Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Harry Stafford to Walt Whitman, 7 November 1877

Date: November 7, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03972

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.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Eder Jaramillo, Vince Moran, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

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Thanks for the dollar

Blank No. 1. THE WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY. The rules of this Company require that all messages received for transmission, shall be written on the message blanks of the Company, under and subject to the conditions printed thereon, which conditions have been agreed to by the sender of the following message. O. H. PALMER, Sec'y. J. H. WADE, Pres't.
November 7 1877
Received at Kirkwood N.J.

To Dear Friend Walt:

I received your letter yesterday [P.M.?] was glad to hear from you.1 H.G.2 was down to see us last Sunday, he walked down and stade all night and came over with me to the depot and the went on the cars from here to Phila, he wants me to come up Saturday and stay all night with him, but I will not do it, we can go over for a little while and then come back to your house and stay all night. I will have to go over for a few hours any way for if I don't Mother will get on her ear she was very much put out because I did not go and see him the last time I was up in your house. I am feeling well, now but have not for some time untill today, sick about half of the time, but I guess I will be all right now. I have an invitation to a party to night but I think that I will have to stay home and tend [store?] for Ed,3 he wishes to go [over?] that will [be an excuse?] for me H.G. tells me that you are well and doing fine sais that you come over to see them every evening. You must enjoy it or you would not do it, I think it will be good for you to keep it up for going out will give you strength and exercise both, I would lik to be down with you. I suppose that you go to [Woolstons?] once in a while, how does Elmer4 like the folkes there? I think that I would like to come up and board there gaain if I ever come to Camden again to work I want to board withe them. Hope you are still well, father has been quite sick but is better at present, he will not live long I am afraid he is sick more this fall than he has been for a long time, Mont5 & [illegible] still at shucking the have got some one to help them now I balive. Well I have filled up the paper with [nothing?] and I will have to stop, good by write soon.

True [and?] loving friend
H Stafford


1. Walt Whitman met the 18-year-old Harry Lamb Stafford (1858–1918) in 1876, beginning a relationship which was almost entirely overlooked by early Whitman scholarship, in part because Stafford's name appears nowhere in the first six volumes of Horace Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden—though it does appear frequently in the last three volumes, which were published only in the 1990s. Whitman occasionally referred to Stafford as "My (adopted) son" (as in a December 13, 1876, letter to John H. Johnston), but the relationship between the two also had a romantic, erotic charge to it. In 1883, Harry married Eva Westcott. For further discussion of Stafford, see Arnie Kantrowitz, "Stafford, Harry L. (b.1858)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. 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]

3. Edwin Stafford (1856–1906) was Harry Stafford's brother. [back]

4. Elmer E. Stafford (1861–1957) was Harry Stafford's cousin (see Daybooks and Notebooks, ed. William White [New York: New York University Press, 1978], 1:76 n232). [back]

5. Montgomery Stafford (1862–1925) was one of Harry Stafford's brothers. [back]


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