Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Alys Smith, 22 April 1889

Date: April 22, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03814

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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Breanna Himschoot, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

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Camden NJ US America
April 22 '891

Y'r welcome letter has come & Mary's2 word—my best love to all, not forgetting the dear little ones—

—Nothing very new with me—am still a prisoner here in Mickle Street 2d story, sitting at this moment in the big ratan chair—are you (father, mother,3 &c) domiciled still at 44?—yesterday here almost hot—

Walt Whitman

Alys Smith (1867–1951) was a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith and the sister of Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe. She eventually married the philosopher Bertrand Russell.


1. This postal card is addressed: Miss Alys Smith | 40 Grosvenor Road | the Embankment | London England | SW. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Apr 22 | 8 PM | 89. [back]

2. Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." For more information about Costelloe, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Whitman is referring here to the family of Alys Smith (1867–1951). Smith was the daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith (1827–1898) and his wife, Hannah Whitall Smith (1831–1911). Robert, Hannah, and their children were all friends and supporters of Whitman. For more about the Smith family, see Christina Davey, "Smith, Robert Pearsall (1827–1898)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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