Life & Letters


About this Item

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

Date: January 12, 1863

Source: 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.

Location: Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00761

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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