Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Burroughs to Walt Whitman, 2 June 1873

Date: June 2, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01122

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: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Alex Kinnaman, Beverley Rilett, and Kevin McMullen

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Middletown N.Y.
June 2d 73

Dear Walt,

I got the Camden paper this morning containing the notice of your mothers death. I had heard through Eldridge a few days ago that all was over with her. I suppose it was not unexpected to you yet for all that the blow must have been a heavy one to all her children and doubly so to yourself. I should like to hear from you the particulars of her last days. I wish I might have seen her again. If you are able to write do drop me a line & tell me about yourself & what your plans are for the summer. I hope you do not think of returning to W. before fall. I go to N. Y. to-morrow for a few days. While there a letter addressed to me care of George Bliss Jr. W. S. Atty, 41 Chambers St. will reach me. If you can come North & spend some time with me I should be delighted. I am going out on L. I. to look at a place for sale, Yaphank on Carmans River. Do you know the country out there?

My nephew, Chancy B. is with me for a few days but leaves to-morrow; so does Sulic for Kingston. They both speak affectionately of you & are much concerned on your account.

The lilacs are in their prime here, but the season is getting dry.

With much love.
Ever Yours
John Burroughs

The naturalist John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a decades-long 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: Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person (1867), Birds and Poets (1877), Whitman, A Study (1896), and Accepting the Universe (1924). For more on Whitman's relationship with Burroughs, see Carmine Sarracino, "Burroughs, John [1837–1921] and Ursula [1836–1917]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


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