Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 12 November 1890

Date: November 12, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03881

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, "Glendale Camden Co NJ," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, Marie Ernster, Stephanie Blalock, and Amanda J. Axley

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Nov: 12 1890

Dear friends all

I saw Ed1 in the street yesterday & he told me ab't George's2 bad sickness & serious time—Bad enough I have felt ab't it & last evn'g—but I understand he is over it & getting all right—

Ed looks well—If I was well enough I w'd come down & give you all a call, but I seem to be helpless with the grip & bladder trouble Keep up tho—& [get?] out in wheel chair3 when weather fair [—?]cloudy & wet here to-day—warmish—I hear second hand f'm Herbert4 there down Long Island—he is well & [I hear?] thinks of [buying?] the [place?] there.5 All [goes?] much the same in my affairs—Write [me soon?] & tell me how George gets along—Love to you all God bless you—

Walt Whitman

Susan M. Lamb Stafford (1833–1910) was the mother of Harry Stafford (1858–1918), 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).


1. Edwin Stafford (1856–1906) was one of George and Susan Stafford's sons. He was the brother of Harry Stafford, a close acquaintance of Whitman. [back]

2. George Stafford (1827–1892) was the father of Harry Stafford, a young man whom Whitman befriended in 1876 in Camden. Harry's parents, George and Susan Stafford, were tenant farmers at White Horse Farm near Kirkwood, New Jersey, where Whitman visited them on several occasions. For more on Whitman and the Staffords, see David G. Miller, "Stafford, George and Susan M." Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), 685. [back]

3. Horace Traubel and Ed Wilkins, Whitman's nurse, went to Philadelphia to purchase a wheeled chair for the poet that would allow him to be "pull'd or push'd" outdoors. See Whitman's letter to William Sloane Kennedy of May 8, 1889[back]

4. 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]

5. Herbert Gilchrist, after living for years in Philadelphia and often accompanying Whitman to the Staffords' farm, would relocate and settle along the shore of Centrepoint Cove on Long Island. [back]


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