Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John H. Johnston, 12 February 1887

Date: February 12, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02566

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, "Feb. 14, 1887," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Alex Ashland, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
Sunday noon
Feb 12 '87

Still here in the land of the living—in pretty good heart most of the time & comfortable enough, but horribly crippled & banged up—Spirit moved me to write you a line & send my love to Alma2 and Al3 and all—I am just going out for an hour's midday drive.

Walt Whitman

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 | Feb | [illegible] | [illegible] | [illegible]; PO | 2-13-87 | 12PM; A | 2-14-87 | 5- [illegible] [back]

2. Alma Calder Johnston was an author and the second wife of John H. Johnston. [back]

3. Albert Johnston was the son of John H. Johnston. [back]


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