Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Sidney H. Morse to Walt Whitman, [9 August 1879]

Date: August 9, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03156

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, "SH Morse," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Grace Thomas, Alicia Bones, Eder Jaramillo, Nicole Gray, Stefan Schöberlein, Elizabeth Lorang, Marie Ernster, and Amanda J. Axley

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Dear friend1

I've been "vacating", &c, &c,—down the harbor loafing. So your letter2 enclosing "phiz" that came some days ago was not attended to. Thanks for the presentment! A right fine looking fellow—but if he could cross the Rocky Mountains or go on a whaling voyage & get a touch of worldliness into him, he'd be all the better. You mustn't enjoy nature too much, but roll in the dirt & tear your britches. Ask your sister if this isn't so!

You must have had a sweltering time in Phila—or Camden—this last month—We have been fairly done brown some days.

It is 6 o.c. Sat. P.M. I'm tired & fidgety to get out of doors. Have been clearing up my studio, so I can feel a little decent on Sunday.

Did I write you I had moved?—my shiping apartments, I mean. I'm staying in one part of my studio for a few weeks. So direct all your letters here.

12 [Coast?] St. Room 11—

I send you a paper with report of Concord lecture.

If this letter goes tonight so you can get it Monday, I must go down town with it, when I get [illegible].

So goodbye. Have a good vacation—standing on [your?] head & drinking better milk!!!!!

Yours ever

Sidney H. Morse was a self-taught sculptor as well as a Unitarian minister and, from 1866 to 1872, editor of The Radical. He visited Whitman in Camden many times and made various busts of him. Whitman had commented on an early bust by Morse that it was "wretchedly bad." For more on this, see Ruth L. Bohan, Looking into Walt Whitman: American Art, 1850–1920 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006), 57–84.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | N.J. | 328 Mickle St. It is postmarked: PHILADELPHIA | SEP12 | 11 30AM | 87. CAMDEN. N.J. | SEP | 12 | 1PM | 8 [illegible] | REC'D. [back]

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


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