Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, [7 March 1872]

Date: March 7, 1872

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01543

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, "received March 8th 72," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Alex Kinnaman, and Nicole Gray

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Thursday forenoon.

March 7–18722

Dear son,

Well I am still here Pete, kept in pretty close quarters by the weather—but it seems to be something of a let up this morning—There is nothing special to write about—but I thought I would send you a line this morning. I sent you a letter two days ago with $10—(the second 10 I have sent) Write me whether you rec'd it all right. I hope you are not discouraged by the way things work on the road—It wont be very long, now before I shall be back with you—Give my love to Mr. & Mrs. Nash—tell Wash Milburne I wish him success in the "graduate of Pharmacy" line, & every thing else—give him my love

Pete, I believe that is all this time, dear baby,

with a kiss from your loving father—

Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle was a conductor in the horsecar where the forty-five-year-old Whitman was a passenger. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Peter Doyle | Conductor | Office | Wash. & Georgetown City RR. | Washington, | D. C. It is postmarked: New York | Mar | 7 | 6 P.M. [back]

2. This note is written in red pencil. The date of this letter is also established by the reference to the $10 sent on March 5. [back]


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