Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walter B. Whitman to Walt Whitman, 3 August 1889

Date: August 3, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04633

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: Kirby Little, Breanna Himschoot, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

page image
image 1
page image
image 2
page image
image 3

U. S. S. Santee,
Annapolis, Md.
Aug. 3d 1889.
Mr. Walt Whitman,
Camden, N. J.


Though I can claim no relationship, owing to the similarity of our names, I write to you hoping to gain a few lines from you in reply. I am a native Texan, but my father belonged to the Georgia branch of the Whitman family. His name is Mertice J. Whitman1 and for several years he has been practicing law at Rusk, Texas.

Last May, I was appointed a Naval Cadet and since that time I have been in the U. S. Naval Academy.

Hoping you will not think me too presumptuous in daring to write to you.

I am,
Yours respectfully,
Walter B. Whitman

Walter B. Whitman (1872–1953) entered the United States Naval Academy as a cadet in 1889. His work in newspapers picked up in 1894 when he became editor and part owner of Rusk's Cherokee Blade, and he spent the rest of his life moving around Texas, and eventually New York, editing and publishing for several newspapers ("1915–16 Walter B. Whitman Holland's Magazine," Past Presidents of the Texas Press Association, Online publication of the Texas Press Association).


1. Mertice J. Whitman (1845–after 1890) was born in Georgia, but later moved to Texas, where he volunteered for Confederate Service during the Civil War. Later he practiced law in Rusk, Texas, serving as county attorney and, later, as a judge. He and his first wife, Janie Bloomfield Whitman, had one son, Walter B. Whitman; he and his second wife, Judith Bloomfield Whitman, also had one son, Lee Whitman (Sid S. Johnson, "M. J. Whitman," Texans Who Wore The Gray [Texas, 1907], 195–197). [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.