Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 21 September [1886]

Date: September 21, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03887

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: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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Tuesday noon
September 21

I sent Harry the Doctor's address (131 South 15th street)1 last Sunday evn'g,—so he must have got it next day—We had a fine visit Sunday, & I enjoyed the drive very much—& you dont know how much good I have had out of that chicken—I have had three meals out of it—a bit broiled—& am to have the rest stewed for dinner to-day—it was sweet & tender—

I am ab't as usual—havn't been anywhere (though several invitations)—I keep good spirits, but grow clumsier & clumsier, & my sight is giving out—I enclose one of Herbert's last letters2—(I had written to him over a month ago, when you were not very well)—By it, he is not likely to come to America this fall—Cool & bright weather as I write—Love to you & George & Ed3

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. According to an entry in Whitman's Commonplace Book (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.), this was the address of Dr. William Osler, whom Whitman had consulted about his health in 1885 (see the letter from Whitman to Thomas Donaldson of November 9, 1885). [back]

2. Herbert H. Gilchrist, the artist son of Anne Gilchrist, wrote to Whitman on September 10[back]

3. George was Susan Stafford's husband; Ed was Edward Cattell, a hired hand at the Stafford farm who became close to Whitman. [back]


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