Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Burroughs to Walt Whitman, 28 June 1864

Date: June 28, 1864

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00850

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. 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, Vanessa Steinroetter, Luke Hollis, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Heidi Bean, and Nicole Gray

page image
image 1

Olive N.Y.
June 28th

Dear Walt

It was my purpose to write to you while home, but ill health prevented me from fulfilling half my plans. I1 am much better now but by no means well. The Comptroller has given me another week of grace in which time I hope to get well. I have just recd a letter from Benton saying I must come and see him and bring you with me.2 This is why I am writing. Can you not come. If you are in N.Y. surely you can. Benton would be delighted; so should I. I shall leave go to Benton next Saturday and stay till Wednesday. If you could not come till Monday or Tuesday even, do so. From N.Y. you will take the Harlem R.R. to Amenia, Dutches Co. Benton lives about a mile from there and keeps the Leedsville P.O. If you should write direct to Leedsville N.Y. With much love

I am yours truly
John Burroughs


1. John Burroughs (1837–1921) first met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864, even though Burroughs had frequented Pfaff's beer cellar, where he consistently defended Whitman's poetry, in 1862. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a lifelong correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Birds and Poets, (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1877), Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person (New York: American News Company, 1867), Whitman, A Study (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1896), and Accepting the Universe (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920). For more information on John Burroughs see Burroughs, John [1837-1921] and Ursula [1836-1917][back]

2. Joel Benton, one of Burrough's friends, was a poet and a reviewer. [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.