Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Sophia Williams to Walt Whitman, 16 February 1888

Date: February 16, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04876

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: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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Ye Painte Shoppe,
1833 Spruce Street

My Dear Mr. Whitman,

My small colored boy is the bearer of a note to Mr. Rhys,1 asking him to dine with us at 6.15 this evening, going afterward with me to the Thomas Concert2 for which I have tickets.

If Mr. Rhys is not in when the boy reaches your house, will you kindly send me word by the boy, as to the probabilities of his being able to come, as you may perchance know his engagements. If he is at any place near, will you send the boy to him with his note please. I am sorry to trouble you, but shall be very greatly obliged.

I hope this cold weather is treating you more kindly than the last.

Very Cordially
Sophia Wells Royce Williams
February 16, 1888—

Sophia Wells Royce Williams (1850–1928) was a writer and frequent visitor (with her husband Talcott Williams) to Whitman's Camden, New Jersey, home.


1. Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. The Theodore Thomas Orchestra, a popular touring ensemble conducted by the renowned conductor Theodore Thomas (1835–1905), played a concert in Philadelphia on February 16, 1888, performing Anton Rubenstein's Second Cello Concerto and the Fourth Symphony of Brahms (see the Philadelphia Times [February 16, 1888], 2). [back]


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