Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James Hunter, 22 June 1888

Date: June 22, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: med.00851

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Ted Genoways derives his transcripition from a transcription of the letter by Sarah Hunter Walker that was published in 1980: Leaves of Grass at 125: Eight essays, ed. William White (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1980), 73. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: Iowa City Press, 2004), 7:92. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock




328 Mickle Street, Camden, New Jersey
Friday Eve, June 22, '881

Dear friend; and all your folks, all the family2—I have been very ill for over a fortnight and still badly and weak yet—not yet quite definite—but the Doctor3 favors the probability. The heat is great—but in pulse and appetite things help me along; also in good spirits. Good remembrances and affection to you all.


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
James Hunter (1818–1894) was a Scottish immigrant to Virginia in the 1880s, where he farmed before moving to the Philadelphia area to work in publishing and edit a New Jersey weekly newspaper. He and his daughter Susan (1864–1933) visited the poet in Camden numerous times. See Susan Hunter Walker, "I Knew Walt Whitman," in William White, ed., 1980: Leaves of Grass at 125 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1980), 71–74.

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: James Hunter | Vienna | Virginia. [back]

2. In her article "I Knew Walt Whitman," James Hunter's daughter Sarah Hunter Walker (1864–1933) recorded her contacts with the poet after her arrival in the United States from Scotland. According to Walker, her father and Whitman discussed "questions of philosophy, religion, biology and the humanities" (See her essay in 1980: Leaves of Grass at 125: Eight essays, ed. William White [Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1980], 72). [back]

3. Whitman was being cared for by several doctors at this time. Canadian physician and psychiatrist Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) had visited Whitman earlier in June, and in 1885 he had introduced Whitman to Sir William Osler (1849–1919), another Canadian physician and one of the four founding staff members of Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as the first Chief of Medicine. Osler also visited Whitman in June. For more on these doctors, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998); and Philip W. Leon, "Osler, Dr. William (1849–1919)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.