Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 15–[16] July [1873]

Date: July 15–16, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01744

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.

Editorial notes: The annotations, "1873," and "1873 or '4," are in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, and Nicole Gray

page image
image 1
page image
image 2
page image
image 3
page image
image 4

Tuesday afternoon
July 15.

Dear Pete,

There is nothing new or different with me—I am no better in any respect—don't know what is going to come out of it all—We are having pretty hot weather here just now, but it does not affect me much—it is not near as oppressive here as the Washington heat—I rec'd your letter my dear son—with the paper—I will write more to-morrow—

Wednesday afternoon.

Pete I have little to write to you about, as I remain anchored here in the house nearly all the time. As I write I am sitting in my mother's former room, in her old arm chair—Spend a great deal of my time here, as I haven't felt like going out lately—half a block tires me. Pete, my darling son, I still think I shall weather it, but time only can show—

—Mother's death is on my mind yet—time does not lift the cloud from me at all

—I want much to get to the sea-shore, either Long Island or the Jersey coast, & shall make a start if I get strong enough—It is not so hot here to-day.

So long my darling boy.

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).


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.