Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Luther Munday to Walt Whitman, 14 December 1891

Date: December 14, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03099

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "[Give?] out the Ingersol telegram tonight. to [Jeffrey's?] & Patterson," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, Stephanie Blalock, and Brandon James O'Neil

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Dec 14

Walt Whitman Esq

Whilst declicacy of sentiment keeps one back, death may make one deeply regret the vacillation which it will decide, and this [illegible] will live on to regret its want of courage

Will you write on the enclosed sheet of paper a few words that I shall treasure—my cousin Hamilton Aïdé2 talked to me of you—& I have for years worshipped in distance reverence, that I cannot doubt that you will do me this little act on your part, bringing such pride & pleasure to me

Your devoted admirer
Luther Munday
Secretary of the Lyric Club
which is the London centre of social & artistic gatherings

George Luther Munday (1857–1922) was a theatre director and charity organizer born in Bath, England. An aristocrat of independent means, Munday devoted his time to the formation of clubs that promoted the humanities, including London's Lyric Club, a dramatic group. It was through the Lyric Club that Munday met playwright Oscar Wilde, for which friendship he is perhaps best remembered. Munday and his wife Mabel (1853–1946) were avid cyclists and early members of the Christian Science church in London. For more information, see Munday's memoir, A Chronicle of Friendships (London: F. A. Stokes, 1912).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | near Delaware R [illegible] | New Jersey | America. The city, "Camden," has been added in red ink to complete the address. The numbers 2, 29 (or 27), and 40 have been written on the recto of the envelope; both the numbers 2 and 40 have been crossed out, and the 29 (or 27) has been circled. The envelope is postmarked: COLLECT | POSTAGE | 16 CENTS; DEFICIENCY | IN | ADDRESS | SUPPLIED | BY | N.Y.P.O. [illegible] DIV; [illegible]ON | [illegible]; NEW YO | DEC 20 | 12 [illegible] | 91; N.Y. | B | 12-24 91; [illegible] | PM | 91 REC'D. [back]

2. Charles Hamilton Aïdé (1826–1906) was a poet, playwright, and novelist. He was born in Paris to a British mother and Armenian father. Aïdé studied at the University of Bonn in Germany and served in the British army. A lifelong bachelor, he lived with his mother until her death in 1875, when he moved to Queen Anne's Gate and became known for hosting salons attended by actors, literary figures, and members of the aristocracy. His novels include Rita: An Autobiography (1858), The Marstons (1868), and A Voyage of Discovery (1892). His poems were collected in several volumes, including Eleonore; And Other Poems (1856) and Songs Without Music (1882). For more information, see Jeffrey Richards, Sir Henry Irving: A Victorian Actor and his World (London: Hambledon and London, 2005), 167. [back]


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