Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Kate A. Evans to Walt Whitman, 2 August 1877

Date: August 2, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02008

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, "from the Californian Kate Evans (? rather gushing)," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Vince Moran, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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Low Gap. Mendocino Co.,
Aug. 2. 18771

Walt Whitman
My beloved.2

A pioneer in the redwood forest salutes you, greets you with love sincerest and best. embraces you with her whole being, as the one chief among men and altogether lovely.

"This is no book
Who touches this, touches a man"

I feel it. I know it.

Nothing that I ever read so filled me with joy and gladness

Sitting solitary in the forest, bathed in the warm sunlight with the cool breeze whispering to me, I know that we are akin and am thankful. I take the kiss you give. I know it was especially for me

You will take my kisses and love as from me that knows you and can never forget you

I have received so much that I must make some return be it ever so little.

John Burroughs3 more than any one that I know, fitly expresses my thought of you. I love him for it.

I have never met any one that seemed to have the faintest understanding of you so I keep you all to myself locked in my heart of hearts.

Kate A. Evans.


1. The envelope for the letter bears the address: Walt Whitman, | Camden, | New Jersey. It is postmarked: UKIAH | AUG | 4 | 1877 | CAL. [back]

2. No additional information is available about Kate A. Evans. Edwin Haviland Miller calls her "a gushing admirer" (Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, [New York: New York University Press], 3:442). [back]

3. The naturalist John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a decades-long correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person (1867), Birds and Poets (1877), Whitman, A Study (1896), and Accepting the Universe (1924). For more on Whitman's relationship with Burroughs, see Carmine Sarracino, "Burroughs, John [1837–1921] and Ursula [1836–1917]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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