass some leisure time as I do not doubt you will have plenty of it on your hands.

Walt, I am glad, very glad, you have got things fairly squared. I do not care so much about the style the book comes out in. I want to see it out and have no doubt the style, writing, etc. will be no disgrace to Boston. You know I have always had a very high opinion of the people of the City of Nations.

I have not seen any of the folks up town, but they will undoubtedly be very glad of your success.

You are well of in Boston this weather, Walt. I cannot see across the streets. The dust is moving in a dense mass through the streets as dust in no other city but NY can move.—It is actually sickening.

I want you to look closely at the Municipal affairs of Boston, and comparing them with those of New York, give me the conclusion you arrive at regarding their respective good and bad qualities.—

If you want to form the acquaintance of any Boston Stage men, get on one of those stages running to Charlestown Bridge, or Chelsea Ferry, & enquire for Charley Hollis or Ed Morgan, mention my name, and introduce yourself as my friend.—2

I am obliged to you for your kind offer of sending me a few of the sheets in advance of Publication, and hope you will not forget it.—

Bob and I had quite a long walk together in Central Park late Sunday.3 We talked much of you, and in anticipation had some long strolls together in the Park this summer. It is a noble place, and Boston can no longer point exultingly to their common as the finest park in America.

By the way, what do you think of the common?

I must go out, good bye,


1. Fred Vaughan was a young Irish stage driver with whom Whitman had an intense relationship during the late 1850's. For discussion of Vaughan's relationship with Whitman, see Jonathan Ned Katz, Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 123–132; Charley Shively, Calamus Lovers: Walt Whitman's Working-Class Camerados (San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1987), 36–50; Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work, "Chapter 4: Intimate Script and the New American Bible: "Calamus" and the Making of the 1860 Leaves of Grass." [back]

2. The Boston, Massachusetts 1860 City Directory lists Edward Morgan of 928 Washington Street as a "driver." Charles I. Hollis of 30 West Brookline Street is also listed as a "driver." The Boston Daily Atlas reported on December 26, 1853, that "Charles Hollis, omnibus driver, was charged with assaulting George Brown, another driver, with his whip. Hollis acknowledged the offence, and Justice Russell sentenced him to pay a fine of $30 and costs, and if the same be not paid within twenty-four hours, then to be imprisoned in the common jail for three months; also to give bonds in $200 to keep the peace and be of good behavior for the term of six months." On November 18, 1854, the Atlas reported that Charles Hollis "was held in $200 for trial" for "striking a man named Wilson with a whip." [back]

3. Robert "Bob" Cooper was Vaughan's roommate after Vaughan moved out of Whitman's Classon Avenue apartment. [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.