Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles W. Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 26 July 1888

Date: July 26, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02026

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, "328 Mickle," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

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Los Angeles.
July 26. 18881

Dear Walt:

I was delighted this morning to see your handwriting on a package of papers. I infer from that that you are able to be up and have your bed made:—There have been alarming reports about your health in the papers, and I have hardly known what to think. I hope you will be with us many years yet—but I suppose it is vain to expect a complete restoration of bodily power.—I trust you may be fairly comfortable, and that I may see you once more in the flesh. The newspapers on this coast, especially the San Francisco Chronicle (the best of all) are very friendly to you and copy every thing that appears about you in the Eastern Press—I am still struggling to establish myself at the bar here: with fair prospect of success. The probablity is that I shall establish myself permanently here. This is bound to be a large city, and the metropolis of Southern California as San Francisco of the Northern Part of the State.—It is pretty warm here this month, but the nights are always cool and we sleep under a blanket always.—It is a much pleasanter summer climate than Philadelphia or Washington.

Yours Affectionately

Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903) was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who issued the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster, Major Lyman Hapgood. Eldridge helped Whitman gain employment in Hapgood's office. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | N.J. The return address is: From C.W. Eldridge, | Lawyer, 118 W. First St., | Los Angeles, Cal. | P.O. Box 17 [illegible]5. The letter is postmarked: Los Angeles, Ca | Jul 26 | 330 PM | 88; Camden N [illegible] | Aug | 8 | 6 [illegible] | [illegible] | [illegible]. The annotation "328 Mickle" is written at the bottom of the envelope. [back]


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