Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 25 April 1889

Date: April 25, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03872

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:326. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock



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328 Mickle St: Camden
April 25 '891

—The spirit seems to move me to write you a line even if no account—Here I am yet the same cribb'd up in chair & room, & little or no prospect—yet sort o' cheery hearted & comfortable (it might be worse you know)—How are you all & getting along—George2 & Ed3 & Harry4 & Van5 & Deb6?—Mont7 was here Sunday & very welcome—I hear often from Dr B[ucke].8 Herbert9 is all right—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Susan M. Stafford was the mother of Harry Stafford, who, in 1876, became a close friend of Whitman while working at the printing office of the Camden New Republic. Whitman regularly visited the Staffords at their family farm near Kirkwood, New Jersey. Whitman enjoyed the atmosphere and tranquility that the farm provided and would often stay for weeks at a time (see David G. Miller, "Stafford, George and Susan M.," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings [New York: Garland Publishing, 1998], 685).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Mrs: Susan Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camden (?) | Ap(?) | 8 PM | 89. [back]

2. George Stafford was Susan's husband. [back]

3. Edwin Stafford (1856–1906) was one of Susan Stafford's sons. [back]

4. Harry Stafford (1858–?) was Susan's son and a close friend of Whitman's. [back]

5. Van Doran Stafford (1864–1914) was one of Susan Stafford's sons. [back]

6. Deborah Stafford Browning was Susan's Stafford's daughter. [back]

7. Mont is Montgomery Stafford (1862–1926?), one of Harry's brothers. [back]

8. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

9. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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