Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James W. Wallace, 22 September 1890

Date: September 22, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07947

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), 5:90–91. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ian Faith, Ryan Furlong, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden New Jersey U S America1
Sept: 22 '90

Y'rs of 11th rec'd2—p o order rec'd3 & thank you—Sent the little L of G (pocket b'k ed'n)4 three or four days since—possibly I may have made the mistake of directing it to Dr J[ohnston]5—(hope I have not also made the mistake of writing y'r or his name in it—cannot now remember distinctly)—but at any rate you must have rec'd it by this time—

The little "new volume" to be put out by me will be only a further annex (the 2d one) to L of G.6—fixing the bits of the last year and a half in book shape—will send you word of it & probably the sheets themselves—tell Dr J. the photos (of myself & Frank Warren Fritzinger,7 my friend & gillie) are rec'd8 & valued both by me & Warry. Cooler weather here, but I get out in wheel chair9 a little—Keep as well as usual—enclose a printed slip (a 2d one, give to Dr J)—Respects to F R C Hutton10 & 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. | Sep 22 | 8 PM | 90. [back]

2. See Wallace's letter to Whitman of September 11, 1890[back]

3. Wallace enclosed a money order for 22 shillings. [back]

4. 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, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary[back]

5. 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). [back]

6. Whitman's book Good-Bye My Fancy (1891) was his last miscellany, and it included both poetry and short prose works commenting on poetry, aging, and death, among other topics. Thirty-one poems from the book were later printed as "Good-Bye my Fancy 2d Annex" to Leaves of Grass (1891–1892), the last edition of Leaves of Grass published before Whitman's death in March 1892. For more information see, Donald Barlow Stauffer, "'Good-Bye my Fancy' (Second Annex) (1891)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

7. Frank Warren Fritzinger (1867–1899), known as "Warry," took Edward Wilkins's place as Whitman's nurse, beginning in October 1889. Fritzinger and his brother Harry were the sons of Henry Whireman Fritzinger (about 1828–1881), a former sea captain who went blind, and Almira E. Fritzinger. Following Henry Sr.'s death, Warren and his brother—having lost both parents—became wards of Mary O. Davis, Whitman's housekeeper, who had also taken care of the sea captain and who inherited part of his estate. [back]

8. Whitman is likely referring to the photographs taken in Camden by Dr. John Johnston of Bolton, England, in July 1890. See The Walt Whitman Archive's Image Gallery, which includes three photographs of Walt Whitman and his nurse Warren Fritzinger (Image 117, Image 118, Image 119). [back]

9. 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]

10. Reverend Frederick Robert Chapman Hutton (1856–1926) was the Vicar of St. George's Church, Bolton, and St. Paul's, Astley Bridge. [back]


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