Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 17 September [1875]

Date: September 17, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: med.00700

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Genoways's transcription is derived from a facsimile image posted on an eBay auction website. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004), 7:43. 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, Jonathan Y. Cheng, Elizabeth Lorang, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

431 Stevens St.
cr West Camden, N. Jersey
Sept. 17. 4 p. m.1

All going on pretty much as usual with me.—yours of last Sunday rec'd.


Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle was a conductor in the horsecar where the forty-five-year-old Whitman was a passenger. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This post card to Peter Doyle was probably written in 1874 or 1875. It is addressed: Pete Doyle | M st. South—Bet 4 1 | 2 & 6th | Washington, D. C. It is postmarked: Camden | Sep 17 | N. J. [back]


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