Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 6 August [1875]

Date: August 6, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01657

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 note: The annotation, "1875," 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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431 Stevens st.
cor West
N. Jersey.
Aug. 6.1

Dear Pete,
Dear, dear boy,

Still here, pulling through the summer (I think the winter is better for me)—the hot sunny days are worst for me, an extra bad strange feeling every day in the head, (the doctor thinks probably the result of an old sunstroke 20 years ago—now the brain liable to it again, in its sensitive condition)—otherwise not much different—bad enough though. I still go out a little—(most always feel at the best, for me, evenings, from sundown to 10.)

I still keep a little at work—there is a printing office here,2 where I am doing my work—they are young men of the right stripe, & very kind & considerate & respectful to me—fix every thing in type, proof, &c. just to suit me—I am leisurely preparing my new Volume,—Mr. Marvin, an Internal Revenue Clerk, a friend of mine, has stopt & paid me a visit on his return to Wash. Plenty of rain here—hot but pleasant to-day—What has become of Tasistro? Pete you havn't made that call on Mrs. O'C. yet. Come when you can, my darling boy.

Your loving old comrade & father
Walt W

papers &c came

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 second paragraph establishes the date. [back]

2. Two Rivulets was set up in the New Republic Print Shop in Camden. Probably the "Walt Whitman Club in Camden" to which the Springfield Republican of July 23 referred, if it actually existed, consisted of "mechanics" employed by the local newspaper. Joseph B. Marvin also referred to this "club" in The Radical Review 1 (1877), 238. Undoubtedly Whitman gave him a copy of the Republican during his visit. [back]


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