Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John R. Johnston, 20 June [1877]

Date: June 20, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02582

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: Alicia Bones, Anthony Dreesen, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, and Kenneth Price

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1929 north 22d Street
June 20

Dear boy Jack,1

I thought of coming round to see you all last Sunday, but it was so hot & I didn't get over to Camden—didn't feel like walking up from the ferry—Jack I am stopping up here in 22d street for a week or two—they are very kind to me, & very jovial & we have real good times—the young man, about 21,2 he & I are very thick—then there are two grown daughters—the eldest one is a first class trump, she is my favorite every way—she is studying at the woman's Medical University here—the mother Mrs Gilchrist, is a very fine lady,—we have good meals, & take our time over them—I have the best room in the house, breezy & cool (& the water in it)—& a young English college Professor, Mr Carpenter, is staying here for a few days—though a stranger he is a great friend of mine & indeed has come over from England to see me—(But I have written enough of all that—

Dear Jack I wonder if I shall ever be with you, or rather have you with me, so that we can have some good times together on land or water—I used to think of having a shanty of my own there in Camden, & I thought I shouldn't be satisfied without having you & Ida up there to take supper with me two evenings in the week at least—I wonder if it is ever coming to pass— Mean time I shall come around next Sunday, if you are all at home—Tell Ida to put her hair in curl papers Saturday night—& though I do not wish the fatted calf slaughtered on Sunday morning—I hope there will be some spear mint ready to pull in the garden—Johnny how does it go with you?—Love to mother & father & tell 'em I'm coming round next Sunday—Here is a kiss for you, Jack, & take care of yourself, & don't forget your loving friend

Old W W


1. According to Walt Whitman's notation on Jack Johnston's calling card, the young man was employed about this time by A. R. McCown & Co., a hosiery store in Philadelphia (see the letter from Walt Whitman to John R. Johnston, Jr. of February 18, 1878). Later he was employed by Ziegler & Swearingen, sellers of notions in Philadelphia (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). In Jack's autograph book Whitman wrote in 1875: "In memory of the good times, Sunday evenings, in Penn street, 1875, '4, & 3." On January 18, 1880, he wrote again: "Good times, Sunday Evenings, continued, '76, '77, '78, '79, &c. W W" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist. [back]


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