Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James W. Wallace, 15 July 1890

Date: July 15, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07948

Source: 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), 5:62–63. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ashlyn Stewart, Ian Faith, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, and Stephanie Blalock




July 15 '901

Am as well as c'd be expected, & still hold the fort (sort o') as we say. Dr Johnston2 has arrived & has been with me the last hour, & is well, & is to come to-morrow—Dear friend, y'r appreciation & kindness & messages are indeed accepted & absorbed fully by me. I am getting along better than you fancy, tho old & completely physically disabled & paralyzed—hot weather (extra) here—Love to you & the friends—


Walt Whitman

(thanks for the Dante3 books)4


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: Philadelphia, Pa. | Jul 16 | 8 AM | Paid. [back]

2. 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]

3. Dante Alighieri (1265?–1321) was an Italian poet best known for his Divine Comedy, a cosmology of the afterlife in three parts—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso[back]

4. According to a typescript held by the County Bourough of Bolton England and Whitman's Commonplace Book, on May 10 Johnston and Wallace sent birthday greetings and a gift of £10 (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; typescript: County Borough of Bolton (England) Public Libraries). Wallace wrote on June 27, 1890 to inform Walt Whitman that Johnston, who was not well, was coming to America to see the poet and to visit places on Long Island and in New York mentioned in Specimen Days. Wallace replied to Walt Whitman's card on August 1: "I have considered it one of the main privileges of my life (since my mother's death the main privilege of my life) to be able to communicate with you personally and to tender you my deep reverence and love" (typescript: County Borough of Bolton (England) Public Libraries). [back]


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