Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 1 April 1890

Date: April 1, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03879

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: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ryan Furlong, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock



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Camden1
April 1 1890

Bright sunshiny day—feels Spring—but I am suffering from the grip—it has caught me at last—am sitting here alone in my den.—nothing very new or different to write about.—I wish you w'd carry or send over this note to Eva2—I often think of them all—I rec'd y'r good letter & thank'd you over & over for sending.—I keep at it yet (as I must while away the time some how—it is pretty heavy here crippled here this way, week after week)—write a little—expect to speak my "Death of Abraham Lincoln" piece3 in Phila: April 15 (if I am well enough)—

Best love to you & George4 & Ed5 & all—
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 letter is addressed: Mrs: Susan Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camde [illegible] | Apr 1 | 8PM | 90; [illegible] | Apr | 2 | 1890 | N.J. [back]

2. Eva Westcott Stafford (1856–1906) had married Susan's Stafford's son Harry in 1884; she was Susan's daughter-in-law. [back]

3. Whitman first delivered this lecture in New York in 1879 and would deliver it at least eight other times over the succeeding years, delivering it for the last time on April 15, 1890. He had published a version of the lecture as "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Specimen Days & Collect (1882–83). For more on the lecture, see Larry D. Griffin, "'Death of Abraham Lincoln,'" Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

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

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


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