Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Anson Ryder, Jr., [1868?]

Date: 1868

Whitman Archive ID: med.00404

Source: The location of the original manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:76. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Kenneth M. Price, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

I am leading a quiet, monotonous life, working a few hours every day very moderately. Have plenty of books to read but few acquaintances. I spend my evenings mostly in the office.1

Anson Ryder, Jr., a soldier, had apparently left Armory Square Hospital in 1865 and returned to his family at Cedar Lake, New York, accompanied by another injured soldier named Wood (probably Calvin B. Wood; see Notes and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, ed. Edward F. Grier [New York: New York University Press, 1961–1984], 6:673). For other correspondence between Ryder and Walt Whitman, see Ryder's August 9, 1865, letter to Whitman. Excerpts from five of Whitman's letters to an unidentified ex-soldier (later identified as Anson Ryder, Jr.) were printed by Florence Hardiman Miller in the Overland Monthly under the title "Some Unpublished Letters of Walt Whitman's. Written to a Soldier Boy" in 1904. She was not able to date most of the letters or to offer any initial conjectures about the identity of the recipient. However, Edwin Haviland Miller later identified the soldier as Ryder. Florence Miller seems to imply that the correspondence continued into the early 1870s.


1. When this letter first appeared in The Correspondence, the recipient was unknown (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed. [New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977], 2:76). Miller subsequently identified the recipient as Anson Ryder (6:74). [back]


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