Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas Donaldson to Walt Whitman, 22 April 1891

Date: April 22, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01484

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, "see note Aug 6 1891," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Ethan Heusser, Cristin Noonan, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Washington D.C.1
April 22–1891.

My old friend—

I have been away from home a great deal and have not had time to come over when at home. I think of you often and wonder if I can be of any service to you—all you have to do is to "rub the lamp" and we will answer Are we in our usual health?—Do you need anything? Would some good whiskey help out!

You know myself and family are only too glad to serve you! Drop me at note to Phil at 326. N. 39 st.—old address, and let us know how you are—and what you need for your comfort.

Always yours
Thomas Donaldson

I am working on a new Indian book! I don't want you to forget to make some notes on the Catlin Book2

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. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Washington D.C. | APR 22 | 11PM | 1891, Camden, N.J. | Apr | 23 | 6 AM | 1891 | Rec'd. The envelope includes the printed return address of Donaldson's hotel: The Belvedere | Cor. Penn. Ave. & 3rd St., N.W., Washington, D. C. [back]

2. Donaldson was the author of several government document publications on Native Americans including a report on the work of George Catlin, an artist who lived among Native Americans in the nineteenth-century and specialized in depicting Native Americans in the Old West. [back]


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