Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Ruth Stafford, 11 December 1881

Date: December 11, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04021

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 Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kirsten Clawson, and Nicole Gray

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Dec: 11 '811

Dear Ruthey

Yours rec'd—It seems a friend of mine who is in the Ledger office Philadelphia,2 tho't I was down at Kirkwood—he was very anxious I should know of the bad illness of a particular friend of mine, & so wrote to Kirkwood—My friend died Friday morning—I go to the funeral to-morrow3

—I get a little news from you all, once in a while—(by a visit from Ed some time ago—& early last week by a visit from Harry.)

Thank you for the honey—it was very acceptable—we ate every drop of it, & enjoyed it—it was like the singed cat—a great deal better than it look'd—

—I am well as usual—have a little work to do, but not much—Want to come down & see you all before long—will write a day or two before4

Walt Whitman


1. This letter bears the address: Miss Ruth Anna Stafford | Kirkwood | Glendale | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camden | Dec | 11 | (?) M | N.J. [back]

2. Probably Richard E. Labar (1864–1885), a native of Pennsylvania. Labar began working in the offices of the Philadelphia Ledger at the age of twelve. He later moved to Colorado and then spent the 1884–1885 academic year at the University of Michigan studying literature and law. He began to sell books to fund additional study at Union High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1887, he founded the Waukesha World newspaper and worked in real estate.. [back]

3. Colonel John W. Forney was buried on December 12 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

4. Whitman was at Glendale from December 29 to January 9 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]


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