Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 2 September 1888

Date: September 2, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01379

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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock



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Camden, NJ America
Sunday Evng Sept: 2 '881

Your good letter just rec'd2 & here I am sending word back—still imprisoned in my sick room—non-rehabilitated yet but middling well for all that—my booklet November Boughs3 ab't finish'd—& a large vol. comprising all my stuff begun4—I am here just at sunset—Love to you all old & young—I sufficiently comfortable


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." For more information about Costelloe, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Mary W. Costelloe | Llwynbarried House | Rhayader | Wales | via London | England. It is postmarked: Camden | Sep 3 | 6 AM | 88. A second Camden postmark is illegible. [back]

2. Mary Smith Costelloe had written to Whitman from Wales on August 21, 1888. [back]

3. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

4. Whitman wanted to publish a "big book" that included all of his writings, and, with the help of Horace Traubel, he made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. The book was published in December 1888. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom's Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary. [back]


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