Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: [Child of John H. Johnston] to Walt Whitman, [9] August 1884

Date: August [9], 1884

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07450

Source: The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842–1937, 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: Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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150 BOWERY, [illegible]
New York,
Aug [9?] 1884

Dear Uncle Walt1

Inclosed please find chk for $25. that Father2 told me to send to [illegible]

John H. Johnston was a New York jeweler who befriended Whitman and housed him for long stays in New York during the late 1870s. His children, Harry, Albert, and Bertha, called Whitman "Uncle Walt." It is unclear which of the Johnston children wrote this letter fragment.


1. This partial letter has a line drawn through it in blue crayon. [back]

2. John H. Johnston (1837–1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Whitman. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, August 14, 1888). Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: "I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, October 3, 1888). See also Johnston's letter about Whitman, printed in Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 149–174. For more on Johnston, see Susan L. Roberson, "Johnston, John H. (1837–1919) and Alma Calder," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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