Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Margaretta L. Avery to Walt Whitman, 25 February 1889

Date: February 25, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05422

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.

Editorial notes: The annotations, "Cousin Margaret L. Avery," and "25 Feb 1889," are in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Andrea Bastien, Breanna Himschoot, Ashlyn Stewart, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock

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185 Sterling Place Brooklyn
Feb 25/89

Dear Cousin Walter

I have not herd from you, onely through the papers in regard to your Health. hope you will have your wish gratifyed & make that visit to California. William is Sick most of the time. we have had the fashionable Complaint. the Gripp. the Boarder in the House [illegible] not [none?] escaped. I should like to see you Jennets1 daughter Clara2 Boards in the same house with us. John3 has a Grand Son living with him. he is well as can be expected. did you get to Handkerchiefs I sent you Christmas. the reson I ask I sent a Fan to Miss Lida Wha [illegible]4 she did not get it. a Miss Waters5 from St Louis called up on us with her Sister. she said was acquainted with your brothers family. her Sister lived in my house at one time, nice family William & I often talk of you and your Dear mother so kind & good all ways. we feel so sorry that Chicago will have the Fair.6 many persons will have to pass through New York it will do us som good. I got your Picture on Broadway near 28 st for my Friend Mrs Edward Smith7 the head of the [C?]lothing Firm of Smith Gray8 her Sons cary on the business. she writes som potry for her friends I have two Books. I must close to go to lunch.

wishing you much love from your Cousin
Margaretta L. Avery

Margaretta Avery was a cousin of Whitman's mother Louisa Van Velsor Whitman; she and her husband William lived in Brooklyn and visited Whitman when he was in Camden, at which time Whitman sold Margaretta a copy of Two Rivulets and gave her a copy of Memoranda During the War (See Walt Whitman: Daybooks and Notebooks, ed. William White [New York: New York University Press, 1978], 1:44n115).


1. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

2. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

3. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

4. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

5. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

6. There was a great deal of competition among major U.S. cities, especially Chicago and New York, for a world's fair to be held in celebration of 400 years since Columbus's "discovery" of the New World. The U.S. Congress was tasked with making the decision and chose Chicago, where the World's Columbian Exposition finally opened a year late, in 1893. [back]

7. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

8. Smith, Gray & Company of Williamsburg and Brooklyn was founded by Edward Smith, a tailor, in 1833, who partnered with his brother-in-law, Allen Gray, a patternmaker. They formed a company to make clothing for boys and children and opened a store together in Williamsburg in 1864. The company quickly grew and by late in the century was one of the largest manufacturers of boys' and men's clother in New York. [back]


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