Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 2 June [1881]

Date: June 2, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05139

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1969), 5:313–314. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

Thursday Evening June 21

My dear friend

I suppose it must look fine down there after the heavy rain last night—we had it here nearly all night, pouring & thundering—along the Hudson in New York it was a furious hailstorm, destroyed all the growing fruit & grain—

Nothing very new with me—the big Boston house has sent me word that they will publish my book for me—& I have sent them back word that I must have a bigger percentage than they offer—So that's the way it stands now—I find I can have them publish it, if I choose, but I suppose I am getting pretty lofty in my old days & must have my own terms, & pretty good ones too—

I am feeling pretty well—I think my last visit down there did me good, real good after all—it has been very hot & unpleasant ever since I came up, till last night, but is now very nice, & a prospect of some pleasant days, sufficiently cool—

I am alone in the house, have been all day—My sister went out with a number of lady friends to spend the day in Fairmount Park, & have dinner there, & a sort of woman spree among themselves—I got my dinner myself—cooked it by the gas stove, & eat it in delightful company, viz: myself!

I have got a long letter from Edward Carpenter, he has quite a good deal to say of the death of his mother—she was quite worn out, died three or four months ago—he is living with a friend, a farmer & his wife—his address is Bradway, near Sheffield, England

There has been the most terrible accident up at Dr Bucke's town in Canada, a crowded steamboat capsized & over 200 drowned—I knew several—none of Dr B's folks however—Well I suppose you are in the agonies of the church festival—how did Wm Heiniken's affair turn out?—I hope Theodore is most well by this time—I may go on to New York for a short visit—if not I shall come down soon, for two or three days—will send you word—

Walt Whitman


1. This letter is cited in Whitman's Commonplace Book (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Whitman was with the Staffords from May 13 to 26, 1881; on May 8 he began negotiations with Osgood & Company concerning publication of the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass (see the letter from Whitman to James R. Osgood of May 8, 1881). Edward Carpenter wrote on May 14 (lost); see the letter from Whitman to Carpenter of May 30, 1881. Theodore and William Heiniken (or Hieniken) were apparently brothers or perhaps son and father; see the letter from Whitman to Harry Stafford of November 12, 1880[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.