Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Dr. John Johnston, 17 February 1891

Date: February 17, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.08002

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), 5:166. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Cristin Noonan, Andrew David King, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden N J—U S America1
Feb: 17 noon '91

The item was right—Am in a bad way—"may blow over—may not"2 but it will be all right either way. Remembrance to you & J W W[allace]3 & all the friends—Am sitting here as usual—& have had a cup of coffee—God bless you & all—


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, N.J. | Feb 17 | 1 30 PM | 91; Philadelphia, Pa. | Feb 17 | 8 PM | Paid. [back]

2. For this quote, see Whitman's letter to the Editors of The Critic of January 16, 1891. In Johnston's letter to Whitman of February 6, 1891, he mentioned that these same words had been printed in London's Daily Graphic[back]

3. 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]


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