Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: James W. Wallace and Dr. John Johnston to Walt Whitman, 27 December 1891

Date: December 27, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04830

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: Stephanie Blalock, Brandon James O'Neil, and Breanna Himschoot



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Form No. 1
THE WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY.
This Company TRANSMITS and DELIVERS messages only on conditions limiting its liability, which have been assented to by the sender of the following message. Errors can be guarded against only be repating a message back to the sending station, for comparison, and the company will not hold itself liable for errors or delays in the transmission or delivery of Unrepeated Messages, beyond the amount of tolls paid thereon, nor in any case where the claim is not presented in writing within 60 days after sending the message.
This is an UNREPEATED MESSAGE, and is delivered by the request of the sender, under the conditions named above.
THOS. T. ECKERT, General Manager. NORVIN GREEN, President.
5 Cable 5.14 Pd1
NUMBER 9P
SENT BY JW
REC'D By Gs
CHECK 6
Received at
12/27 1891
Dated Bolton

To Whitman
Camden NJ

Love2


Wallace
Johnston


Correspondent:
James William Wallace (1853–1926), of Bolton, England, was an architect and great admirer of Whitman. Along with John Johnston (1852–1927), a physician from Bolton, he founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. For more information on Wallace, see Larry D. Griffin, "Wallace, James William (1853–1926)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). Dr. John Johnston (1852–1927) of Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, was a physician, photographer, and avid cyclist. Johnston worked as a general practitioner in Bolton and as an instructor of ambulance classes for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways (John Anson, "Bolton's Illustrious Doctor Johnston—a man of many talents," Bolton News [March 28, 2021]; Paul Salveson, Moorlands, Memories, and reflections: A Centenary Celebration of Allen Clarke's Moorlands and Memories [Lancashire Loominary, 2020]). For more information on Johnston, see Larry D. Griffin, "Johnston, Dr. John (1852–1927)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). Johnston and Wallace corresponded with Whitman and with Horace Traubel and other members of the Whitman circle in the United States, and they separately visited the poet and published memoirs of their trips in John Johnston and James William Wallace, Visits to Walt Whitman in 1890–1891 by Two Lancashire Friends (London: Allen and Unwin, 1917).

Notes:

1. The number "5" and the word "Cable" are written over the printed Western Union heading on the telegram, along with "5.14 p" above the printed "NORVIN GREEN, President." [back]

2. On December 17, Whitman had come down with a chill and was suffering from congestion in his right lung. Although the poet's condition did improve in January, he would never recover. He was confined to his bed, and his physicians, Dr. Daniel Longaker of Philadelphia and Dr. Alexander McAlister of Camden, provided care during his final illness. Whitman died on March 26, 1892. [back]


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