Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Donaldson to Walt Whitman, 15 September 1889

Date: September 15, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01482

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

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Breanna Himschoot, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

page image
image 1
page image
image 2
page image
image 3
page image
image 4
page image
image 5
page image
image 6

No 326. N. 40th St.
Phil Pa
Sept 15 89

My Dear Walt Whitman

I met with a dreadful accident several weeks ago, and so could not call on you or attend to your matter.1 The money is in Drexels Bank, and as soon as I can go to town I will have it sent to you—I write this with my left hand as my right arm is useless.

$50.00 of the money is from Henry Irving2 and $25.00 from Bram Stoker3—I want you to write me a separate acknowledgment for each, after you receive the money.

I hope you are fairly well.

Your friend
Thos Donaldson.

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. The British actor Henry Irving (1838–1905) and Bram Stoker (1847–1912), who would later author the novel Dracula (1897), sent gifts of $50 and $25, respectively, to Whitman through Donaldson; see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, June 7, 1889. Donaldson informed Whitman on September 15, 1889, that he had deposited the sum and would bring a check to Camden. Whitman received the money on October 1, 1889 (The Commonplace-Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.), and sent receipts to Donaldson through Edward Wilkins, Whitman's nurse, on October 16, 1889 (Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: Francis P. Harper, 1896], 98). [back]

2. Sir Henry Irving (1838–1905), British actor and ad hoc manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London. [back]

3. Abraham ("Bram") Stoker (1847–1912) was the author of Dracula, secretary to Sir Henry Irving, and editor of Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906). As a young man, on February 18, 1872, Stoker wrote a personal, eccentric letter to Walt Whitman, which he did not send until February 14, 1876 (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, February 19, 1889). In the earlier letter he had written: "How sweet a thing it is for a strong healthy man with a woman's eyes and a child's wishes to feel that he can speak so to a man [Walt Whitman] who can be if he wishes, father, and brother and wife to his soul" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection; Horace Traubel, ed., With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, May 15, 1889). Stoker visited Whitman in 1884 (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer (1955), 516). [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.