Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Talcott Williams, 31 January 1887

Date: January 31, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: med.00751

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Miller's transcription is derived from The Month at Goodspeed's, 8 (September 1937), 7. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:66. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock

328 Mickle Street
Jan. 31 '87—P.M.

Dear friend

I have been somewhat down for days, even weeks past, but am better now—have been out a little to-day, driven in the phaeton. Come over very soon & see me. Nothing particular, but it will cheer me up. Bring anybody you like with you.

Walt Whitman

Put this in the "Personal" col. Feb. 1.1

Talcott Williams (1849–1928) was associated with the New York Sun and World as well as the Springfield Republican before he became the editor of the Philadelphia Press in 1879. His newspaper vigorously defended Whitman in news articles and editorials after the Boston censorship of 1882. For more information about Williams, see Philip W. Leon, "Williams, Talcott (1849–1928)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. The Philadelphia Press dutifully printed the following on February 1: "Yesterday was Walt Whitman's best day for a long time. He went out phæton-riding in the mid-day sun and enjoyed it. Yesterday, too, he received a warm letter from Alfred Tennyson commencing 'Dear Old Man.' Life continues tenacious and cheery with Whitman, but he is very feeble." The Press is referring to the letter from Tennyson to Whitman of January 15, 1887[back]


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