Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Herbert Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 18 November 1885

Date: November 18, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02182

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 Herbert Gilchrist (Mrs G is Dying)," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray

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12. Well Road
Nov 19th

Dear Walt

I write just a line to tell you how seriously ill mother is. Her condition is critical. Four years ago our dear mother was attacked by cancer in the left breast....Her strength seems daily ebbing and her heart is very weak. Dr Ford Anderson says that she will never recover.2

We have no heart to say more.

Herbert H Gilchrist

Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | 328 Mickle Street | Camden, New Jersey. It is postmarked: LONDON, N.W. | 15 7 | NO19 | 85; NEW YORK | NOV | 28; PAID | J | ALL; CAMDEN, N.J. | NOV | 29 | 5 PM | 1885 | REC'D. [back]

2. Anne Gilchrist died on November 29, 1885. See Herbert's letter to Whitman of December 2, 1885. Anne Gilchrist's last letter to the poet was sent on July 20[back]


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