Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 8 December [1883?]

Date: December 8, [1883?]

Whitman Archive ID: med.00666

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Miller's partial transcription is derived from Sotheby & Company, May 13, 1935. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:357. 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, Eder Jaramillo, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

Saturday night, Dec. 8

. . . It is dark & foggy & miserable outside weather—but I have had a good supper & am sitting up here feeling jolly & thankful enough (yet a little lonesome)1 . . .


1. Since Whitman wrote several post cards to Harry after he went to Canada, probably the fragment reproduced here was sent at this time, since December 8 fell on Saturday in 1883. In a letter to Whitman from Canada on November 28, Harry complained of his work as "turnkey" in Bucke's asylum, asked for letters of recommendation, and concluded: "Your boy is away among strangers and a good long letter from his dear friend will do him good." On December 17 Harry asserted: "I am determined to make a hit somewhere and dont forget it. I havent had a blue spell yet and think I can get along without any . . . With lots of love and a good old time kiss I am ever your boy Harry." According to a letter to his father on January 12, 1884, Harry was reading Haeckel and Darwin, but was not satisfied with his position at the hospital: "The rules of the Asylum are absurdly strict and of a military form." [back]


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