Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Boyle O'Reilly to Walt Whitman, 21 September [1881]

Date: September 21, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: med.00659

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: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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The Pilot Editorial Roo[ms,]1
Se[pt.] 21

Dear Mr. Whitma[n:]

Can [you] come, with Bartlett, Kate, and [a c]harming lady and myself, [to see] Mr. Quincy Shaw's pic[tures], on Friday at 2 p.m.[?] I shall call for you [wi]th carriage. [Don't] say no: you'll [enjoy] it. If you don't answer, I [shall] take it for "yes."

Boyle [O'Reil]ly.

Shall see you at Bartletts Thursday evening.


1. This letter has been cut up and reassembled. On the back of it Whitman drafted "The Sobbing of the Bells." The words in brackets have been supplied from a transcription in Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1915), 2:136. Traubel wrote of the transcription: "W. gave me a bit of his writing which proved to be a draft of his Garfield poem, The Sobbing of the Bells. I found it was written on the reverse of a letter written to W. by Boyle O'Reilly. Spoke of it to W. 'Yes, so I see. That must have been in the eighties, while I was in Boston. Yes, we want art: I saw the Millet pictures at Shaw's: it was a great day.' As W. had cut the Boyle letter and pieced it together again irregularly it is now difficult to make out. Up in the corner of the letter O'R. wrote: 'Shall see you at Bartlett's Thursday.' This is the letter as I have got it together with perhaps a word or two not literally in place." [back]


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