Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Ralph Waldo Emerson to Walt Whitman, 12 January 1863

Date: January 12, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00761

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 Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:66. 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, Eric Conrad, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

12 Jany 18631

Dear Sir,

I am very sorry to be so late with my reply to your note, which was received by me just on leaving home to go to Canada, & thence to some of your West N.Y. cities, a journey which has left me no leisure for writing notes to diplomatists, until today.2

If you wish to live in that least attractive (to me) of cities, I must think you can easily do so. Perhaps better in the journalism than in the Departments. You will see that I have dated my note from my known residence.3 With best hope,

R. W. Emerson

Walt Whitman, Esq.


1. Endorsed (by Walt Whitman): "R W Emerson | Jan '63."

The envelope for this letter bears the address: Walt Whitman, Esq. | Washington. [back]

2. At the time of this letter Emerson was on one of his lyceum tours; see Ralph L. Rusk, The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949), 418-419, and The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson 10 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964–95), 5:302. [back]

3. See Emerson's letters to Salmon P. Chase and William H. Seward from January 10, 1863. [back]


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