Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Cora L. V. Tappan, 5 May 1871

Date: May 5, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01693

Source: The Library of Congress. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:120–121. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Washington, D. C.,
May 5, 1871.

My Dear Madam and Friend:1

I was expecting to visit New York early this month, and intended to call and thank you for your beautiful and valued gift of Hesperia—but finding I shall not go now for two or three weeks, I write to acknowledge the receipt of the poem and to say that when I come on, I shall personally call and pay my respects.

Walt Whitman


1. Walt Whitman was acquainted with Cora Tappan (then Cora Hatch) in 1857. He mentioned her in his June 20, 1857 letter to Sarah Tyndale; see Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:42–44. Tappan, born in 1840 in Cuba, New York, was a medium. At age ten, as she sat with slate and pencil in hand, "she lost external consciousness, and on awaking she found her slate covered with writing." At fourteen she was a public speaker, and at sixteen married Dr. B. F. Hatch, who published and wrote an introduction to her Discourses on Religion, Morals, Philosophy, and Metaphysics (1858). In 1871, now Cora Tappan, she published a collection of poems entitled Hesperia; the section "Laus Natura" was dedicated to "Walt Whitman, the Poet of Nature." See also Emma Hardinge, Modern American Spiritualism (New York, 1870), 149. [back]


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