Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Harry Stafford to Walt Whitman, 6 August 1877

Date: August 6, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03980

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: Vince Moran, Eder Jaramillo, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

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Kirkwood N. Jersey,
Aug. 6th, 1877:

Dear friend;

as I sit here thinking of you and the plesant time we had Saturday I thought I would drop you a line and let you know I got home all safe yesterday morning,1 had a good lot of woork to do before I went home, waite for the fast line and reported it to Camden shut up the station and went home, got there bout 11 O'clock, had a cup of coffee and the went to bed and slep untill dinner time, got up and went to Sunday school came home got supper and went to the pond, I had a headache, did not sleep very well last night, but feel first-rait to day. Herbret cut me prety hard last night at the supper table, you must not let on if I tell you: he called me a "dam fool," I wasn't talking to him anyway! we was all talking of telegraphing, and father said he was reading of a man who was trying to [overdo?] it and I said that I did not think he could do it and the Herbret stuck in that, it did not fit very well, and if I had been near enough to smacked him in the [Jaws?] I would of doneit, you must not say anything about it to him or any one, he thinks he can do as he wants to with me but he will find out sometime hat he is fooling with the wrong one. I think that his oldest sister is splendid, but I don't like the other one so well. I will be up to see you on Thursday to stay all night with you, dont want to go any [wais?] then, want to stay in and talk with you, did not get time to say anything to you when I sawe you, did not have time to say scarcely anything.

The folkes are all well as usual, and things go on the same as wen you was here with us. I ballieve that I have toled you all of the news and I think I will stop. This is the 3rd letter I have written without an answer.

I Remain your true and loving friend.
Harry 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]


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