Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Swinton, 5 May [1876]

Date: May 5, 1876

Whitman Archive ID: med.00445

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), 3:45. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st
Camden N Jersey
May 5 p m 1

Dear friend,2

Nothing very notable to write about, but I thought I would send you a line—This is one of my comfortable days—good night's sleep last night—breakfast & dinner to-day with appetite—still get out a little most every day as formerly—my book business, & a little writing & reading give me three hours or so occupation (lazily) every day when I am not too ill—and then the baby, my brother's 6 mo's infant boy, very fine & bright (of course) is an unfailing delight & diversion to me—the young one knows me so well, & is never so happy as when I am tending him.

I adopted your suggestion of 3 or 4 weeks since—wrote with result as follows to

Wm Swinton—no answer
to E C Stedman, sent an order at once enc'g: $30
to J Q A Ward,3 kind answer, will order presently
to Dr Seeger, answer, order 1 set, & money enc.
to Joaquin Miller,4 ordered a set & sent the money.
to Mr. Jardine, answered a few days ago

I did not write either to G. A. Townsend,5 or to W C Church6 —have not sent the [incomplete]7


1. Edwin Haviland Miller's transcription was derived from G. M. Williamson, Catalogue of A Collection of Books, Letters and Manuscripts written by Walt Whitman (Jamaica, New York: The Marion Press, 1903), 28. [back]

2. Whitman's May 6, 1876 letter to John Swinton confirms that the recipient of this letter was John Swinton, who ordered books on April 24, 1876. [back]

3. For Ward, see Whitman's April 12, 1876 letter. [back]

4. Whitman also wrote about Miller's book order in his April 19, 1876 letter to John H. Johnston. [back]

5. George A. Townsend (1841–1914), a journalist who contributed to the New York Herald and to the Chicago Tribune. See also Whitman's May 12, 1867 letter to William D. O'Connor. Probably because of Townsend's affiliation, Whitman sent "Song of the Exposition" to the Chicago Tribune on this date (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). On May 10, 1876, the newspaper returned the manuscript because it arrived too late for publication. [back]

6. The editor of the Galaxy; see Whitman's August 7, 1867 letter to Church. [back]

7. Only the first page of the letter is reproduced by Williamson. Whitman, after noting receipt of $50 from Swinton for five sets of books on May 4, 1876, sent two additional volumes on May 6, 1876 (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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