Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James W. Wallace, 30 August 1890

Date: August 30, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07831

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, 1961–1977), 5:79. 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, Ryan Furlong, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden New Jersey US America
Aug: 30, '901

I sent you the little pocket-b'k-bound L of G.2 by mail some time since (in answer to your letter rec'd—money rec'd—thanks)3—Dr J[ohnston]'s4 letter5 rec'd. Nothing of any acc't in my condition or affairs—the grip has seized me ag'n—headache & sore throat—still I sit up, eat my meals & get out in wheel chair6—Look at the magazine Universal Review 15th Feb. 1890 (Sonnenschein & Co. London) for an article in French ab't L of G.7

Love to you & Dr J & all the friends—
Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
James William Wallace (1853–1926), of Bolton, England, was an architect and great admirer of Whitman. Along with John Johnston (d. 1918), a physician from Bolton, he founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. Johnston and Wallace corresponded with Whitman and with Horace Traubel and other members of the Whitman circle in the United States, and they separately visited the poet and published memoirs of their trips in John Johnston and James William Wallace, Visits to Walt Whitman in 1890–1891 by Two Lancashire Friends (London: Allen and Unwin, 1917). For more information on Wallace, see Larry D. Griffin, "Wallace, James William (1853–1926)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: J W Wallace | Anderton near Chorley | Lancashire | England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Aug 30 | 8 PM | 90. [back]

2. The poet had the special pocket-book edition printed in honor of his 70th birthday, May 31, 1889, through special arrangement with Frederick Oldach. Only 300 copies were printed, and Whitman signed the title page of each one. The volume also included the annex Sands at Seventy and his essay A Backward Glance O'er Traveled Roads. See Whitman's May 16, 1889, letter to Oldach. For more information on the book see Ed Folsom's Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary[back]

3. Wallace sent 22 shillings for the book on August 18–19, 1890. [back]

4. John Johnston (d. 1918) was a physician from Bolton, England, who, with James W. Wallace, founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. Johnston and Wallace corresponded with Whitman and with Horace Traubel and other members of the Whitman circle in the United States, and they separately visited the poet and published memoirs of their trips in John Johnston and James William Wallace, Visits to Walt Whitman in 1890–1891 by Two Lancashire Friends (London: Allen and Unwin, 1917). For more information on Johnston, see Larry D. Griffin, "Johnston, Dr. John (d.1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

5. Dr. John Johnston's most recent letter is dated August 27, 1890, which didn't arrive in Camden until September 6. The only extant letter from Johnston antedating the letter of August 27 is the letter that Johnston and Wallace wrote together on May 5. This suggests that the letter Whitman is referring to has not survived. [back]

6. Horace Traubel and Ed Wilkins, Whitman's nurse, went to Philadelphia to purchase a wheeled chair for the poet that would allow him to be "pull'd or push'd" outdoors. See Whitman's letter to William Sloane Kennedy of May 8, 1889[back]

7. Gabriel Sarrazin's "Poètes modernes de l'Amérique—Walt Whitman" appeared in La Nouvelle Revue 52 (May 1888): 164–184. The Universal Review reprinted Sarrazin's essay in French. See The Universal Review 6 (1890): 247–269. [back]


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