Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Ellen M. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 24 April 1889

Date: April 24, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02975

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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1015 O St.
Ap'l. 24,1

Wm.2 has been very sick & weak since I wrote you; able to sit up but little & "throwing up" at all times of day & night. He is at this moment, 11 A. M., sleeping,— after a fairly good night. Your package of papers came to-day & postal card yesterday.3 Hope you are able to enjoy the fine weather.


E. M. 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 | APR 24| 4PM | D.C.; CAMDEN, N.J. | APR 25 | 6AM | 1889 | 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]

3. O'Connor is likely referring to Whitman's letter to William D. O'Connor of April 22, 1889[back]


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