Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Donaldson, 14 August 1888

Date: August 14, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01479

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "Written Aug 11/88 T.D. by Walt Whitman," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Caterina Bernardini, Ashlyn Stewart, and Stephanie Blalock

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Tuesday Evng. Aug: 14—'88

Dear TD—

Am here yet in the sick room—the Doctor thinks it best not to go yet—have had no set back—but remain horribly weak in legs & body—(sometimes wonder whether that would remain for settled)—Thanks for the Catlin1—it is an inexhaustable mine

Walt Whitman

Thomas Donaldson (1843–1898) was a lawyer from Philadelphia and a friend of Whitman. He introduced Whitman to Bram Stoker and later accompanied Stoker when he visited the poet; he also organized a fund-raising drive to buy Whitman a horse and carriage. He authored a biography of Whitman titled Walt Whitman, the Man (1896). For more information about Donaldson, see Steven Schroeder, "Donaldson, Thomas (1843–1898)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Donaldson's letter to Whitman does not seem to be extant, but this appears to be a reference to a book by George Catlin (1796–1872), an artist who focused on portraying Native Americans in the Old West. Whitman famously kept a portrait of Osceola by Catlin on his wall. [back]


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