Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Silas Weir Mitchell to Walt Whitman, 15 December 1889

Date: December 15, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03249

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, Breanna Himschoot, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock



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1524 Walnut Street
Philadelphia1

My Dear good gray Poet—

Ever since I bought the first edition of Leaves of grass we have been friends through your books—I warmly thank you for this precious memorial of a man whose life work & example are better even than his books

and I am
gratefully
yr. friend
Weir Mitchell

Walt. Whitman
Dec 15, 1889


Correspondent:
Dr. S. (Silas) Weir Mitchell (1829–1914) was a specialist in nervous disorders as well as a poet and a novelist. On April 18, 1878, Whitman had his second interview with Dr. Mitchell, who attributed his earlier paralysis to a small rupture of a blood vessel in the brain but termed Whitman's heart "normal and healthy." Whitman also noted that "the bad spells [Mitchell] tho't recurrences by habit (? sort of automatic)" (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Mitchell was the first physician to indicate the psychosomatic nature of many of Whitman's ailments.

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esq | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: PHILADELPHIA | DEC16 | 7 PM | 89, CAMDEN, N.J. | DEC | 17 | 6AM | 1889 | REC'D. [back]


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