Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John H. Johnston, 27 March 1884

Date: March 27, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02563

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, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray

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328 Mickle Street Camden1
New Jersey
March 27 1884

Letter2 and the One Hundred recd3—Thanks—(comes very acceptable)—I am moving in—in two or three days I will have the Carpenter box the picture properly—& will send it—I am feeling pretty fair.


John H. Johnston (1837–1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Whitman. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, August 14, 1888). Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: "I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, October 3, 1888). See also Johnston's letter about Whitman, printed in Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 149–174. For more on Johnston, see Susan L. Roberson, "Johnston, John H. (1837–1919) and Alma Calder," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed: J H Johnston | Jeweler | 150 Bowery cor Broome | New York City. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | MAR | 27 | 12 AM | 1884 | N.J.; P.O. | 3-27-84 | 5 | N.Y.; [illegible] | 3-27-84 | [illegible] | N. [illegible]. [back]

2. The letter Whitman is referring to is from March 25, 1884[back]

3. Johnston visited Whitman shortly before he moved to Mickle Street and that time arranged to purchase Charles Hine's portrait of the poet for $200. On March 25 Johnston sent $100 (see the letter of March 25, 1884). On August 10 Whitman noted receipt of an additional $25 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). (There is a check from Johnston for this amount, dated July 2, 1884, however, in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.) For Johnston's other payments see also the letters from Whitman to Johnston of November 18, 1884 and December 28, 1884[back]


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