Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Isabella A. White to Walt Whitman, 6 October 1874

Date: October 6, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01984

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 note: The annotation, "Mrs. White Oct. 74," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Kevin McMullen, John Schwaninger, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, Noelle Bates, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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535, 15th St Wash1
Oct 6th/74

Mr. Whitman
Dear Sir

I regret very much that I am obliged to write to you again, but as I am very much in need of some money just as soon as possible I thought perhaps you would be willing to settle up your bill if you do you will greatly oblige me we have nearly two hundred & fifty dollars besides the regular expenses to pay within the next twenty days so you will see that we will need all that we can make or get that is due us. Your bill was up to the first of August thirty eight dollars ($38.00) I am willing to give you ten dollars ($10.00) for the things which I took from you that is nearly as much as they would cost if new and as much as they are worth to me. Then you will still owe twenty eight ($28.00) which if you could let me have this week will be a great favor—

Of course I will not charge you for keeping your things since, but would be glad if you would have them removed soon

Yours Respectfully
Mrs Isabella A White

Whitman stayed with Dr. George A. White, a chiropodist, and his wife Isabella A. White from March 1, 1871, until Whitman left Washington following his stroke in 1873. Whitman had paid $236 in rent through June 10, 1873. On November 28, 1873, Dr. White acknowledged for his wife receipt of $28 "on account . . . for rent of room etc from May 1st/73." Whitman gave up one room at the Whites' on June 10, 1873: "Kept the other at $2.50 a month" ("Payments to Dr. and Mrs. White," Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman Papers, 1842–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, ed. Edward F. Grier [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:942). Isabella White had written, evidently early in July, about the rent due for his room; Whitman's reply is not extant. In her letter of July 29, 1874, she offered to purchase Whitman's bedstead and certain other effects. Whitman had not settled his account by the time White wrote this letter and offered him a credit of $10 for his furnishings against a balance of $38. See also Whitman's July 10, 1874, letter to Peter Doyle, in which Whitman left instructions for the delivery of his boxes from the Whites.


1. This letter is addressed: Mr. W. Whitman | 431. Stevens St | Camden | N J. It is postmarked: Washington | [illegible]. [back]


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