Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 19 January [1874]

Date: January 19, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01636

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 notes: The annotations, "1874," "1874 or '5," and "1874," are in an unknown hand.

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

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431 Stevens st
cor West.
Camden, N. Jersey
Jan. 19.
Monday noon

Dear loving Son,

I rec'd your letter this forenoon. Pete I thought I would send you a little change enclosed—all I have by me to-day—(but I have plenty at my command)—It is wet & foggy to-day, and a glaze of ice everywhere—so I am compelled to remain in. I am feeling decidedly better the last 24 hours—Am surely getting through the winter very well—guess I shall come out with the frogs & lilacs in the spring—I keep a bully good heart, take it altogether—& you must too my darling boy.


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).


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