Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 28 December 1890

Date: December 28, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.08086

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. . Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

noon Dec: 28 '91

Middling—no palpable belly ache or the small pain dots (spasms) I spoke of for four days now—appetite fair—bowel voidance this forenoon—

Sunny weather—sharp cold—hot cakes & tea for breakfast—sitting here as usual in 2d story room—quiet Sunday—have been lying down half dozing to while away the time —have to keep up good fire

Walt Whitman

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Dr Bucke | Asylum | London | Ontario Canada. It is postmarked: CAMDEN, N.J. | DEC 29 | 730 AM | 90; LONDON | PM | DE 30 | 90 | CANADA. [back]


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.