Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Herbert H. Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 6 January 1887

Date: January 6, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03926

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, "ans'd," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Jan; 6th 1887.
12 Well Road
Hampstead London

My dear Walt:

I send you three pounds £3. [the?] sum being Miss R.E. Powell's1 (Piccard's Rough, St Catherine's Guildford) annual subscription to the Free-Will-offering—sent to Mr. Rossetti in form of a cheque, but he sent it on to me to post to you; I should be very glad to see these annual subscriptions increase.

I wonder who wrote the long articles about you in the Pall Mall Gazette?2 I have had a good amicable letter from Dr. Bucke3—what a thoroughly good-natured chap he is!

It is foggy with us; too foggy to paint! though I and Grace4 had a little skating on the 'Club Pond' this morning.

I am getting [ready?] my pictures (2) for the spring Exhibition.

My Book is getting [near?] though not quite through the press: In one of the last chapters, I added, at the last minute, &, to speak, some gossips or "cracks", as the Scotch say, this I exchanged with you down at the Creek under the Walnut tree: when you are writing again, tell me how Mrs. Stafford5 is will you Walt?

With best love to the dear old fellow, from
Herbert H. Gilchrist.

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).


1. Miss R. E. Powell of Guildford, England, was apparently a friend of the Gilchrists. [back]

2. He is probably referring to the opinion-piece that was published in the column "Occasional Notes" on December 16, 1886. [back]

3. 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]

4. Grace Gilchrist Frend (1859–1947) was one of Anne Gilchrist's four children and Herbert's sister. She became a contralto. She was the author of "Walt Whitman as I Remember Him" (Bookman 72 [July 1927], 203–205). [back]

5. 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). [back]


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