Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: James W. Wallace to Walt Whitman, 12 March 1892

Date: March 12, 1892

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04842

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: Cristin Noonan, Amanda J. Axley, Erel Michaelis, and Stephanie Blalock

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Anderton, near Chorley
Lancashire, England1
12. March 1892

Dear Walt,

I wish this letter to convey some aroma of our sweet English air today—fresh & life giving—& the cheer of our English sky perfectly pellucid & clear after the storms, & bright with sunshine.

From my window (4 pm.) I look out to the hill—Rivington Pike—standing while (dark here & there with trees) against the sky.—The whole scene wintery—but exquisitely beautiful & cheering.

And as I sit here to write, & think of the winter of your fate, I am cheered & strengthened. The same spirit of beauty is revealed in winter as in summer, & love whispers immortal hopes.

Love to you, dear Walt, tenderer than of old, & everlasting. Love's kiss & prayerful blessing to you2


James William Wallace (1853–1926), of Bolton, England, was an architect and great admirer of Whitman. Wallace, along with Dr. John Johnston (1852–1927), a physician in Bolton, founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. 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). 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).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, | 328 Mickle St | Camden | New Jersey. | U.S. America. It is postmarked: Chorley | [illegible] | March 12 | 92; | Chorley | MAR 12 | 92; Bolton | [illegible] | MR12 | 92 | Lanc.; New York | MAR | 20; 92; Paid | H | All; Camden | MAR 21 | 92. [back]

2. On December 17, 1891, 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 1892, 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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