Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 5 November [1875]

Date: November 5, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01677

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, "1877," 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,
Nov. 5.1

Dear Son,

I think I shall try to come on to Wash next Monday, in the noon train from here, W. Phil (limited Express)—Am feeling about the same—(bad enough at times—but sort o' getting used to it.)


As I understand it, the train I speak of goes in to your Depot, 6th st.—must get in some time before dark—2

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 executors dated this letter 1877. However, November 8 was on Monday in 1875 (see the letter from Whitman to Doyle of November 3, 1875). On November 3 Whitman had promised Doyle definite word about his plans by Saturday; this letter was sent on Friday, November 5. [back]

2. Doyle replied on November 7 that he would meet Whitman at the depot on the following day, and that Mr. and Mrs. Nash "told me to tell you to come on and they would do the best they Could to make your Visit pleasant." [back]


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