Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Dr. John Johnston, 19 March 1891

Date: March 19, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07898

Source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 5:178. 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, Ian Faith, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden N J—U S America1
March 19 Evn'g '91

Nothing worse at any rate—the Dr.2 has just been here & his talk & atmosphere are cheering. The book "Holland" rec'd3—thanks—have just had my supper, some stew'd mutton & rice—It is 6 but quite light yet—Loving remembrances to J W W[allace]4


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Dr. 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).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Dr Johnston | 54 Manchester Road | Bolton | Lancashire England. It is postmarked: Camden, (?) | Mar 19 | 8 PM | 91. [back]

2. Whitman does not refer to the doctor by name in his postal card to Johnston, but, in his March 19 letter to Richard Maurice Bucke, Whitman mentions that Dr. Daniel Longaker (1858–1949), who attended to Whitman with Dr. Alexander McAlister through his final illnesses, had been to see him on that day. Longaker was a Philadelphia physician who specialized in obstetrics. Carol J. Singley reports that "Longaker enjoyed talking with Whitman about human nature and reflects that Whitman responded as well to their conversations as he did to medical remedies," in "Longaker, Dr. Daniel (1858–1949)," in Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R.LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Whitman is referring to Edmondo de Amicis, Holland and Its People, translated by C. Tilton. The book was published in several editions. Whitman mentions the book in his March 19, 1891, letter to the Canadian physician Richard Maurice Bucke. [back]

4. 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). [back]


Comments?

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.