Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 27 February [1874]

Date: February 27, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01642

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.

Editorial notes: The annotations, "1874 or 5," and "74?," are 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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431 Stevens st.
cor. West.
N. Jersey
Feb. 27.

Dear son,

Nothing very different or new with me—I have had rather a hard week, (continued from the former one,)—but still I dont get get flat—am often thankful to be as well as I am—I rec'd your letter & paper—

—We too have had the same snow-storm I see you have had in Washington—it is bright & sunny to-day here, though middling cool—I am sitting here in the parlor alone—it is about 10—I have had my breakfast—I amuse myself by seeing the locomotives, & trains go by—I see them very plainly out of the back window—they are only 7 or 800 feet off—they go by constantly—often one right after another—I have got used to them & like them—

—Did you see my last pieces in the Weekly Graphic?1—(the sixth paper, just out, is the last)—I sent you a couple of Phil papers yesterday—I was glad you wrote me about Wash Peddrick2—I have not heard from him in a long time—(he did me a good turn once in the office, just out of good will, & I shall never forget it)—Pete write whoever you see, & about any thing in Washington—I met a young man here from Washington last night, Wm Colein,3 an engineer in the fire room Treasury—Love to Mrs. & Mr. Nash—& to Parker & Wash Milburn—& in short to all my friends—

Your old

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. "'Tis But Ten Years Since." [back]

2. W. F. Peddrick, a clerk in the Attorney General's office. [back]

3. Mentioned in an address book (The Library of Congress, Notebook #108): "(took me around through the vaults, &c)." [back]


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