Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Edwin Stafford, 3 February 1882

Date: February 3, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03953

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: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Camden New Jersey
Feb: 3 '82

Dear Ed

Your good letter has just come & all seems to be in such good spirits with you, & every thing right so far—

—When I wrote to your folks a few days ago, (after I heard you had started out) I said I could not tell of course whether your enterprise would be a pecuniary success or not, but I was certain it would be in showing you a different world, and a deeper knowledge not only of general human nature but of yourself—(all of which the Scripture calls that wisdom which is more precious than worldly riches.) Every young man ought to explore something of the outside world,—especially of our American country & the west1

Nothing very new with me—I am well as usual for me—As I write I am up in my room Stevens Street—a pretty cold day, & moderate snow & ice on the ground, but sun shining bright—quite a good deal of sleighing—

—I am busy with my writing in moderation—write four or five hours every day—My new book is doing reasonably well (better than I expected) & promises to give me a small but steady income—

—I have not been down, but shall go before long, & then I will write to you again—

—I got a letter from Ruth four days ago, & saw Muller yesterday—all your folks were as usual—When I go down I shall make Van give me a good ride—I got a long letter from Herbert Gilchrist—he is well2—Carpenter ditto—Ed dear boy I won't give you any particular advice for I have an idea you know how to take care of yourself both morally & physically—& I hope you will prove it—

Walt Whitman


1. Whitman, as he noted, offered virtually the same advice about Edwin in a letter to Harry on January 31[back]

2. Herbert Gilchrist wrote to the poet on January 15. Whitman was in Glendale from February 16 to March 6, 1882 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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