Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Ellen M. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 20 March 1889

Date: March 20, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02970

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.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Caterina Bernardini, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock



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March 20. 1889.1

I am sorry that I can't give you a good report of Wm.2 but he has had two bad nights, & a bad day, vomiting, & very weak. Night before last I hardly slept any, & as a consequence am not able to use my eyes next day. Tho' we have a man now, he does not get a chance to do much if I am about, as I am preferred. I wish I could do all. I do nearly all. I hope you are better. All cards welcome


N. O'C.


Correspondent:
Ellen M. "Nelly" O'Connor was the wife of William D. O'Connor (1832–1889), one of Whitman's staunchest defenders. Whitman dined with the O'Connors frequently during his Washington years. Though Whitman and William O'Connor would temporarily break off their friendship in late 1872 over Reconstruction policies with regard to emancipated black citizens, Ellen would remain friendly with Whitman. The correspondence between Whitman and Ellen is almost as voluminous as the poet's correspondence with William. For more on Whitman's relationship with the O'Connors, see Dashae E. Lott, "William Douglas O'Connor," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman, | Camden, | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Washington | Mar 20 | [illegible]PM | 89; Camden, N. J. | March 21 | [illegible]AM | [illegible] | Rec'd [back]

2. William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet "The Good Gray Poet," published in 1866 (a digital version of the pamphlet is available at "The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication"). For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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