Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Horace Howard Furness, 26 January 1881

Date: January 26, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02114

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, "Walt Whitman 26 Jany 1881," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Eder Jaramillo, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Amanda J. Axley, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

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431 Stevens Street
Jan: 26 '81

My dear friend

I am sorry to have to send you word that I am not feeling in good trim at all to-day, & shall be unable to meet you & the other friends at dinner—I send you herewith a couple of pictures (I call it my Quaker picture)1—one is for your father2—also the books herewith—also my love to you—

Walt Whitman

Horace Furness (1833–1912) was the distinguished editor of the Variorum Shakespeare. Furness met Whitman in 1879, and Furness was one of the honorary pallbearers at Whitman's funeral. In "Personal Recollections of Walt Whitman," William R. Thayer, in discussing Whitman's slyness in money matters, stated that for the last six or eight years of the poet's life George W. Childs and Furness subscribed "an annual sum," and paid a young man to act as his driver and valet (Scribner's Magazine 65 [1919], 685).


1. Whitman is likely referring to this photo taken by William Kurtz. [back]

2. Reverend Doctor William Henry Furness (1802–1896) was a close friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Unitarian minister at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, and a prominent and committed abolitionist. [back]


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