Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Hannah Heyde, 17 August 1887

Date: August 17, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04764

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: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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Aug: 17 '87

Nothing particular to write ab't. Pleasant weather now for over a week. I am much as usual, but cannot move around at all—Keep good spirits however & am living comfortably enough—Of course lonesomeness & bodily disability are dreadful, but things might be so much worse—Many cases of extreme suffering, poverty, sickness, old age &c. around here lately—As I write I am sitting by the open window in the little front sitting room down stairs—Every thing is very quiet—the expressman is just taking over a big clay head to Phila: to be cast—modeled here by a sculptor2—Best love

Walt Whitman

Hannah Louisa (Whitman) Heyde (1823–1908), youngest sister of Walt Whitman, married Charles Louis Heyde (ca. 1820–1892), a Pennsylvania-born landscape painter. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. Hannah and Charles Heyde lived in Burlington, Vermont. For more, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Heyde), Hannah Louisa (d. 1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed: Mrs: H L Heyde | 21 Pearl Street | Burlington | Vermont. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Aug 17 | 6 PM | 87; Burlington, N.J. | Aug | 18 | 9 AM | 1887 | REC'D; BEVE [illegible] | AUG | [illegible]| [illegible]. This postal card was also marked as "Missent." [back]

2. Sidney H. Morse (1832–1903) was a self-taught sculptor as well as a Unitarian minister and, from 1866 to 1872, editor of The Radical. He visited Whitman in Camden many times and made various busts of him. Whitman had commented on an earlier bust by Morse that it was "wretchedly bad." For more on this, see Ruth L. Bohan, Looking into Walt Whitman: American Art, 1850–1920 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006), 105–109. [back]


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