Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, [1874?]

Date: 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01651

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," and "Aug. 29–1874," 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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Friday afternoon.1

Dear Pete,

I still remain about the same, & with nothing to write about in the way of my improvement, or any thing else—but I thought you would want to have a word. Your letter of last Sunday came all right. The paper has also come. I am no worse—& continue to live on hope—fortunately I have been stocked with a good plentiful share of it. It is pleasant weather here, though hot—we have frequent rains—We have had one to-day, about an hour ago, but now it is very bright and pleasant—I am going to try to get out a little—

So good bye for this time, dear son—I hope to write more of a letter next time.


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. The date given to this letter by the executors, August 29, is incorrect, since it fell on Saturday in 1874. The letter could have been written at any time during the warm months. [back]


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