Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Ellen M. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 23 March 1889

Date: March 23, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02972

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



page image
image 1
page image
image 2


March 23d. 1889.1

Dear Walt,—

I hoped I should be able to send you good news to-day; but instead I have to tell you that William2 has had two epileptic attacks; one at 8.30 this A. M. & one at 10.30 Now, at 3 P.M., he is asleep & I hope may wake up better. It is very cruel to have him suffer so.

With love—
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 addresssed: Walt Whitman, | Camden, | New Jersey. It is postmarked: CAMDEN, N.J. | MAR | 24 | [1 PM?] | [1889?] | REC'D; WASHINGTON, D. C. | Mar 23 | 10 PM | [illegible] | [illegible].  [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]


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.