Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton, 20 June 1885

Date: June 20, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02332

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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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328 Mickle street
Camden New Jersey U S A1
June 20 1885

Dear old friend

If convenience helps I want to present two American girls, sisters, Mary Whitall and Alys Smith, of Quaker stock[,] special personal friends of mine—to you—They are traveling in Europe with their parents—Mary can tell you all about my perplexing self to latest dates2

Walt Whitman

To Lord Houghton

Richard Monckton Milnes (1809–1885), Lord Houghton, was an intimate of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) and William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863), as well as a poet. He was a collector of famous people; in Dictionary of National Biography he is characterized as "eminently a dilettante." Houghton wrote to Joaquin Miller on September 1, 1875, from Chicago: "Please give my best regards to Mr Whitman." On September 5, 1875, Miller informed Whitman that he was trying to arrange a meeting with Lord Houghton. Houghton himself wrote to Whitman on September 27, 1875, and proposed a visit at the end of October or early in November, and on November 3, 1875, he asked whether November 6 would be convenient. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906–1996), Thursday, June 21, 1888, 364, and Wednesday, September 12th, 1888, 310; In Re Walt Whitman (1893), ed. Horace L. Traubel, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Thomas B. Harned, 36; and Harold Blodgett, Walt Whitman in England (1934), 141–143.


1. This letter is addressed: "Lord Houghton." [back]

2. The Smiths sailed on June 24 and arrived in England on July 3. When Mary called on June 20 (Whitman's Commonplace Book), Whitman undoubtedly gave her this letter of introduction. [back]


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