Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 14 July 1889

Date: July 14, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07311

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, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Superintendent's Office.
for the Insane
London, Ont.,
14 July 18891

If you could only be here, dear Walt, and enjoy this beautiful weather! Today it is simply perfect—the temperature just right—the sky shaded by a thin veil of cloud, a fresh breeze blowing, one cannot but think that the trees, flowers and grass must enjoy it all. The old place is lovely—I wish you could see it!

All goes quietly and well with us all here and if I could only feel that you were having a good time (I am afraid you are not) I should be perfectly happy

Love to you dear Walt
R M Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," 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 Street | Camden | New Jersey U.S.A. It is postmarked: London | [illegible] | JY 15 | 89 | Canada; Cam [illegible] | [illegible] | 16 | 3 PM | 1889 | Rec'd; NY | 7-16 89 | 8 AM | [illegible]. [back]


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