Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 15 December [1885]

Date: December 15, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03919

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, Kyle Barton, and Ian Faith

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328 Mickle street Camden1
Dec: 15—Noon—

I got a letter from Herbert, this morning—death & burial of Mrs. G2—gloomy, gloomy news. —No doubt you will receive, or have rec'd, a letter from H. but I tho't I w'd write. I am ab't as usual—the rainy ride Sunday, has not done me any harm. —Harry was here with me yesterday. Looks & feels & is quite well—came up on a little business & went back to Marlton on the 5 o'clock train—Brigh[t] & sunny here after a long dark spell—hope George is better


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. This postal card is addressed: Mrs: Susan Stafford | Glendale | Ashland | New Jersey. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | DEC | 15 | 5 [illegible]M | 1885 | N.J. [back]

2. Anne Burrows Gilchrist (1828–1885) was the author of one of the first significant pieces of criticism on Leaves of Grass, titled "A Woman's Estimate of Walt Whitman (From Late Letters by an English Lady to W. M. Rossetti)," The Radical 7 (May 1870), 345–59. Gilchrist's long correspondence with Whitman indicates that she had fallen in love with the poet after reading his work; when the pair met in 1876 when she moved to Philadelphia, Whitman never fully returned her affection, although their friendship deepened after that meeting. For more information on their relationship, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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