Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Ellen M. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 30 April 1889

Date: April 30, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02976

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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April 30. 1889.1

Wm.2 had a let up for nearly 48 hours, but the old trouble, vomiting,—in addition to all the others has come on again, & he is very weak, has to keep his bed the most of the time, & has had a bad day, I wish the weather had been finer for this great celebration.3 How are you?


N.


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 | MAY 1 | 8AM | D. C.; CAMDEN, N.J. | MAY 1 | 630 PM | 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. April 30, 1889, was a national holiday in celebration of the centennial of George Washington's inauguration as the first president. [back]


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