Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Joseph B. Marvin, 15 October [1874]

Date: October 15, [1874]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03135

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: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Alex Kinnaman, Marie Ernster, Noelle Bates, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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431 Stevens st.
cor West.
N. Jersey.
Oct. 15.

My dear Marvin,

Your letter of 13th has reached me.1 Thanks to you—& thanks & best remembrances to your wife2—for the kind invitation in it. I shall probably accept it for a few days, as I want to visit Washington soon as I am well enough. I should have made my visit the current week, but one of my bad spells has intervened3—will write to you before I come—I still linger along here in the same tedious baffling way—still hope to get well—but still don't get well.

Walt Whitman

Joseph B. Marvin, a friend and an admirer of Whitman's poetry, was from 1866 to 1867 the co-editor of the Radical. He was then appointed as a clerk in the Treasury Department in Washington, on behalf of which he took a trip to London in the late fall of 1875. On October 19, 1875, Whitman wrote a letter to William Michael Rossetti to announce a visit from Marvin. Rossetti gave a dinner for Marvin, which was attended by the following "good Whitmanites": Anne Gilchrist; Joseph Knight, editor of the London Sunday Times; Justin McCarthy, a novelist and writer for the London Daily News; Edmund Gosse; and Rossetti's father-in-law, Ford Madox Brown.


1. This letter has not been located. [back]

2. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

3. In January 1873, Whitman suffered a paralytic stroke that made walking difficult. He first reported it in his January 26, 1873, letter to his mother, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (1795–1873), and continued to provide regular notes on his condition. By mid-March Whitman was taking brief walks out to the street and began to hope that he could resume work in the office. See also his March 21, 1873, letter to his mother. [back]


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